Yes, the death of third-party cookies has been delayed. No, savvy brands shouldn’t procrastinate and just wait to see what happens. It’s time to act!
Adapt or die. As a marketer, you’ve heard this message time and again—and rightly so. The digital media landscape has been undergoing massive transformation for years. New privacy laws have come into force; big tech players are changing data usage rules. Then along came the Covid-19 pandemic, fundamentally changing customer engagement as we know it.
It’s understandable, then, that Google’s delay of third-party cookie deprecation from 2022 to late 2023 came as a welcome—if not entirely unexpected—reprieve.
Truth is, we’re all exhausted with the shifting goalposts. And active campaigns need tending to, today. Many marketers have chosen to hit pause on planning for imminent digital change. To embrace the comforting lull of procrastination. To wait and leave it to chance.
Indecision or decisive action? The choice is yours
There are two schools of thought on procrastination. Some people (the proactively minded types) tend to look down on dilly-dalliers. Prolific novelist Janet Dailey is known for saying, “Someday is not a day of the week.”
Others accept that procrastination is a fact of life. Mystery writer Rita Mae Brown famously mused, “If it weren’t for the last minute, nothing would get done.”
Whatever your take on procrastination, the truth is that modern brands can’t afford to just wait and see what happens as changes unfold. The third-party cookie ban is coming, not to mention the ripple effect of Apple’s App Tracking Transparency (ATT) updates and new data legislation.
Savvy brands will make good use of extra time granted by Google’s delay to lay down a rock-solid data foundation for what’s coming next. And we can help them. Our message is simply this: Let’s use this time wisely.
Third-party cookies are dead—long live first-party data
Possibly the greatest challenge brands face in a post-cookie world will be a lack of visibility. The free flow of information (from publisher to advertiser) will grind to a halt when Chrome blocks cookies. In addition, add in a new blind spot on exposure data at the individual level, and we’ll just see how deeply third-party cookies have become embedded in the “digisphere” (and why we need a new approach).
But here’s the thing. The death of cookies is not something to mourn. Rather, it sets a clear line in the sand, nudging brands urgently toward new opportunities to better leverage first- party data.
Build your roadmap to digital resilience
At Acxiom, we’ve identified the three keys to digital resilience: data, identity and trust. Brands that want to not just survive but thrive will need to become experts at all three. And the brands that are successful can actually transform this digital uncertainty into competitive advantage.
Brands already know that understanding customers is crucial if they want to reach them in meaningful, helpful ways. This requires building a firm data strategy and managing data effectively, which is the cornerstone of a brand’s future digital resilience.
Implementing a first-party data and identity strategy is the next step forward. And the red thread throughout? Building unshakable trust. Privacy compliance is at the forefront of first- party future success, with respect and transparency the new customer mantra.
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