VP, Digital Platform and Agency Partnerships
With Google’s announcement to end support of cookies in two years, many say that the writing is on the wall for measurement, retargeting and third party data solutions. It’s not to say this change won’t have significant impact, cause turmoil and spark opportunity – it will do all of those things. But to say the announcement affects all players equally, especially those in the data space, is an over-simplification.
Google has determined the future will not involve cookies, but that doesn’t bother us. This change drives an evolution, not an execution. Data is foundational to some of the world’s largest companies and the economy as a whole. The end of cookies will not end data; instead, it aims to provide consumers with more control over their data and how it is used, which should be welcomed. After all, that includes us too. Ultimately, these changes will pave a wider path for solutions built upon ethical data practices. And we are of the opinion that third party data providers - who supply ethically sourced data - will not only survive but thrive in this new space. Here’s why:
1st Party Data Alone Won’t Cut it
First-party data is a strategic asset for any business, however if it is the only data left to use, marketers will find that both customer acquisition and retention strategies will stall. Marketers will be limited to making data-driven decisions based on a limited knowledge of their customer’s direct behaviors, which represents a tiny fraction of available consumer data. Third party data will always prove essential to better understanding current customers and discovering new customers to drive a business forward.
Not All 3rd Party Data Requires Cookies
Data companies that rely on gathering data online and are anonymous cookie-centric - they’re probably goners. On the other hand, PII-based data providers who ethically source consumer behaviors across channels will become more valuable. Properly anonymized and protected PII will be the basis for identifying an individual and continuing to power people-based marketing. Data providers without PII will struggle to continue.
Standards & Solutions Will Evolve
Cookies were an imperfect solution that became common currency in what is now a more mature marketplace. With cookie retirement looming, new standards for privacy and universal identity management will emerge. Platform and industry groups, such as the IAB, will continue to offer leadership and solutions that meet the needs of consumers and businesses alike.
This evolution will yield a better ecosystem, higher quality data, better results for marketers, and ultimately less confusion for all sides. Marketers will continue to demand the ability to use data to drive performance and ROI, and consumers will still value the ease of targeted messaging. As the industry continues to mature in the face of these challenges, we would all benefit from a few common goals: limit hyperbole, understand the nuances of how industry players will be impacted, educate, and most importantly, continue to build trust between marketer and consumer.