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Why brands have nothing to fear from a cookieless world

In this podcast, digital marketing leaders give the brand perspective on the impending post-cookie landscape.



The recent announcement by leading web browsers, including Google Chrome, that they are phasing out the use of third-party cookies has created a major challenge for marketers who rely on cookies for targeted advertising and remarketing. Google has extended its cookie deadline until late 2023, but after that the impact will be significant. 

The lowdown

In this podcast, digital marketing leaders give the brand perspective on the impending post-cookie landscape. These leaders include David Simms, Business Development Director at Epsilon, Istvan Kozari, Global Head of Digital Media at home cybersecurity firm Kaspersky, and John Beebe Senior VP of Marketing & Customer Experience at Epsilon. 

In a nutshell

The phasing out of third-party cookies will seriously impede brands’ efforts to reach the right customers with the right messaging. Cookies are used for tracking, targeting, and measuring the success of campaigns. Without them, many digital marketers are wondering how to reach customers online, and how to have a cross-brand view of their customers’ behaviour.  

But cookies have been going stale for a while. 

Here’s what our podcast participants had to say:  

In the past few years we have become more and more aware of how cookies are diminishing in terms of value, because we are losing quite a lot of them. And also, we have started to find alternatives for efficient digital marketing, which are not reliant on this seemingly simple, but actually very difficult concept of the tracker.” 

Istvan Kozari, Global Head of Digital Media at Kaspersky 

“I'm kind of grateful that cookies are going the way of the dodo. Everyone’s got an example of being followed by online ads long after making a purchase, in my case a handbag as a gift for my sister. In that instance, my data was onboarded, and they had mis-labelled me in my cookie. I was frozen in that moment in time, consigned to a segment of 50-year-old women.”  

John Beebe, SVP of Marketing and Customer Experience at Epsilon  

Stay calm and keep marketing

Third-party cookie deprecation isn’t the end of the world, the podcast experts agreed. Marketers have a unique opportunity now to get better returns from their digital marketing spend, by utilising first-party data, and also by thinking about offline as well as online behaviours.  

Alternatives to targeted advertising were discussedIt was agreed that marketers should be making moves to implement better strategies now.  

The deprecation transition is forcing many brands to re-examine their first-party data strategies, discovering they already own much of the data they need to gain an end-to-end view of the customer journey. 

For instance, loyalty programmes can identify and engage segments online, making it possible to personalize messages, optimize campaigns and measure performance. 

Marketers now have a unique opportunity to get higher returns from their digital marketing spend, by using a mix of alternatives to third-party cookie-powered targeted advertising.  

This might include targeted advertising in collaboration with publishers, more contextual advertising, and more creative use of first-party data.

Our podcast participants said marketers must seize this opportunity:

“For many advertisers, first-party data will be a very important element of their marketing and CRM. With education, customers can be willing to exchange their information in order to improve their experience.” 

Istvan Kozari, Global Head of Digital Media at Kaspersky 

Looking ahead, it’s going to be important for marketers to find the right partners who can really help enhance their first-party data in a way that respects a customer’s privacy, yet still meets their expectation for personalization. A good partner will help you reach customers as living individuals, at the moments that matter most.” 

John Beebe, SVP of Marketing & Customer Experience at Epsilon  

The bottom line

The podcast discussion ended with the participants concluding customers are likely to be happier if brands – and their trusted digital marketing partners – used first-party data, real-time technology, and expertise to personalize experiences.  

Using this hybrid method, it is possible to respect individuals for who they are, and what they want today; not who they were or what they did days, weeks, or months before.