What The Future Looks Like Without Third-Party Cookies

By Tara DeZao, Contributor to AdExchanger

After its latest deadline extension, Google is slated to deprecate third-party cookies in Chrome in late 2024, a move that has drawn cheers, jeers and everything in between from every corner of MADTech.  

Currently, the Chrome browser sees upward of 60% of the internet’s total traffic, more than the popular remaining options combined. While there is no exact equivalent to replace the third-party cookie in Chrome, there are a multitude of stop-gap measures to ease the transition.

Google Topics is Google’s proposed replacement, which takes us back in time to broad, interest-based segmented targeting. This means brands are about to return to the “bad old days” of marketing, when many audiences all saw the same message. And this one-message-fits-most approach doesn’t fix what’s fundamentally broken in MADTech: the consumer experience. But there is a better path forward.

Consumers want relevant ads without compromising on privacy

Consumers have become adept at tuning out the large volume of brand messages they receive each day because they are either irrelevant to them, contextually inappropriate, ill-timed or any combination of the three.   

They’ve also become rightfully suspicious of marketers after years of high-profile data breaches, which resulted in laws like the EU’s Global Data Protection Regulation, various US state-based legislations and the emerging Digital Markets Act. The goal of these laws was to promote transparency and bolster consumer privacy where it relates to data usage and portability in digital marketing. Instead, what we’ve gotten are laws that are difficult to enforce and a complicated network of privacy band-aids.

Nevertheless, marketers have underestimated consumers’ ability to understand how we use their data. Market trends and consumer opinions point to customers wanting both personalized and privacy-friendly experiences. They welcome brand interactions that deliver value and respect their privacy.   

But if brands don’t start making the most of their first-party data for their outreach efforts, they will deliver the same irrelevant, contextually inappropriate engagements with consumers that led to the great reckoning we’re currently experiencing.  

The way forward

There’s still plenty of time for advertisers to future-proof themselves against the gaps and budget shortfalls created by data deprecation. Instead of seeking solutions from multiple external providers to augment and manage data, the most effective and efficient way is to use artificial intelligence and machine learning to activate first-party data across functional areas and channels.  

AI-based tools enable marketers to constantly analyze, aggregate and act on data signals in real time, creating an interactive dialogue with the customer based on their needs in the moment in more empathetic ways. The result is more dynamic consumer engagements, better brand-customer relationships and long-term brand value.

AI also enables brands to become more independent and get more from one of their greatest assets: the data they already have. For example, if a customer is a churn risk, it’s not a great time to try to upsell them. It would be better to initiate a retention engagement, such as thanking them with a discount on their existing services. 

To do this, the customer care center and the marketing department need to connect and access data signals from every functional area to obtain a full view of the customer in the moment. Cookies enable short-term sales. First-party data optimization powered by AI enables relationship-building and long-term sustainable growth.  

Ultimately, brands who do more with their first-party data will come out on top. When businesses rely on owned data, they don’t need to be as concerned with sweeping industry changes – they’ll already know how to engage with their customers in the best, most empathetic way possible.

Article originally appeared on Marketing Charts.

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