Preparing for the Deprecation of Third-Party Cookies
The pace at which your organisation will fully transition to a cookieless marketing model will vary according to the markets you operate, the velocity of technological advancements, and your own data maturity.
However, there are four steps that we believe are essential for every organisation for a successful transition.
Invest in first-party data
While the contours of the cookieless future are still undefined, we believe first-party data will be an important part of it.
Therefore, we recommend brands reinforce their efforts in that field. It encompasses compliance considerations to ensure data is collected and processed according to legal requirements. It involves reassessing the value consumers truly get when sharing data with you. It also requires revising or updating the technology infrastructure in place to manage this data. Finally, it calls for building an internal culture where media and customer experience departments work together to nurture this first-party data.
Review your dependence to third-party cookies
We recommend brands monitor current practices and document each place third-party cookies are used across their advertising initiatives.
We also recommend brands review all partners and note which use third-party data, which exclusively use first-party data, and which use a mix of data sources.
In addition, brands should interrogate every component of the brand’s current analytics stack—not just the tools and platforms,[i] but also the individual reports used by the marketing teams—to understand which are dependent on third-party cookie data. Remember to examine the brand’s owned properties as well, such as personalisation tools used to customise content on-site or in emails.
Ensure all teams across brand, agency, analytics, and all other stakeholders clearly understand which components of current practices and solutions are reliant on third-party data, in whole or in part.
Evaluate and implement
We recommend brands collaborate with their partners to carefully evaluate the results of the tests, comparing the various solutions to each other and to the cookie-based platforms they will replace. This will enable them to align with the partners that deliver the most impactful results and that have the most potential for scale while also establishing new benchmarks.
Test to get ahead of the changes
The technology landscape is changing fast, with new ad tracking limitations and cookie replacement solutions constantly being introduced.
In that context, the recent decision by Google to push back the end of support of third-party cookies in Chrome to 2023 should not be interpreted as a reason to postpone the cookieless conversation.
Other influential players are moving forward with their own timelines and agenda on privacy. For instance, Apple has introduced a new series of privacy features as part of iOS 15 that should be available to users in fall 2021. [ii]
This is why it is critical to get ahead with testing alternatives to third-party cookies. We recommend brands’ data and technology teams work closely with their agencies and partners to stay abreast with the various tests.
As you go through this preparation period, the below checklist will help you make sure you cover the critical questions for your organisation.
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[i] Google Blog, The Keyword, An updated timeline for Privacy Sandbox milestones, June 24, 2021
[ii] Apple website, iOS 15 Preview page, as accessed on June 25, 2021