As both government regulatory bodies and the advertising industry have become serious about data privacy, browsers such as Chrome, Safari, Firefox, and Explorer have announced safety measures that include restricting first-party cookies and blocking third-party cookies by default.
These moves will clearly have an impact on a range of outcomes, including user experience, data access, ad targeting and attribution. This will limit marketers ability to personalize content, target their advertising to individual users or assess which impressions had an impact on a consumer’s actions.
That being the case, how should marketers view the value of programmatic advertising in a post-cookie world?
For some, their focus has turned to first-party data for which consumers have given their consent. Yet, gathering this data and harnessing its value will take time. Further, this approach still requires an ad ID solution for which there is currently no standard or consensus among publishers, AdTech companies or device makers. That said, there is hope on the horizon as organizations such as the Advertising ID Consortium have emerged and are offering people-based identifiers that are compliant with “self-regulatory codes” and applicable privacy and security laws.
While the industry awaits a robust, unified ad ID solution, the loss of behavioral or deterministic targeting tools will clearly weigh on the efficacy of programmatic digital media.
According to Statista, global digital ad spend will reach $389 billion in 2021, with nearly 85% of that being place programmatically. In light of the challenges posed by the restrictions on third-party cookies, the question is, “Should marketers continue to allocate such a high percentage of their overall media spend in this area?”
In the words of 19th century author, Henry David Thoreau, “It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.”