The post-cookie approach that solves ad tech’s biggest challenges

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A cookieless solution already exists

Mass market solutions and platforms built for the biggest budgets won’t cut it for brands that need to granularly target real people as cost-effectively as possible. 

Soon, only crumbs will be left in the ad tech cookie jar. All the bakers are shutting down. A few attempts were made to produce a product that was better for us but in the end? A cookie’s a cookie. 

It’s actually somewhat impressive how half-heartedly big and small ad tech players alike have tried to create a viable cookie alternative. This is in spite of the IAB sounding the alarm bells about the dire need for a post-cookie solution. 

For some, it’s probably evident that the value isn’t there, the privacy protection isn’t there and, ultimately, the agency or brand customer that actually wants to use such an alternative isn’t there. 

The unfortunate truth is that it’s really hard to create a clean solution that falls on the right side of privacy requirements, isn’t riddled with bots and fraud, attaches to a real person, and remains cost-effective. 

That’s probably why the biggest of the big tech players like Google have abandoned anything remotely cookie-like and are resorting to contextual approaches. 

In other words, “oh you browsed for a baseball glove, you must be a sports fan, we’ll serve you sports ads.” 

Or, “you’re reading an article about women’s health issues, you must be a woman, so here’s a product for women!”

Does it work? Sometimes. Especially for mass market products. In fact, it harkens back to broadcast advertising in the 1950s. Soap operas were generally watched by women, so big household products manufacturers would advertise their dish soaps, cooking items, and whatnot to this audience. 

Again, sometimes it works. And of course, publishers today have gotten very granular with content. So have cable networks. 

There have also been technological improvements. 

McKinsey has an informative post up about the commerce media trend transforming advertising. So-called retail media networks (RMNs), are third-party ad platforms retailers set up on their websites. This is potentially a $1.3T opportunity. But in reality, only the biggest players will have the advantage here. 

There are a zillion products and services competing for attention across what sometimes feels like just as many mediums. 

These consumers are savvy, conditioned to ignore anything that doesn’t feel 100% up their alley, and being carefully targeted by other brands competing for attention. 

Not being able to run cross-platform campaigns that can take consumers on a buying journey is a loss. So is misfiring ads that have nothing to do with their actual interests or buying behavior. Not being able to manage attribution to understand what’s working and what’s not spells disaster for ROI and cost efficiencies. 

We also know that these Big Tech mass-market ad platform efforts can be riddled with fraud and bots. Many years on since the advent of digital marketing and we continue to see settlements, mea culpas, and third-party analysis showing that what brands or agencies paid for is not always what they received. 

Brands and advertisers can’t live in a land of maybes. Every dollar needs to work hard for them, especially with CPMs going up, up, up. 

PII is your post-cookie solution

We believe approaches based on personally identifiable information (PII) are the answer. 

They are a giant leap beyond cookies because they are based on actual people, not digital personas. That means you know who you’re talking to at all times. 

PII approaches fall on the right side of privacy and ethics because they are opt-in and not based on any sensitive information that can be damaging if ever hacked or leaked. (e.g., financial, health info, etc.). Simply, PII understands buying preferences and behaviors, accurate contact info, and general location to help drastically improve effectiveness. 

Because you know you’re talking to an actual person, the risk of fraud or being overwhelmed by bots is staggeringly low. You can also deduplicate files to ensure you’re never blasting different messages to the same individual. 

PII is the most elegant path forward from cookies as it solves all of the challenges that cookies couldn’t, namely waste, cost inefficiency, and digital privacy issues. 

It works for any budget because of the granularity, meaning any brand or agency can capitalize on its power and not worry about getting squeezed out by all the majors and the solutions catering to them. 

And it is so much more effective than what Big Tech is trying to sell to the masses. Because it understands the consumer and doesn’t simply make inferences about what a generic person browsing the web may like. 

Drop us a line so we can talk more about whether a PII-based approach could finally be the cookieless solution that fulfills your brand needs.

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