As we look ahead to 2021, the marketing and advertising industry’s attention is turning once again to a world without cookie-based measurement and targeting. With Google planning to phase out third-party cookies in its Chrome browser by 2022, it is time for businesses to start considering other ways to collect data.

With the end of 2020 and a little more certainty on the horizon thanks to prospective vaccines, marketers, and advertisers are once again turning their attention to the future and what a cookie-less world will mean for the industry. While many businesses depend heavily on the data that third-party cookies collect, they should prepare their sales, product development, e-commerce, and marketing teams to consider other tracking options for their post-cookies marketing strategy.

Michele Szabocsik, BlueConic
Michele Szabocsik, VP-Marketing at BlueConic

Michele Szabocsik, VP-Marketing at BlueConic, says, “Up until recently, the deprecation of third-party cookies was largely felt in the context of advertising. But in the year ahead, the consequences will be felt more broadly by businesses as a whole”.

“Whether it is a retailer that has built their consumer segmentation on top of third-party data or a global brand that’s confronting varying regional requirements for how that data is captured and stored due to GDPR, the cookie’s demise will fundamentally change the data that marketing and other teams have available to them to create value for consumers and competitive advantage for their business,” she adds.

Increased Focus on First-Party Data

Even though third-party cookie data will not be available for businesses going forward, they need to focus on first-party data that is still widely available for market data collation  purposes. Companies collecting this data all along will be in good shape when Google phases out third-party cookies.

“In 2021, expect companies that want to accelerate their transformational plans to prioritize the use of first-party data and put the customer at the center of everything they do. This customer-centric approach will result in better, more valuable, and more sustainable customer relationships”, says Michele Szabocsik.

Marketers need to look at their first-party data to gain more significant insights about their existing customers and base their targeting, measurement, and knowledge of prospects on this information.

Building a Strong Subscriber Base

The subscription businesses have witnessed an immense rise in popularity in recent years. Companies need to have a strong subscriber base to collect valuable first-party data. Publishers, especially, need to focus on this aspect.

Businesses offering subscriptions can experiment with different offerings and features, gather necessary user data, and make adjustments to optimize their process.

Subscription marketing is always evolving, and businesses must stay on top of what their customers want and how they’re reacting to the current offerings. Keeping track of customer behavior and working to acquire and retain new and valuable customers can create a highly successful subscription marketing offering.

Employing Contextual Targeting

Contextual targeting is an option that doesn’t require tracking customer data. It is a useful technique for targeting advertising that does not use consumer user data, so it is considered future-proof against the demise of the cookies.

Tony Marlow_IAS
Tony Marlow, CMO, Integral Ad Science (IAS)

Tony Marlow, CMO, Integral Ad Science (IAS), says, “As marketers lose cookie-driven ways of targeting audiences, they will start to lean more heavily on contextual targeting to connect with their intended audiences. This is privacy-friendly and more effective because the marketer will have a better understanding of a person’s mindset based on the content that they are engaging with, and this means they can tailor their ad messages accordingly. Scalable contextual targeting is the next big innovation”.