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Published on 
January 11, 2022

What we learned about the cookie-less revolution in November/December 2021

The final third-party cookies are sitting at the bottom of the cookie jar - the stale ones no one wants to eat - and in just over a year, even those will be gone for good. A few months back, Google announced that it was pushing the deadline for completing the third-party cookies ban - but instead of giving out a sigh of relief, take this time to understand the implications and how your brand can get ahead of the game. 


Here are some highlights from the last two months on how the slow but steady conversion evolved this month, aggregated by the ThoughtLeaders platform. 


Zero party data 

By now we all know the breakdown of first-party data, second-party data and third-party cookies (and if you don’t, you can get up to speed with this blog) but there’s a fourth data collector that marketers should pay close attention to - zero-party data. 

Zero party data is information that customers willingly share that offers explicit insight into the consumer and their online behavior. This includes product preferences, plans for future purchases, satisfaction with products/services, etc. 


How can you collect zero-party data? 

Simply put, this type of data is collected through surveys, questionnaires, or customer profiles. Sounds easy. But, most customers ignore these feedback forms - either because they don’t want to share their information or just can’t be bothered. Business2Community shares three ways marketers can lead consumers to participate: 

  • Website registration - a key way to collect basic information and enable access to more information in the future, is by asking the right questions during the registration process.

  • Gamified surveys - Instead of asking bland questions in the typical format, find a creative way to present the questions in a more engaging manner. 

Consumers love the personalization aspect - relevant ads that appear at the right time, at the right place - it’s the way that information is collected that has become a real issue. Through zero-party data, marketers are putting the ball in the consumers court - you want a more personalized online experience, help us create that for you. 

Why we all need a Clean Room

We’ve got a small obsessive-compulsive soft spot for the “Tap to Tidy” trend that has been spreading all over social media, where you can click on a messy room and see all the disarray suddenly disappear, as if by magic. That’s why when we heard the term “clean room” we were instantly intrigued. When we learned that it was part of the cookie-less internet future, we had to understand more. 


Luckily, Marketing Brew had us covered with this useful breakdown: 

  • Clean rooms can be used to both gain insights into audiences and as a tool to measure campaign performance, depending on the partners involved
  • Instead of proxies and guesses to estimate audience insights, a brand would literally be able to look under a retailer’s first-party-data hood, all while being privacy compliant.

It’s Switzerland for data, a neutral intermediary where all sides can set parameters as to what information is actually seen…. Most companies offering clean rooms can run a machine learning model (um, fancy computer math) over someone else’s data set without ever seeing it. This anonymized, modeled data can give advertisers a good indication of who their audiences are and what they’re doing without the personalized data of the audience being revealed.


Our guess is that we are going to be hearing a lot more about clean rooms over the coming months as companies start to look into their pros and cons and understand how they can take advantage of this new technology. 

Cookie’s in the metaverse? 

2021 has become the year of the metaverse - from Facebook’s Meta and Nike buying a virtual shoe company that creates sneakers for the online-sphere to Microsoft creating 3D avatars for the virtual space. Companies far and wide are developing digital humans to control the metaverse in the future. The race to control the metaverse has already begun. 


But what does this have to do with the upcoming cookies ban? 

Although the metaverse is currently the wild west for brands, it is a great opportunity to start off on the right foot - entering the sphere with privacy compliant digital marketing. Here’s just a few a brief overview: 


We’re all in this (virtually) together 

When users enter the metaverse world, they have to opt-in (accept the use of their data and information). For brands, this small ‘check’ enables them to collect relevant pieces of information to better personalize their marketing campaigns. Don’t forget - because third-party cookies won’t exist at all in the metaverse, brands will need to start their data collection from scratch. 


According to Marketing Dive, brands and consumers will need to work together. Brands should lean towards advertisements that feel more organic via contextual advertising and consumers should share their experience. Gowthaman Ragothaman, CEO of martech company Aqilliz and former global client lead at WPP shares “consumers would be able to fully consent to the bits of data they want to trade for experiences, collectibles or other assets…The metaverse provides all these things … instead of exploiting, you can leverage consumer data in a much better fashion”. 

The key is to take everything we’ve learned in the current state of the internet and apply it to the new virtual sphere. 


Get Smart, Get Suitable

Contextual advertising is becoming increasingly central in the marketing playbook for many brands, as third-party cookies begin to take a backseat. 


David George, CEO of Pixability wrote a piece for AdExchanger looking at how brands can match their ads with content that reflects their values and messaging. In the piece, he outlines the progression from Brand Safety to Brand Suitability to “Smart Suitability”. He explains how suitability safeguards have become more sophisticated, and what this means for the relationship between brands and content creators: 


“Suitability trends have evolved beyond just contextual targeting. First, GARM [Global Alliance for Responsible Media] established a new definition for suitability by assigning a risk score category to each piece of content. As a result, advertisers can select content across categories based on suitability and risk tolerance, rather than targeting by suitability whitelists or broad keyword blocks.

For example, the Beastie Boys’ “Sabotage” music video previously would be deemed unsafe across all advertisers. But GARM’s suitability approach categorizes it “Medium Risk.” And marketers have more discretion to block what actually seems off for their brand.The next step some marketers are taking is to recognize the power their spend can have — and they are voting with their ad dollars. They can earmark their investments for creators or causes they care about, whether that’s supporting content from LGBTQ or Black creators or avoiding content that may be associated with political views they don’t support.”


For a closer look at how brands can avoid their ads supporting the wrong kinds of content, check out our podcast episode interviewing the team behind Check My Ads. 

 

Everything you need to know about Chrome’s rival

While Firefox, Safari and Chrome are working overtime to keep user data safe, Brave dove headfirst into information security and created a browser that is built on privacy and guarding your online information. 


According to Cnet, “Brave browser blocks trackers and third-party cookies that monitor your activity as you travel across the web. But the browser also gives you control over what you do and don’t want to be blocked - from ads and cookies to Facebook and Google login buttons”. 


But what’s in it for marketers?

It’s all fun and games but how do brands fit into this vault of online information? Well, Brave has taken a creative approach in order to help websites collect information (with consent of course) - users can make “anonymous contributions” to websites and the publishers receive these contributions in the form of cryptocurrency. Users can obviously also allow their information to be tracked - but marketers shouldn’t depend on the latter. 

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