Cookies are little bits of information placed on a user’s browser that can not only make browsing more efficient for the user but can also give the marketer and brand access to very important non-identifiable data. As enhanced digital privacy becomes more and more important, it’s possible that cookie-driven marketing data could no longer be the best way to gather data.
Consumers have mixed opinions on the limitations being placed on cookies. Roughly 39% of consumers agree that they don’t want to share their data with every site they visit, but these same consumers say that they appreciate having access to interactions that are of interest to them – something only cookies can provide. Another 36% of consumers claim that when they see personalized advertisements, they take it as a sign that the brands actually care about them. This means that it is up to the individual brands to find a way to balance privacy with meaningful interactions.
Publishers themselves tend to have close relationships with their audiences. This means that their audiences trust them to collect data about them, and they also can gain those consumers’ consent to use data in various ways. Thus, if the publishers can gain consumers’ permission to utilize and collect data for ad delivery, this could override the need for cookies entirely. Some advertisers have already taken this step by getting their hands on publisher data. In some cases, marketers must develop partnerships with the vendors that have access to this data, but it nevertheless helps them continue their marketing campaigns in lieu of cookies.
The standard practice associated with contextual targeting changed over the years as data sharing and better tracking took over. However, because personal data use and large-scale profiling are now frowned upon in many cases, it’s making a tremendous comeback. Today, it can be used to deliver ads in very effective ways thanks to content-centric insights that use a wide variety of smart tools to match ad content to whatever happens to be on the viewer’s screen at the time. What’s more, because the ads fit the environment better, they aren’t as obtrusive – and the odds are good that they’ll be effective, too.
Of course, there are other ways brands and marketers can do their part to ensure that they are building good relationships with their audiences and the people they are trying to reach. This might include things like reducing dependence on cookies altogether in favor of using better data sources, and it may even require marketers to go above and beyond any legal requirements in place to be completely transparent with consumers about how and why they collect data.
Though cookie-based marketing may be drawing to a close, it isn’t the end of the world. In fact, it could be the beginning of a brand-new era and even better relationships between marketers and consumers – especially marketers that go above and beyond in the beginning with transparency statements. Marketing and advertising are always evolving, and this is just another rung in that ladder.