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3 things you need to do right now as we transition into a cookieless world

3 things you need to do right now as we transition into a cookieless world

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When it comes to a world without cookies, marketing will be impacted significantly as the way we prospect, remarket and measurement will all need to evolve, said Ben Chow, director of digital APAC at Hyatt Hotels Corporation at MARKETING-INTERACTIVE’s inaugural Digital Marketing Asia Hong Kong conference.

Cookies have been a marketing crutch to many players in the industry. When Google first announced plans to phase out third-party cookies in 2020 with the initial timeline set for 2022, the industry scrambled to get their act together. Seeing the mad rush, Google then delayed this to 2023 and finally set for 2024, giving both marketers and adland players a little time to get their house in order.

As 2024 looms in close, Chow said that it is important for marketers to do all they can to understand the change – especially on the measurement front which is bound to get more challenging, making revenue attribution harder.

“But one thing to note is that even today, attribution is not perfect,” he added. Depending on the nature of an industry, a customer journey’s may or may not be accurately measured. The reality is, some industries are just harder to track then others.

He added that performance marketing will also get harder to measure and marketers should resist the urge to use sales as a form of measurement for performance.

So, what can we do before third party cookies totally drop off?

1. Analyse your data

First and foremost, teams need to analyse historical performance and archive it to have a benchmark of measurement when the cookies are wiped.

“One thing you can actually do now is use your past campaign data or your website data or conversion rate, to model performance in the cookieless world,” he said. He added that when Apple implemented the app tracking transparency feature in 2021 on iOS 14.5, the brand saw a discouraging dip in performance. Thankfully, because the team was running campaigns during the period, it could easily see the difference post implementation giving a benchmark of measurement.

“That also gave us the confidence that we were actually doing the right thing. Because if we had not been running campaigns at a time, we would have been very discouraged by the much lower results,” he said.

“We took it in our stride because the change was was beyond our control, but we took that opportunity to learn and optimise our campaigns,” he added.

2. Gather more data

If you’ve had data paralysis, you’re going to have to snap out of it. Chow explained that marketers must now pay attention to the current metrics and connect the dots to the new ones when they hit.

“If you are running prospecting campaigns, look at your CTR, conversion rate and website performance driven by people. These benchmarks will be very helpful to you when we build a world without cookies, or as we transition into a world without cookies,” he said.

He added that the more granular a team is able to get with its data, the better it will be. “the more you can actually understand upfront, the more you can bridge the gap,” he said.

3. Run A/B tests

A/B testing needs to be your new best friend as you learn to test both cookie targeting and cookiesless ones and document how your campaign and products perform.

“A lot of DSPs today have already made great strides in their cookieless offering and the solutions are very robust. The performance can be enlightening and encouraging,” he said. Doing these tests early will give marketers more confidence when they enter the world without cookies and understand user behaviour better.

“At the end of the day, it's always important to look at each journey from the holistic perspective, and not just from an ad campaign or performance marketing.”

Related articles:

DMA Convo: Manulife’s Leo Lau on how to navigate the upcoming cookieless landscape
GroupM Nexus launches advertising solutions for a cookie-less future in MY

Study: APAC marketers (finally) start embracing the death of third-party cookies

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