Engaging Audiences in a Cookieless World

By Ingrid Burton, CMO at Quantcast

Advertising on the open internet is constantly evolving, especially when it comes to third-party cookies. Although Google announced the deprecation of the third-party cookie delayed until 2023, brands, agencies, publishers, and technology companies should explore solutions now. Moving forward, I believe, the most successful online advertising campaigns in environments devoid of third-party cookies will be those that find audiences with a mix of emerging alternatives, including, consent, contextual, cohorts, identifiers, and more. But it will take a combination along with first-party data and AI to really find and engage audiences in a post-cookie world.  In fact, I urge brands, agencies, and publishers to find a partner that uses AI and machine learning technology to understand and engage audiences.

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The Value of First-Party Data for Engaging Audiences 

Marketers understand that direct, first-party data has the greatest potential to deliver successful advertising campaigns without third-party cookies. By embracing a cookieless world and leveraging first-party data with AI and machine learning offers the possibilities of engaging appropriate audiences in the most effective manner. And as many are aware, the third-party cookie has been in decline for some time because a significant portion, such as Safari and Firefox environments, already are devoid of third-party cookies. As the industry addresses the demise of third-party cookies it is time to start experimenting with alternative approaches and integrating their first-party data strategies now. 

The Power of AI to Reach New Audiences 

Leveraging AI and machine learning technology models on first-party data can harness multiple audience signals to understand a wide range of consumer behaviors such as interests, purchase behaviors, occupations, devices, demographics, and more. In addition, AI/ML can help link contextual signals to consumer intent and provide improved accuracy for reaching audiences today and in the future, post-cookie world. Leveraging a technology platform that uses contextual technology means that it can augment and enrich the information available in pre-defined contextual tags. This can help brands gather insights from various websites and use natural language processing (NLP) to gain a greater understanding of the content and the audience consuming it. Additionally, it allows machine learning (ML) to analyze and learn that content and ultimately identify content categories that will make it easier to get insights going forward.

 Measurement and Attribution are Key

 It is important to ensure the right audiences are reached and understand how to best engage them. There are key questions to ask when determining if a campaign is performing well, such as “are my ads working,” or “which of my ads are working?” – that is where relevance is intertwined with measurement and attribution. Because third-party cookies have been an integral part of the ad tech landscape measurement and attribution will need to be addressed as well. Alternative ways to measure success will be essential to make sure we are reaching the right audience and not wasting time or our advertising spend. 

A Cookieless Future to Better Engage Audiences 

The future of advertising without third-party cookies is still evolving, and new solutions will continue to be proposed. It is essential to embrace technologies that interoperate with viable solutions, rely on industry standards, and innovate as the landscape develops. A cookieless future means it is time to leverage first-party data along with AI and machine learning in order to continue providing unique audience insights. Looking forward, brands, agencies, and publishers must find the right technology partner committed to empowering them with audience insights and intelligence to enable better business outcomes.

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