Cookieless Targeting Solutions

As third-party cookies decline, Passendo explores some cookieless targeting solutions & technology, and explains how you can prepare for cookieless advertising.
Author picture

Subscribe to the blog

For many years, cookies have been serving as the main ingredient in digital advertising recipes. However, the massive outcry for privacy in the virtual realm is forcing internet giants like Google to phase out behind-the-scenes data collection methods.

Third-party cookies are slowly leaving the podium. Safari and Firefox are already blocking them. With Google Chrome joining the party, marketers are actively searching for effective ways to maintain high levels of personalisation through cookieless marketing..

Let’s take a closer look at how to survive in the cookieless future* without hurting the marketing budget.

What is Cookieless Targeting?

Cookieless targeting is a set of targeting tactics that don’t involve using data collected through cookies on websites.

In January 2020, Google announced the beginning of third-party cookie phase-out in Google Chrome. With over 63% of internet users preferring Chrome to other browsers, the phase-out affects the majority of companies worldwide.

The emphasis on online privacy is growing exponentially. And as new privacy laws (GDPR, CCPA, New York SHIELD Act, CPPA, etc.) are springing up like mushrooms under the rain, other browsers are likely to follow suit in the near future.

How Does Cookieless Advertising Work?

Just because third-party cookies are almost gone, it doesn’t mean you need to change your entire digital marketing strategy. The basics can stay the same -all you need to do is take a different approach to data collection and explore alternatives to third party cookies.

Here are a few ways to reach the desired audience without overhauling your entire marketing campaign.

Authenticated Targeting

Authenticated targeting allows you to collect the same type of data you did in the cookie era by getting the user’s consent to do so. To get access to the website, a user has to register or log in, thus providing an initial set of data to work with and giving permission to track their actions further.

While this method can provide a substantial amount of useful, validated first-party data to advertisers, it can be inconvenient for the user. When the potential customer is at the top of the funnel, registering or logging in isn’t likely to happen.

However, for prospects closer to the bottom of the funnel, such targeting can prove worthwhile, allowing you to drive the sale through and focus on retention tactics.

Anonymous Targeting

Anonymous targeting involves tracking a user without getting explicit consent. In the context of cookieless advertising, such targeting can take several forms.

Contextual Targeting  

Contextual targeting is basing your advertising efforts on where users are instead of who they are (the latter approach is known as behavioural targeting).

For example, if a potential customer is visiting camping websites or reading an article on “how to pitch up a tent,” they are likely to be interested in camping gear. So a company that sells tents places its ads on these websites because the content of the ad is directly related to the context it appears in.

Contextual targeting is an age-old advertising method that used to be popular before audience targeting took centre stage. Today, cookieless browsers are paving the way back to these old-and-tried tactics.

Aggregated Advertising (Google’s Privacy Sandbox)

To ease the transition away from third-party cookies, Google is offering marketers an alternative. A so-called Privacy Sandbox is designed to make the web more private for users while allowing marketers to implement personalised targeting methods.

The Sandbox consists of five browser APIs. One of them is the Aggregated Reporting API, which enables access to performance-related information without cross-site tracking of the user. The collected data will include:

  • Reach
  • Views
  • Impressions
  • And more

Through the API, advertisers can store reporting data in the browser and use it to design ads. It keeps the bigger part of the user information on their devices.

It’s worth noting that the Privacy Sandbox is still in its infancy. While it should definitely be monitored, it may be a while until the initiative begins generating worthwhile results.

Data Clean Rooms

In data clean rooms, walled gardens (Google, Facebook, Amazon, etc.) share aggregated data with advertisers while keeping strict control over privacy. First-party data collected from an advertiser also enters the room to see how it matches up with aggregated data.

This comparison allows publishers to figure out if they are overserving ads to certain audiences. While this data can be useful for analytics, it can never leave the clean room.  

Identity Solutions

Gathering consumer identity data without cookies isn’t impossible. In a post-cookie world there are more and more alternatives popping you — you could consider paying more attention to the following options:

FLoC (Federated Learning of Cohorts)

FLoC solution is part of the Google Privacy Sandbox. Designed for the top of the sales funnel, this data-gathering method is more even accurate than cookies.

The program creates an anonymous group of user profiles based on their browsing habits to establish shared meaning. While you don’t know the user’s identities, you can get insight into their behaviour.

ID Solutions

Cookieless ID solutions are currently becoming popular. Numerous companies are designing different approaches to battle the cookieless targeting problem.

  • Unified ID 2.0 (The Trade Desk) — uses anonymised email addresses as identifiers to target users while maintaining privacy.
  • Universal ID (ID5) — uses soft signals (IP address, page URL, user agent, etc.) combined with first-party data to identify users.
  • Britepool ID (Britepool) — similar to Unified ID, this one uses email-based identifiers.

The number of ID solutions is currently growing, providing marketers with new targeting tools that offer impressive accuracy.

First-Party Data

With third-party cookies gone, first-party data is becoming even more important. In the second decade of the 21st century, marketers must put significant emphasis on first-party data collection through cookies to:

  • Improve their targeting methods.
  • Participate in data clean room analytics.
  • Streamline predictive analytics.

Some examples of first-party data channels include:

  • Emails
  • Newsletters
  • Mobile Apps
  • SMS
  • Surveys
  • CRM
  • Website
  • Social media
  • And more. 

The high volume of first-party data is essential for running proper analytics and building solid targeting campaigns.

How to Prepare for Cookieless Targeting and Advertising

The first step toward preparing for cookieless advertising is accepting it as the new normal. Advertisers will need to adapt, and by studying the available options, you can ensure the success of your marketing campaign:

  • Develop a powerful first-party data strategy and leverage channels like email and newsletters to drive it. 
  • Reinvent your contextual targeting campaigns.
  • Start working with data clean rooms.
  • Focus on value exchange with your target audience.
  • Use existing data for AI-powered predictive analytics.
  • Explore conversational marketing.
  • Focus on brand awareness.
  • Improve and use personalisation tactics.

Would you like to learn more about cookieless targeting? Contact us to find out how you can use First-Party Data to do this.

At Passendo, we leverage the latest technologies to streamline the power of native in-email advertising in the cookieless world, find out more now.

Subscribe to the blog

Keep up-to-date with all the latest industry trends and news

*By submitting this form, you agree that we may process your information in accordance with our GDPR/Privacy terms.

Subscribe to the blog

Keep up-to-date with all the latest industry trends and news

*By submitting this form, you agree that we may process your information in accordance with our GDPR/Privacy terms.

Want to unlock the power of in-email advertising?

Book a demo and connect advertisers with your most engaged audiences.