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Industry Trends
December 10, 2021
min read
Noam Yadin

Cookies vs. creators: The crucial role creators will play in the cookie-less future

Don't let the name third-party 'cookies' fool you - just like you wouldn't take cookies from a stranger, websites taking cookies from other outlets which have monitored users every move, tracked your online behavior and popped up when you least expected is a thing of the past. With 2022 just around the corner, it's almost time for 'new year, new...tactics' - let's take a closer look at the crucial role content creators will play in the cookie-less future.

What are Third-Party Cookies?

These are cookies that are stored by a website other than the one you're currently browsing. The most common third-party cookies are advertising cookies, which are placed by sites running ads on other sites. They can also be placed by analytics software, marketing platforms, and social media companies. Third-party cookies make up over 30% of all advertising cookie data worldwide. 

Cookies allow marketers to follow users across devices, both personal and work-related. This means advertisers can target consumers with tailored messages based on their past online behavior. However, individuals are becoming more suspicious of the data that is being collected and shared via cookies. These growing privacy fears mean that third-party cookies will soon be a thing of the past. This is good news for consumers and bad news for advertisers. 

This loss of cookie data could be disastrous for digital advertising, since more than $109 billion was spent on digital ads last year alone. The traditional cookie system has been propped up by an estimated $20 billion paid to publishers each year just for hosting advertising data. 

If digital advertisers lose access to third-party cookies, they’ll need new solutions for ensuring tailored ads are delivered to audiences at scale. Who do we know that has large, loyal followings, connect with a variety of niches on a wide range of topics, create new content on a regular basis and are usually on the lookout for brand partnership opportunities? Influencers!

Influencers will play a crucial role 

Over the last few years, more and more brands have added creators into their marketing strategy as a way to increase brand awareness and, ultimately, sales. In this day and age, influencers are gaining one more striking superpower -  helping brands continue targeting their audiences without the use of third-party cookies. Here’s a quick look at how content creators have become the silver-lining for brands trying to navigate the cookie-pocalypse, if you will. 

They have audience data at their fingertips

Content creators have first-party data - data that was collected directly from their audience. Not only can creators and brands see what kind of content viewers are more interested in (with views and likes), by leveraging creators that promote specific brands, the company can track consumer behavior for a specific campaign. This type of funnel reduces privacy concerns because consumer data is shared directly from the interaction between the creator and their audience. 

For marketers, this high-quality data can be used to reduce the guesswork in the future, and predict consumer patterns by gaining audience insights and allowing them to continuously personalize the ads accordingly. 

They reach loyal audiences far and wide 

Brand partnerships with content creators ensures that you are promoting your product/service to a wide audience that is most likely actively listening. This helps bring specific brands to life and actually make an impact - unlike ad banners on the sides of websites that creepily listen to you mentioning an interest in a trip to France. As Chris Ebmeyer put it in The Drum,

“Influencers have a built-in audience, and can take our brands and put them into context that we’re looking a similar fashion to TV advertising, we’re relying on interrupting to capture eyeballs in the newsfeed, but with influencers we’re integrating into the ‘program’. 

What’s more - according to data, more than 53% of people who see a creator promoting a product take some sort of action, such as visiting the website of the product


Through their content, brands can pinpoint where its most relevant for them to promote products/services (programmatic ads)

Partnerships with creators aside, brands also have the option to feature their product/service via a programmatic ad - the ads that appear at the beginning of the YouTube clip, the ones that are usually irrelevant to the viewer, either content-wise or timing-wise. Take the diapers brand, Huggies, which is wasting its money putting ads on videos by fashion influencers. I should know. Sure, I watch those channels and I’m a mother, so technically I’ve been targeted but when I watch fashion hauls quite mindlessly, it's the rare window in my day when I don’t want to think about dirty diapers or the need to urgently re-stock. 

So, if specific brands, in this case Huggies, are able to pinpoint pieces of content/creators who correlate seamlessly with the product/service, the ads in the beginning of the video will show much higher success rates. For example, Huggies may consider featuring their ads on videos relating to parenting hacks, baby essentials, top baby products, etc.

How should I start preparing?

Let’s put it like this - third-party cookies have dominated our online experience for too long. Instead of treating this change as some kind of digital apocalypse, you should look at it as a golden opportunity for both brands and creators to work together to build a better internet. 

In a cookie-less future, where third parties collect data from every aspect of a consumer’s digital experience, it becomes even more important to develop an effective influencer marketing strategy. As mentioned above, consumers are much more likely to trust product/service recommendations from the content creators they follow, and ultimately, trust. 

Put personalization in the forefront

Understandably so, people want more control over their data and privacy, but due to the overload of options, consumers desire ‘ads’ that are tailored and personalized to their interests. According to reports, “80% of consumers are more likely to make a purchase from a band that provides personalized experiences”.  What better way to personalize promotional content than via creators that know (with some help from data and analytics) exactly what their audience wants. 

A cookie-less future is inevitable - so we might as well jump on the bandwagon and make the most of it! Developing a game plan for your brand now will ensure you stay on target with your company goals and reach. Influencers should be a central part of that strategy. Get in touch to discuss how to jumpstart your brand’s influencer marketing campaigns and find the right content to wean you off your reliance on cookies for good. 

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