Article by Prasad Shejale, Founder & CEO, Logicserve Digital

From Cookies to Identities – The Future Anonymous World

For a long time now, third party cookies have been helping us to understand our consumers and their journey, target the right audiences and design personalized marketing strategies to gain maximum output from our efforts. However, it won’t be too long that these third party cookies will be made redundant and their efficacy to understand consumer behaviour will diminish. Are we ready to work in an environment where we won’t have any third party cookie- based information? If you have been wondering about this too, keep reading to know some key aspects of the cookieless world and what steps you can take to prep yourself for working in the changing environment.

Whether you are a big tech company, brand marketer, publisher, affiliate, agency, consumer; everyone will surely be affected in the cookieless world in some way or the other.

There have been some announcements recently that have already warned us about the emergence of cookieless world. Google announced in Jan 2020 that it would phase out support for third-party cookies in Chrome within two years. Apple announced changes to its IDFA, or Identifier for Advertisers on Apple devices, that help advertisers target and track users in apps on devices running iOS. These are the initial steps that are going to transform soon the marketeers ability to track users as well as collect the data to analyse and devise advertising and marketing strategies.

Dependency on cookies

Currently, all of us are more or less dependent on cookies to know our customers, to gather key information about them and their behaviour and, to use this same data for correctly targeting them. The data also helps us understand consumer behaviour on digital assets and helps up build winning strategies. Be it a publisher, advertiser, brand marketer, tech player, exchanges, agency , affiliates or end consumer, or anyone else; cookies play a crucial role in shaping our marketing strategies and plans.

Challenges

While we know that the times will change and we will have an ecosystem where thrid party cookies will no longer be effective, there are various challenges that will come our way in this transformation journey.

- No universal solution for individual identities

- Data gaps that can affect marketing activities, in turn, depriving us from gaining valuable insights

- Tracking, understanding and getting the identity right across different platforms

- Provide the right experience to the consumers

The Changes

The future default state of digital media will be completely anonymous that cannot be addressed by third-party vendors. So how will things change and function? Here’s some options to explore:

- Brands/ companies who will have control over the Browser, Operating System and Device will have a big advantage. They can use multiple ways for gathering first hand data for the users willingly and safely.

- Alternative technologies that can act as a middle ground for ethically collecting data and responsibly using it for correct strategies. Some examples include Privacy Sandbox, Cookie Replacement Technology, etc

- Consortiums and collaborative solutions

Consumer, the ultimate winner or not?

While we consider policies like GDPR, PDPB being designed to safeguard consumers’ privacy and focus on consent, there will be ways for us to gather first hand information. And, we will bank on it to continue targeting these users and market our offerings. On one hand, yes, the consumers will have a lot of control and awareness about what information is shared with whom, for what purpose, etc; ways of doing marketing will evolve continue too. The biggest difference, however, will definitely be in the power and control that a consumer will have. They will have a choice to share information and make informed decisions about the same. Also, the future consumer will be more aware about things and how his/ her data is being used for enhancing their experience. It’s a debatable concern as of now. Only time will tell us about how things turn around and what will be the exact impact on the consumers in the evolved, cookieless world.

Brands today need a deeper understanding of what’s driving real-time results to plan, execute, and measure the success of their media investments better and all of this what I mentioned above is part of the programmatic offering NOW. To get more insights about the FUTURE of Programmatic, watch the below video of AD: Tech Talks, where I had the pleasure of moderating-The Programmatic Landscape - The Next, The Next and What’s Best webinar on. On the panel, we had Prabhvir Sahmey from Google & Nikhil Rungta from Verizon Media sharing some insightful views about the new Data Norms, Role of A.I, Future of Connected TV, Voice Adoption and much more.