At The Cookie Conundrum: A Recipe for Success, a virtual summit hosted by theCUBE and sponsored by Quantcast, industry leaders came together to address one of the industry’s most pressing concerns: what happens to the advertising world without third-party cookies? Xiao Lin, Managing Director of Xaxis, offered specific advice to help brands and agencies prepare for the cookieless future. In this blog post, he shares his insights as our guest author. 

If the cookieless future was a TikTok dance, we would be dancing right now and keep moving until at least the next year. The impact will be all-encompassing and transformative, changing how we run digital marketing campaigns, measure their effectiveness, and drive outcomes. To prepare for these sweeping changes, marketers need to develop strategic holistic plans to drive outcomes through the multiple touchpoints of a consumer’s journey, whether that is programmatic or in a cookie-free environment. 

I have identified six steps that brands and agencies can and should take right now: 

  1. Find out what’s working today: Gather intel on what’s working in your current campaign in a third-party cookie-free environment, so you can translate those tactics when cookies go away. Look at temporal / time analysis, log level data, site analytics data, and brand measurement tools to understand how creative impacts campaign success.
  2. Geotargeting strategies: This underrated strategy utilizes very granular targeting, which is especially important for CPG brands, allowing you to understand online and offline data. You can optimize investments around strong markets and then test in underperforming markets.
  3. Contextual: By itself, contextual is a cookie-free strategy, and so you can test and learn various keywords and content categories to mimic audiences you are currently trying to reach with cookies. 
  4. Publisher data: Work with your top publishers who can curate similar audiences using their first-party data, and conduct RFIs to understand the scale and reach against your audience and your future roadmap. Based on historical data, you can recreate your best strategies. 
  5. First-party data: This data will matter more than ever. Brands will have to think about how to access and develop their first-party data, starting with the consumer seeing the value of the exchange for their information. First-party data is a gold mine for understanding your consumer, their intent, and their journey, and a great data science team is essential to extract insights out of that data. One recommended approach is to partner with strategic onboarding vendors and vet their ability to accept first-party data in a ‘clean room’ environment for targeting, modeling, and insights. 
  6. Informed prospecting: Dedicate a budget to start learning about cookieless advertising. Start with testing on Safari and Firefox. These underinvested areas have been cookieless for some time, so there is an opportunity to work with your data science team to understand the right mix. Don’t limit yourself to programmatic; explore other channels like connected TV (CTV), digital out-of-home (DOOH), radio, and gaming. 

Those are the six steps that we are taking right now with our clients to prepare and plan for the cookieless future. Nobody knows what’s going to happen, but we’re all dancing in this together. 

If you would like to learn more about how the landscape of digital advertising on the open internet is changing, check out the full panel discussion that I participated in with Christopher Guenther, Senior Vice President and Global Head of Programmatic at News Corp, and Somer Simpson, Vice President of Product Management at Quantcast. And to hear from more industry leaders on emerging technologies, solutions, and strategies, you can watch the entire industry summit, The Cookie Conundrum: A Recipe for Success.