Article - HR

Old Game, New Rules: Getting Results in a Cookie-Less World

Following the introduction of more stringent data regulation, consumers have become increasingly cautious about how they share their information online. For marketers, this represents a unique challenge. In 2022, we find ourselves in a near cookie-less world where consumers exercise greater control than ever before. The question then, is how do we retrieve consumer data with this reality in mind? First though, a quick refresher on GDPR and why it’s had such an impact.

What is GDPR?

GDPR – or General Data Protection Regulation – is one of the strictest privacy and security laws in the world. Though the legislation was drafted and passed by the EU, its apply to any organization targeting data related to those residing in EU member states. Amongst other things, the regulations imposes very specific restrictions on how personal data can be processed, collected and controlled.

· Personal data – refers to any information related to an identifiable person. Naturally, for the purpose of outreach and research, this data has fast become an essential resource for businesses. Examples of personal data might include, religion, ethnicity or, critically for marketers, a person’s web cookies.

The influence of GDPR is far-reaching and its effect on how companies utilize personal data is substantial. Here are just some of the key statistics that have surfaced since its introduction.

The Impact of GDPR

GDPR came into effect on May 25th 2018 and has effectively changed the data landscape forever. It was however, a change that we were in serious need of. Shockingly, during 2020, only 20% of companies felt that they were data compliant. It’s due to this fact that around 27% of companies have spent over $500,000 to become compliant with GDPR in 2018. Obviously, this represents a significant business investment but as we can see, it’s one that we can’t afford to ignore.

Since GDPR came into place, the fines being meted out to companies that fail to engage have steadily increased. For instance, in their July 2021 earnings report, Amazon announced that it had been fined €746 million ($877 million) due to issues surrounding cookie consent. For marketers, this isn’t good news. Cookies have been clamped down on considerably by GDPR and this makes the job of a marketer that little bit more complicated in 2022.

What Does This Mean for Marketers?

For marketers, this is problematic. As brands, it’s our responsibility to honour consumer choice. As advertisers we still want the targeting and measurement capabilities afforded by first-party data. The question is how do advertisers develop brand safe data?

This topic was discussed at length at GDS’ recent CMO EU summit in March. During their keynote discussion, Joshua Kreitzer – CEO for Channel Bakers –and Darren Barton – EMEA Business Development Manager for Channel Bakers – broke down their findings in this space. In particular

they were keen to discuss platforms that not only make sense for the advertiser and for the consumer, but that also build a pathway to measurable, full-funnel advertising programs.

Old Game, New Rules: Getting Results in a Cookie-Less World

Consumers are more cautious with their personal data than ever before. As such, it makes sense that fewer and fewer opt in to tracking online, but the current statistics are startling. According to Darren, “only 21% of iOS users globally opt in to cookie tracking. Whilst 50% of internet users either allow mandatory cookies only, or don’t consent to cookies at all”. The consequence from a marketing perspective? “The user is less identifiable,” says Darren.

The potential of marketing departments will be severely restricted by an inability to retrieve actionable data and marketers are already having to prepare. As Darren outlined, “in 2022, 44% of marketers anticipate having to spend 5 to 25% more to reach the same audience”. That this is the case despite the fact that “a staggering 44% of consumers are spending the same amount of time on personal devices today as they did when the pandemic restrictions took effect”, shows how serious things have become.

It’s for this reason that we should look to major players to in business to see how we can adapt to this new cookie-less world.

How Can We Collect Data?

In particular, Darren and Joshua pointed towards Amazon and their data approach. Data retrieval is built into Amazon’s products from the ground up, with the commerce giant able to track through it’s ecommerce marketplace, Alexa voice assistants, Kindles and virtually everything else. As Joshua pointed out, Amazon also “ have single sign-in user data that carries across multiple devices from your tv to your desktop, mobile, your Alexa devices”. This gives the tech giant a comprehensive view of the customer and this is something that any organization can piggyback off of.

As Joshua put it, “Amazon are no longer just a retailer, they absolutely are a media company and that’s how we should start thinking about them”. As part of their media empire, Amazon has become a heavy hitter in the world of streaming in recent years and this is where opportunity sits for many businesses. According to Darren, “44% of adults stated that the number one activity since lockdown is watching streaming tv”. Streaming TV is clearly a crucial ad platform for brands.

How does this help us to retrieve data though? In short, when advertising on Amazon, you don’t have to send the traffic to Amazon. Instead, as Joshua put it we can “drive traffic to our own .com and build our own first-party data.” Essentially, by paying Amazon for the privilege of advertising on their platforms, we can open up a new data channel and build full-funnel marketing campaigns out of them. This is of particular value as, “Amazon streaming tv ads reach 1.8X the intended audience compared to linear tv”.

If the death of the cookie is as inevitable as it seems at this point, we’re going to have to be smart with how we retrieve customer data. There are however, options available to us and Amazon and its platforms represent just one of them. As Joshua concluded, “the number one thing CMOs are looking for is traffic at scale and ad spend efficiency”. By piggybacking off of larger brands, this is something we can look to more reliably deliver in a cookie-less world.

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