Opinion: Consumer relationships hold the keys to a cookieless future
The internet was built on cookies, and that foundation is rapidly crumbling.
Cookies have been on their way out for a while. Mozilla Firefox began auto-deleting cookies in 2013, and every major browser has since limited or phased out support. Most recently, Google announced that Chrome will remove third-party cookies. Long projected to decline, the final death of the cookie is now imminent.
Smart advertisers have spent years preparing for this world by closely following the consumer. Today, people spend more time logged into social platforms, mobile apps, and on-demand streaming than they do the open web. These platforms are built on a direct consumer relationship. The user logs in, and the experience tailors to the user based on consumer identity and data, which allows marketers to reach their audience and target, optimize and measure campaigns without the help of cookies.
These consumer relationships will determine the winners and losers of a cookieless future.
Consumer relationships make for better advertising
Advertisers seek strong consumer signals, and a logged-in user provides the most accurate data to inform targeting and attribution. Platforms that offer customers compelling and tangible reasons to log in can create better audience segments, measurement tools and run sharper experiments. Platforms without customer relationships are left guessing who saw an ad. This reality has guided media companies, telcos and ecommerce providers to consolidate around first-party data.
Facebook, Google, and ecommerce platforms offer exactly this proven value proposition. They connect first-party data to a large-scale identity graph built on a logged-in user. This in turn allows advertisers to reach large audiences, manage frequency and measure performance.
In other words, these platforms allow what cookies provided for the original web, but with more-accurate data. The result is more-efficient media spend for advertisers, higher CPMs for publishers and a healthier industry overall. This value proposition is what keeps advertisers coming back. Google, Facebook and Amazon will account for 70 percent of digital ad spending in 2020, according to eMarketer forecasts.
The lesson from their success is that advertising dollars work hardest when consumers find real, tangible value, and where that value ensues from a direct, logged-in relationship. Direct consumer relationships, where consumers derive such tangible value, will serve as the foundation for accurate first-party data, which supports the most compelling, cookieless ad opportunities.
These direct relationships create a virtuous cycle that aligns the interest of the consumer and the advertiser because the quality of the advertising opportunity is directly tied to the value the consumer gets from the platform.
It doesn’t matter what form it takes: goods, services, great content and information—the platforms that provide the most tangible value will hold the keys to the cookieless future.