How will an internet without cookies revolutionize the world of internet and online advertising? This is the most important reflection that is moving the world of digital marketing, as the famous "biscuits" are about to be abandoned, placing new reflections on the work of the various actors of online advertising and on user privacy.
But what exactly are cookies? Cookies are files that allow you to store user information and retrieve it when necessary. They range from those that allow you to remember a login ID and password to those that allow you to create and modify the online shopping carts of our eCommerce purchases. Still others have allowed advertisers to observe the behaviors, actions and preferences of users who surf the web, providing valuable information for the creation of online advertising campaigns. In addition, thanks to cookies you can monitor the frequency - i.e. measure the amount of times a user is exposed to an advertising post, or work in retargeting - then intercepting again those people who have not concluded a certain action previously carried out, to for example those who have abandoned a cart before buying, or have expressed interest in a website.
Thanks to cookies, online advertsing and programmatic based their modus operandi, with the aim of giving the right users the right adv, in the right online space and at the right time. After 25 years, cookies exhaust their profiling work, forcing us to rethink the use of all the information that has made it possible to trace and outline different audiences and different targets, launch campaigns and monitor their progress. So will this intention still be possible?
Just to comply with the new privacy regulations and always paying attention to users, browsers have created tracking cookie protection systems: if Safari (Apple) was among the first to allow the blocking of cookies, they then queued Firefox (Mozilla), to which Edge (Microsoft) and Chrome (Google) were added. Considering that Safari and Firefox together hold 30% of the impressions measurable by advertisers and Chrome as much as 65%, we understand how the elimination of cookies has a really important impact.
To all this is added the work of the ad blockers: they are all those systems that allow you to block the vision of online advertisements on sites and pages. They can be "direct", as they are directly available in browsers in the form of extensions to be installed, or they can be "indirect" because they are included as additional services that the various antiviruses on the market make available.
The elimination of third-party cookies traces a path that by putting users and their rights even more at the center of the discussion, brings attention to the data of the first parties. The risk, however, is to end up with a few large global players who easily have access to users' personal information, closing the market. For advertisers, those who create campaigns, and publishers, or those who make advertising space available, the situation becomes more complicated: for the former, there is a risk of losing information on large-scale audiences if you only work on closed players who would become in a some "exclusive" ways, for the latter there is the risk of no longer being able to compete with these large suppliers, also making the market lose competitiveness and exchange.
A whole series of solutions are therefore to be thought of in order to face this enormous change, combining on the one hand the right ways to reach users and offer them the right adv at the right time, but safeguarding their privacy and their data.
One of the possible directions to take may be to work through data collected through CRM, i.e. data collected through customer relationship management activities. The importance of working with known users and in relation with companies, brands and agencies is a method that allows you to create ad hoc opportunities and create much more personalized adv than the use of third-party data, which can provide more general and less interested in the adv proposed. Specifically, emails are having a second life because thanks to their persistence - a user uses the same email for years, and thanks to their independence from any platform with respect to a cookie, they manage to be precise and effective in identifying audiences. Furthermore, thanks to the new regulations, they have recently been reviewed in the consents and are therefore able to receive communications and advertisements. All this, however, is not only glistening gold: first-party data owners must commit to constantly cleaning their database and this has costs to bear.
Another direction is to implement the use of the MAID, or the Mobile Advertising ID. It is an identification provided by the mobile devices themselves and which manages to provide a reliable, secure and stable pseudonym identification of the user and his mobile activity, but at the same time protecting consumer privacy. It is really interesting as it is much more precise than other data and above all it also provides the user's position: it can be further useful data for truly personalized campaigns or for working for example on drive-to-store campaigns.
Finally, you can work through Contextual intelligence. It is not a real novelty and it even has a price passed also to the printed paper, when certain advertisements were placed near articles that could be in line with them, in order to capture users. By working on the words and the context in which they are inserted, it is possible to operate on semantics, understanding where users are in the purchase cycle, not using personal data but keywords, thus structuring the adv in a more precise and targeted manner.
This cookieless internet, an internet without tracking, should not be seen as a catastrophe, but as an opportunity to work in an even more transparent and aware way for everyone. Advertisers, publishers and platforms must find new ways to collect information about users and understand how to use it correctly, while users themselves must become even more aware of their stay online and how their data can be used, without shouting at the plot.
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