Scroll To Top

By Dick Maggiore and Mark Vandegrift

Moving Towards Cookieless Advertising

Cookieless Advertising: What's Next?

As we move away from cookie-based advertising and into a new, cookieless world, the question we hear most often is, “How can I effectively track and target our online audience now?”

For over two decades, cookies have been THE preferred way to record user activity. We used cookies to track website visits, visitor activity, location, IP, and much more. In a cookieless advertising paradigm, however, serving personalized, relevant ads to our target audiences requires new thinking and new marketing techniques.

When given the choice to either be served random ads or ads tailored to individual interests, most consumers preferred the latter. Yet, many of these consumers are concerned about the use and security of their data. These concerns will likely only grow with each reported security breach, like with the high-profile breaches of Facebook and TikTok. This puts marketers in a bind. We all need to now consider alternative, cookieless options to provide personalization and targeting capabilities.

Cookieless Advertising Options

  1. Contextual Advertising: This method of advertising serves ads based on the content the user is viewing. Ads are displayed on relevant web pages as determined by keywords. For instance, if you were reading about a particular travel destination on a website that specializes in travel, you would likely see ads associated with the keyword “travel”, such as luggage, airfare, or travel insurance.
  2. Behavioral Advertising: This is based on users’ web behavior by utilizing algorithms that learn and analyze interests and behaviors based on their activity. It is also a great way to use first-party data, which is data a business collects from a user that has opted in to divulge their demographic, psychographic, and geographic information.
  3. Search Engine Advertising: Paid search advertising with search engines including Google, Bing, and Yahoo allows advertisers to target users based on search inquiries to display relevant ads on the search engine results page (SERP).
  4. Email Marketing: This extremely effective option uses your first-party data (customer data you own and manage) by emailing newsletters and promotional messages. These customers have willingly provided you with their information and have agreed to receive your marketing emails.
  5. Influencer Marketing: This powerful marketing tool leverages social media influencers’ audiences that are like-minded in behaviors, topics, and interests. Influencers can help promote your business by posting content that highlights your products or services.
  6. Social Media: Social platforms provide user targeting based on behaviors, interests, and topics from user profile information and user interactions.
  7. Programmatic: This expansive medium offers a broad list of media, including connected TV/over-the-top (CTV/OTT), streaming audio and video, native, display, digital-out-of-home (DOOH), and retargeting. All offer targeting based on viewing, listening, and interaction history as well as expressed interests.

These tracking/targeting options offer an increased level of privacy to your prospects and offer benefits to advertisers, too. There is an immediate increase in trust between brands that are sensitive to privacy concerns, and their customers and prospects. These options also allow brands to cultivate relationships with customers who have chosen to interact with them. Much like a healthy personal relationship, customers and prospects won’t mind sharing more with you if you protect what you learn about them.

Returning the “Cookie” to Cookieless Advertising

  1. Data Privacy Protection: Users are increasingly concerned about their data –– namely, who has it and with whom it is shared. When cookies are not used, there is a reduced chance of user data being compromised. While not completely foolproof, your target audience will appreciate that you’re using up-to-date data protection protocols.
  2. Control: Users have more control over cookieless advertising. Your target audiences can turn off, hide, or suppress ads they don’t find interesting or relevant. If a user is served an ad on Facebook and has no interest in the ad’s content, that user can opt out of receiving advertisements from the advertiser that placed the ad. This is doing marketers a favor by eliminating the ad spend associated with delivering ads to those who are unwilling to consider your brand.
  3. Accuracy: As data is collected from user interactions, profiles, and opt-ins, marketers can be confident when targeting specific audiences.
  4. Efficacy: Properly targeted ads, based on interests and behaviors, lead to higher engagement levels and healthier ROIs. The upfront effort required pays off over the long term by growing an interested, engaged, and loyal audience.

The transition to cookieless advertising will be quick. Thankfully, there are many options available to marketers for effective, yet privacy-friendly, targeted advertising. For more on this topic and a peek at some of the interesting technologies coming down the road, read our post, “The Death of Cookie Tracking Makes Way for Innovation.”

If you need a partner to discuss cookieless advertising options, contact Innis Maggiore today. Our digital marketing team can evaluate your current digital campaigns and recommend effective strategies that leverage cookieless advertising.