How Marketers Can Still Reach Their Audiences In A Cookie-Less Future
By Bichoï Bastha, Chief Revenue and Business Officer, Dailymotion
Silently tracking consumers across the internet, third-party cookies made it possible for marketers to reach customers like never before. But the cookie era is quickly drawing to a close. Even though Google delayed the sunset of third-party cookies due to the outcries of an unprepared industry, it’s still happening. In addition to the millions of internet users that have shunned cookies with ad blockers and other tools, all major web browsers have announced that they have or will stop supporting third-party cookies. Marketers will now have to be more creative than ever when it comes to how they reach their intended customers.
The only question is how? Targeting and relevancy still matter, but marketers will have to return to the fundamentals of contextually relevant ad placement and rely on technological innovations to reach their intended customers. By using contextual advertising to better connect with consumers, brands can survive and thrive in a cookie-less world while providing a better user experience that doesn’t compromise their privacy.
Context, audience and technology are critical
Marketers know that to deliver the most contextually relevant campaign possible, they should start by identifying their target audience and the online content they consume. They must also look at the environment and identify the sites and content categories that align with their particular brand, as well as those that do not align. Beyond those basics, though, is where adjustments can be most critical.
Inventory selection is another thing to consider. By selecting supply partners based on the audience, content and the quality of their contextual solutions, brands can better serve an audience that meets their individual needs. Technology is crucial here – if a supply partner does not have all of the incredible innovations, like machine learning and data engineering to enhance targeting possibilities, that are available to brands today, they won’t be able to provide an even playing field. This will put brands at a disadvantage that can only be overcome by using a supply partner that is more technologically advanced.
Technology is also critical in reaching the right consumers at the right moment. Brands now have the ability to leverage advanced contextual targeting capabilities to deliver highly relevant ads, creating an enduring and endearing campaign that an audience will remember. For example, instead of textual context along from titles or descriptions, technology can now use video metadata (upload category, language, video owner), visual signals from video frames, and audio signals from audio tracks to properly determine how to classify and contextualize a video.
A new way forward in a cookie-less world
While there is no consensus on what will replace third-party cookies, brands should focus on achieving more significant results with creativity, not simply by attempting to do the same thing in a new way. In other words, brands would be better off collaborating with end users and consumers to create a more personalized and human online experience that offers greater control, transparency, and respect for privacy.
Businesses can and should drill down further, however, and consider brand suitability. Is the ad not only placed next to relevant but brand-appropriate content? After brand suitability comes another dimension in granularity. Given the sensitive nature of COVID-19, there may be brands that do not want their ads to appear next to content related to the pandemic or other black swan events. But there also may be exceptions to that rule. For example, a video on the “10 movies to watch while in quarantine” may be considered brand-safe even if their parameters would typically say otherwise. That’s why context is so important and needs to be understood.
Consider the far-reaching opportunities for advertisers that are using contextual targeting. Instead of offering ads that invade a user’s privacy by highlighting products based on search history, brands can optimize results through quality and relevancy. For example, if a consumer is watching a video about a pizzeria, it wouldn’t make much sense to pair that imagery with an ad for makeup. A contextual ad would target the user’s interest – in eating great food – and pair the video with an ad for pizza, calzones, or other Italian options. Advanced machine learning models that can pinpoint a video topic, the feeling a video is evoking, and the exact video frame a specific product category is shown opens up limitless opportunities for hyper contextual targeting.
Marketing Technology News: MarTech Interview with Tracey Ryan O’Connor, Group Vice President at Qubit, (a Coveo company)
With the right technology, cookies no longer matter
The time to invest in technologies that allow brands to contextually and relevantly reach audiences is now. If they are not yet taking the initiative, they risk playing at a lower, less significant level than their competitors. With an endless supply of ads looking for interested eyeballs, brands need technology that can propel their products and services and ensure they are seen by consumers who will take notice.