Big changes in marketing and advertising usually happen suddenly. For better or worse, marketers can only react in real time to shifts in competition, technology, or consumer trends. But this year is different. We know what’s coming—by the end of 2024, cookies will disappear.
Knowing what the future holds doesn’t guarantee that marketers know how to prepare for the changes. We’ve heard from customers and colleagues alike that many teams have more question marks than answers.
While these changes can lead to warranted reservations, we see more reasons to be optimistic about what’s coming. Not only do solutions already exist to fill in the gaps left by the disappearing cookies, this shift also provides opportunities for companies to be more selective about the audiences they engage with and the targeting they do for their ad campaigns. Let us explain.
What’s Happening with Cookies in 2024?
Before we dive into how you should prepare, let’s first discuss what’s happening. Cookies, the snippet of code that enables websites to remember user information and preferences, are used by the digital advertising industry to identify a user’s device, serve curated ads based on online behavior and retarget them with relevant ads. The digital advertising industry is currently worth over $600B, so removing a key piece of the equation is a big deal.
So, why is it going away? In short, users want more privacy. In general, people want more control over how their data is used. Regulators also see the security risks posed by third party data collectors and want to protect the public by cracking down on their practices. It will ultimately be a positive change as long as you have a plan for adjusting.
What Is the Impact of Cookies Disappearing for Marketers?
The most immediate adjustment to prepare for will be to your audience segments. Removing cookies will make it harder for advertisers to track users’ online interests and behaviors and therefore harder to serve users targeted ads. Publishers may also find it harder to monetize their websites due to the loss of targeting. Your audience sizes could shrink or change.
Additionally, there will likely be changes to your attribution capabilities. Without data on users’ behavior, marketers and advertisers may find it difficult to measure the efficiency of their campaigns with the same accuracy initially.
However, ad blockers and privacy reform have already rendered some cookies useless in the past few years. For many, the changes won’t be as drastic as some might assume. What’s more, alternatives already exist to help cushion the blow when it does happen.
How Does GroundTruth Help Customers Fill In the Gaps?
Now, it’s time for even better news. For GroundTruth clients and partners, the accuracy and precision with which we target audiences is done without cookies already. We build audiences from real-world behaviors, including real-time location signals, past visitation patterns, and additional data points (like past purchases).
The ultimate safeguard against cookies, and in support of consumer privacy, is a solid identity graph that creates anonymized customer profiles based on their interactions across the web and other devices; those audiences can then be served personalized and precise targeting while prioritizing their privacy. GroundTruth’s product and technology teams have woven identity graphs into the foundation of our tech stack, ensuring that we can power the efficacy of your marketing campaigns.
In short, your GroundTruth campaigns will continue to run without interruption in the face of the deprecation of cookies.
Rethinking the Role of ROAS and Other Performance Metrics
Whether you’re a current or future GroundTruth customer, the loss of cookies does bring up the conversation around performance metrics and how companies measure the impact of their campaigns. Particularly with attribution models changing, ROAS becomes extremely important. It becomes a constant, north star metric that can show you how much revenue you’re earning per channel, per campaign, or per audience type.
If you don’t make any other changes, solidify your ROAS calculations and communicate the goals to your entire marketing team. Getting everyone on the same page and measuring their efforts in a consistent way will ensure that all your campaigns stay on track and you continue to reach your goals all of 2024.
And if you need more help making that happen, we’re always here to help! Contact us today and we can show you exactly how GroundTruth helps deliver real business results.