Digital Strategy | Untitled-13 5 min read

Life Outside the Cookie Jar

by Bench August 7, 2019

The trick is for brands to evolve alongside the regulation and develop smarter thinking about how we reach our audiences and maintain that key customer connection.

GDPR. It’s the latest acronym on everyone’s lips. Marketing conversations are dominated by anxious forewarnings of a cookie-less existence, hallmarked by swathes of lost data with consumer insights crashing down around our ears.

The regulatory changes are encouraging brands to lean forward and anticipate the implications that lie ahead. There is now a need to employ an agile marketing approach and understand the range of targeting opportunities available that will achieve the same, if not better marketing results.

Before we resign ourselves to certain marketing oblivion, it’s probably a good time to remember that whilst GDPR will certainly influence the existing digital marketing landscape, these new laws are in place for good reason. They are designed to protect and enhance the consumer experience. The truth is, cookie-based marketing won’t simply disappear. It will evolve, and play one part in a broader data and  targeting conversation.

Firstly, do cookies still work?

In digital times past, cookies have worked a treat. By identifying customers at different stages of the purchasing funnel, cookies helped retarget and convert by serving specific marketing messages at relevant times. And today? Not so much. Consumers are commonly and usually navigating across multiple devices  – some of which (such as mobile apps) don’t even accept cookies. So in the first instance a huge potential mobile audience is already lost. But the ripple effect doesn’t stop there. Consider this: a customer begins browsing on a mobile and tablet device before switching to a desktop site at home. Here, they are regarded as a brand new user and will likely be served a selection of remarketing ads that are unrelated to their previous online experience, or indeed their place in the marketing funnel. This type of cookie-reliant targeting has not only become digitally and practically out-moded as this example demonstrates, it is also now subject to stringent regulation, which will further commute the cookie power.

But why does the EU Privacy law affect Australian marketers?

Internet usage has changed significantly since the days of pre-Facebook and Google – but the privacy laws have not been amended to keep step with these changes. Customers will now have greater control over their data, how it is used, collected, stored and applied. GDPR signifies a major shift in privacy regulation that covers all EU residents – no matter where they reside. Additionally, because the Internet represents a global marketplace, it makes sense for Australian companies to comply with these new regulations to allow themselves legal access to this customer footprint. There have already been instances of large fines where cases of non-compliance have been discovered. This has led the forward thinking and for Australian brands to prepare in advance for what lies ahead.

Is it really the death of the cookie?

Not quite. GDPR signals the opportunity for brands to think smarter and harder about how to develop and maintain conversations and connections with customers. With targeting no longer dominated by the cookie, there is a strong case for aligning with providers that offer contextual targeting and data validation as part of the holistic marketing mix. As the digital marketplace continues to develop and splinter, with the power very much in the hands of the consumer, it’s important to remember the benefits and protection that GDPR offers. The trick is for brands to evolve alongside the regulation and develop smarter thinking about how we reach our audiences and maintain that key customer connection.

How to connect with customers without the cookie?

Marketers can now navigate through GDPR limitations by integrating with the right technology and towards a people-based approach to targeting. Check out some of our new integrations that are available to solve this:

Contextual targeting: Grapeshot

We’ve integrated with contextual targeting leader, Grapeshot to infuse contextual targeting into the programmatic marketing mix. Contextual targeting allows you to communicate with your audience in a highly targeted environment. By using automated intelligence to identify and interpret keywords from content on a web page, brand messages are served in real time at relevant opportunities.

Activate offline customers: LiveRamp

Our global data activation partner, LiveRamp, is taking targeting far beyond the cookie to true people-based marketing. Advertisers can now activate 1st party data, as well as identity recognition tools across all channels, creating a more meaningful customer experience. As the cookie diminishes, LiveRamp will be used to match email data where cookies are are not an option. Now, you can tap into the best Liveramp has to offer faster and easier than ever before. 

If you would like more information or to chat to the team about optimising your data and customer reach, we’d love to hear from you. [email protected]