Navigating the Cookieless Future: A Paradigm Shift in Digital Advertising

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The Adtech landscape is undergoing a significant transformation with the impending demise of third-party cookies. Google finally committed to depreciating 1% of 3rd party cookies in Chrome in the first quarter of 2024 and fully by September 2024, the industry is bracing for a cookie-less future.  

This shift, however, presents a unique opportunity for innovation and adaptation. Rather than viewing this as a crisis, it is important to shift the discussion away from cookies - simply the mechanism - and instead concentrate on use cases and outcomes 

In this blog, we discuss the role of persistent identifiers, the effectiveness of contextual targeting, interoperable universal IDs and the increased application of IP addresses. These key themes are at the forefront of shaping the future of activation, where user privacy takes centre stage in data and audience strategies. 

Interoperable Universal IDs 

As we say goodbye to third-party cookies, it becomes important to find a trustworthy and privacy-friendly way to figure out who's who online. That's where interoperable universal IDs come in; think of them as the new superglue for digital advertising. 

Unlike cookies, which only work on certain browsers and for a limited time period, these IDs work everywhere. They're a commonality that advertisers, publishers and platforms can understand. 

The Role of Persistent Identifiers 

Given a more permanent nature, persistent identifiers (PIDs) have always been more effective than cookies for digital advertising. These identifiers, based on deterministic data, provide a stable foundation for building user profiles and understanding behaviour. 

Advertising is about reaching the right audience at the right time with the right message. PIDs, such as mobile advertising IDs (MAIDs) and hashed email addresses (HEMs), enable advertisers to achieve this across multiple channels.  

Cookies identify a browser when PIDs work at a deterministic, individual level. This means you can identify people, adding intelligence such as app usage, core demographics, offline data and contextual insight. These identifiers allow advertisers to connect with the right audience without relying on cookies. 

The Power of Contextual Targeting 

As third-party cookies deteriorate, contextual targeting is experiencing a renaissance. This means that instead of targeting based on historic browser behaviour, advertisers can understand engaging content. By analysing the page-level URLs and understanding the context in which users engage with content, advertisers can pinpoint audiences with precision. People see relevant ads that make sense, generating more attention and response. 

Contextual targeting is more than just a replacement for cookies. It's a smart way for advertisers to extend where cookies could never reach, opening up highly cost-effective inventory. When combining PIDs with contextual insights, you can predict where new customers may engage. Consider this predictive power leveraging contextual extension, delivering prospecting campaigns with accuracy and reach. 

Embracing IP Address-Based Solutions 

Cookies do not provide reach into Safari and Firefox. In the cookie-less future, IP addresses are stepping up. Acting as an effective way to stitch together insights on users, IP addresses allow marketers to better understand people-based data and households. They do this within privacy regulations such as GDPR. Around 40% of bidstream data contains IP addresses from Chrome. The extent is even higher for Firefox and Safari. IP address reach may surpass that of traditional cookies. By integrating IP addresses into activation criteria, advertisers can expand their reach in a privacy-conscious manner as more activation platforms use IP addresses as a means of delivering relevant digital advertising. 

Zeotap's Preparedness through Persistent Identifiers, Universal ID and Contextual Extension 

At Zeotap, our core mission is centered on Identity Resolution, utilizing people-based data powered by persistent IDs. Through collaboration with leading mobile telecom data partners, we acquire MAIDs and hashed email addresses, complementing with Universal IDs. Our data spectrum encompasses behavioral insights from app usage data, factual deterministic data, IP addresses and offline data, all meticulously interconnected within our proprietary ID Graph.  

It is important to highlight that our focus on creating a universal user profile prioritises Persistent IDs, with cookies contributing just a part of the identity we. Built in Germany for GDPR and market-leading privacy, working exclusively with 100% consented user data, our entire process adheres to stringent compliance standards. Zeotap Data is designed for accuracy and scale without compromising on privacy.  

With over 500 million unique IDs refreshed daily for fidelity and accuracy, Zeotap Data presents audiences in the universally recognisable IAB 1.1 segmentation, accommodating all leading advertising sectors and accessible through every top-tier programmatic and social platform. We lead the European market for validated demographics and deliver campaign success with unmatched client service excellence. 

At Zeotap, we believe in a fair value exchange that prioritises consumer privacy, advertisers and publishers alike. Our focus is on encouraging new identity solutions to link consumers across the ecosystem, with Universal IDs playing a crucial role. Zeotap ID+, connects advertisers, publishers and consumers through shared, persistent identifiers based on real people. For advertisers, it is designed to deliver addressability and performance without third-party cookies. For publishers, it offers a sustainable advertising revenue to preserve free content for consumers.  

We support open trading initiatives, including a range of universal IDs and have designed Zeotap ID+ to interact with all ecosystem UID partners. The goal is for Zeotap ID+ to help safeguard the future of identity and addressability as third-party cookies decline. We believe marketers who are transitioning beyond a cookie-dependent world are preparing to better support consumers in the future.  

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Combining people-based data with persistent identifiers enables us to comprehensively understand a user's actions in various contexts and environments that cookies may not reach. For Contextual Extension, Zeotap overlaps 1st or U IDs with page-level URLs, creating unique web content profiles based on user engagement. These profiles allow us to target similar environments for prospecting campaigns. Page-level URL recommendations are dynamically ranked based on real-time campaign data. This empowers agencies and advertisers to identify high-engagement pages and intelligently scale their campaigns. 

Advertisers' Preparedness for the Future 

In this transitional phase, advertisers and agencies are still making good use of the reach offered by third-party cookies. Our purpose is to build, sell and service the most effective audiences in digital advertising using data-driven approaches and privacy-first solutions. 

Interoperable universal IDs, persistent identifiers, contextual targeting and IP address-based solutions are the building blocks of effective audiences post-cookie. They enable advertisers to navigate the future while delivering privacy-first, personalised experiences to users. This is the beginning of a new era without a cookie in sight.