How do we prepare for a post third-party cookie era?

“Companies need to do their utmost to comply with the law while using data for advertising related purposes.” – IAB Europe’s 2021 Third-Party Cookies Guide

As digital marketers approaching a post third-party cookie era, we increasingly have to contend with legal restrictions on data capture, increasingly sophisticated adblocking technologies and browser gatekeeping in light of the current shift away from capturing third-party cookies. IAB Europe’s 2021 Third-Party Cookies Guide reports that 94% of consumers highly value their online data privacy when browsing content, and this demand for privacy and security is increasingly being met by browsers seeking to leverage their privacy tools against their competitors.

“Companies are proactively offering increased privacy protections, as a competitive advantage.” – Adobe Tech Blog, 2019 

Web Browser Market Share in the EU

  • Google Chrome – 60%
  • Firefox Mozilla-  13.5*% (*= 25% in Germany)
  • Apple Safari – 9.7%

Google’s Chrome represents 60% of the EU web browser market share for desktop and mobile devices; Google plans to phase out support for third-party cookies by 2022. 

Firefox follows at 13.5% of the EU market share (but represents 25% of the share in Germany), and similarly, has introduced Enhanced Tracking Protection (ETP) which blocks tracking site cookies and calls to tracking sites. 

Apple’s Safari represents 9.7% of the EU web browser market, and their ‘Intelligent Tracking Prevention’ (ITP) uses machine learning to block third-party tracking cookies; what this effectively means for advertisers on IOS systems is that all client-side first-party cookies expire after 24 hours. Microsoft Tracking Prevention (MTP) on Microsoft Edge similarly prevents fingerprinting online, so it is evident that the future of digital marketing and advertising lies in maximising first-party data.

In addition to the legal and technological barriers to capturing third-party information, according to IAB’s Third-Party Cookie Guide, 62% of consumers say they would stop using brands if they advertise in harmful environments. 

IAB Europe’s recommendations for marketers

As the digital advertising world becomes increasingly more challenging to navigate, now is the time for digital marketers to really leverage their first party data and Adtech solutions. IAB Europe recommends that digital advertisers:

  • Maximise their use of first-party data 
  • Utilise contextual targeting solutions
  • Use data to drive media decisions and avoid brand-unsafe environments
  • Explore user demographics on cookieless app and tablet browsers 
  • Invest in better real-time measurement against objectives with tech partners

Contextual and behavioural targeting solutions

Digital marketers must find ways to better leverage the first-party data they have, and they will also need to use contextual intelligence solutions such as AdTonos’ Sandstorm SDK on mobile gaming applications. 

Here at AdTonos, it’s all about reaching the right audience on the right platform for them, or as IAB’s report puts it “engaging the right audience in the right context”. Mobile Advertising IDs (MAIDs), unlike cookies, are identifiers provided by a mobile device’s operating system, transparently designed to facilitate digital advertising. Our Sandstorm SDK provides in-game ads, intermission ads and reward audio ads with first party data and behaviour insights, allowing publishers to generate new revenues from world-class brands.

Not only does this approach benefit from operating on mobile devices that have largely operated in cookie-free ways – even prior to the introduction of GDPR and CCPA legislation – it is tapping into an area of fast growth, with 3.2 billion mobile game players forecasted by the end of 2023, and predicted ad revenues of $56 billion by 2024. Mobile gaming platforms are much more brand safe and less likely to display ads that are unsuitable for gaming environments, and as players play mobile games, they are ideally situated and more likely to pay attention to adverts, thus promising a greater ROI. Research by TapJoy reveals that 64% of consumers are more likely to engage with a retail in-app rewarded ad than a social media sponsored post. 

Consumers on mobile gaming platforms typically tend to be more open to making purchases, and personally identifiable data isn’t generally necessary when capturing information about a user’s behavioural habits. In particular, mobile game players typically respond more positively to rewarded audio ads, whereby users receive a game bonus for every ad viewed, providing an incentive to watch our ads without negatively impacting their user experience or our user retention rates. As of 23 November 2021, we recorded 609 million global playouts of in-game audio ads a month; in addition to compliance with legislation around privacy, our consumer-centric approach to marketing campaigns or ‘mindset-marketing’ tailored to the personal hobbies and interests of mobile gamers demonstrates the serious potential to generate revenue – without need of third-party cookies.

Rather than trying to replicate or find a ‘work around’ for third-party cookies, it’s critical for advertisers and publishers to gain maximum value from first party data derived from direct to consumer touch points as well as to diversify their activity beyond the proprietary platforms. In doing so, they will realise the power they already wield to successfully reach their customers wherever they are consuming content and monetise their inventory on the open internet in this next evolution of advertising.” – IAB Europe’s 2021 Third-Party Cookies Guide

Another pertinent question posed in IAB’s guide is: are you using a contextual partner to help you automate segments in real-time?

Now more than ever, it is crucial to form partnerships with publishers, networks and Adtechs to match passive exposure to data from survey respondents.

Learn more in IAB’s updated Third-Party Cookie guide here.