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Preparing for a cookie-less world

Over the past 18 months, there have been many announcements about cookies; how we manage them, how we restrict the use of them, and how we can ensure that the data collected is secure and adheres to personal privacy settings. These conversations were driven by GDPR, which are a set of guidelines laid out by the ICO to ensure that companies and advertisers keep user data secure and do not use personal data for media targeting, ultimately giving web users more control over who stores their information and for what purpose.

However, over the past 6 months, we have seen an influx in companies adhering to the GDPR guidelines, which means that more customers are starting to choose not to be tracked by 3rd party cookies, such as media tracking cookies. Without this complete data, advertising agencies are finding it difficult to run successful retargeting strategies, which are likely to offer stronger key performance indicators (KPIs) than a standard prospecting approach. So, what can we do to ensure that performance is not impacted as a result of the cookie-less world?

Google’s response – Ads Data Hub
Google is adhering to the GDPR guidelines by developing the Ads Data Hub; a centralised Data Lake/Warehouse where all 3rd party Google data is stored at user-level, which is anonymised and consolidated. It will allow advertisers to merge data from multiple Google platforms, such as Campaign Manager (DoubleClick), Google Ads and YouTube. Because the data does not provide any user-level identification, it can be legally stored by Google and re-used by media agencies for targeting purposes.

All Response Media viewpoint
Due to All Response Media’s close working relationship with Google, moving into a cookie-less world becomes less impactful for our clients. In preparation for the coming months, we’re exploring the usage of the Ads Data Hub to ensure that we can still generate audiences at the levels of granularity we need for current campaign targeting strategies. However, if the 3rd party data we use is non-Google media, the following will apply:

Although user-level profiling may not be as robust without cookies, profiling tools are still likely to be available in a cookie-less world. Rather than cookie-based profiling, we will be profiling 1st party data such as location, gender and product purchased to identify further areas of opportunity in ‘lookalike’ audience strategies and granularised prospecting.

1st party data
In the absence of cookies, our strongest data will come directly from the client. Using CRM data, we can identify those who have interacted and converted on the website, which we can then use to devise new retargeting strategies. Most big players in the media world have an API which allows for pushing CRM data into the platform, which can help to fill the gaps due to “opt-out”. 

Harvesting synergy
You can make better use of your offline media strategies by utilising All Response Media’s suite of harvesting tools. This will ensure that digital media is activated in line with offline media launches or in line with offline media performance. With limited understanding of website users and web usability, aligning offline and online media approaches can help to define a cold vs warm lead, and helps to identify the offer/product they may be interested in buying.

Regionality is an old strategy but is often underutilised by media agencies. By separating your media by location, you open a world of cross-media strategies to harmonise your overall performance. Outdoor and offline media is often regionalised, which allows your digital media to replicate regionally based messages, increase bids/budgets accordingly, and further profile users at location level to apply granularisation to users in areas which provide better responses.

Test and learn
Continuous testing is required to further enhance and optimise targeting strategies. As user-level automation may not be an option, more efforts will be made to continuously update user profile groups by re-analysing demographical, contextual and locational performance from the client’s 1st party data.

With the loss of cookies, ‘deterministic data’ – information is known to be true – increases in value and will be tested further by us at All Response Media. ‘Probabilistic data’, which defines an audience group that possesses a high probability to be accurately profiled, will be harder to come by in this new world. It will also be harder to tie that data to other information.

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