Chris Ngan | The Trade Desk

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What’s next to expect when third-party cookies fade out?

Google has announced that it will discontinue the use of third-party marketing cookies by the end of 2023 in response to rising concerns about user tracking, privacy issues, and security risks. Particularly for data management platforms (DMPs) and demand-side platforms (DSPs) that rely on cookies to track user behaviour and conversions, it will become more difficult for marketers to identify, target, and measure users and generate consistent user IDs throughout the funnel.

As a result, marketers and advertisers will need to investigate new ways to attribute conversions, limit ad placement frequency, and retarget site visitors. There are alternatives to third-party cookies that can assist with online marketing efforts in order to comply with this change. Unified ID 2.0 (UID 2.0), a collaborative and open-source framework for cookieless media developed by The Trade Desk (TTD), is a new consumer-centric industry-wide approach to internet identity. It allows advertisers to anonymously match ad opportunities with their own first-party user data, while protecting consumer privacy and delivering relevant ads to users.

Google’s announcement was not surprising, and the brands and advertisers may be concerned about how to manage the new solution. And industry titans such as Procter & Gamble, Disney Advertising, and Amazon Web Services (AWS) have expressed their support for UID 2.0. We will continue to develop solutions that benefit both consumers and brands.


How should marketers/advertisers prepare for a cookieless future with different solutions out there?

First and foremost, brands and marketers must clearly define the business objectives they are pursuing, and then work with their agencies and tech partners to understand the specifics of each solution, including its benefits, limitations, and required resources. After mapping the solution to the business objective, you will likely be able to devise a plan to test these solutions with your trusted partners.


How can companies and technology providers strike the balance between data gathering and marketing strategy in light of consumers’ increasing concern over data privacy

There is no one-size-fits-all solution, as the optimal combination of first-party data and alternatives may vary considerably between brands. We recommend that brands conduct test-and-learn experiments on various targeting strategies using a platform that is, first, agnostic to all alternatives and, second, able to provide objective measurement. And lastly, provide reports with transparency and granularity so that brands can determine the optimal balance between alternatives armed with valuable insight.

Brands and marketers will need an identity solution, such as UID 2.0, to connect their first-party data to the digital ecosystem and activate it for advertising purposes, regardless of the first-party data they collect and build.


What is changing between the brands and consumers with the developments of digital privacy?

I believe it will be more important than ever for brands to establish consumer trust and create personalized, meaningful interactions using a privacy-compliant strategy. To build this trust, brands must invest more in articulating their brand’s value and establishing an emotional and psychological connection with consumers who identify with that value. In short, branding will be crucial because consumers will only remain loyal to trustworthy brands.


What approach would you suggest for advertisers to market with limited access to consumer data?

With the impending demise of third-party cookies for ad targeting, advertisers need to overhaul their advertising strategies in preparation for a shifting environment.

There are a few approaches that can help advertisers gain an advantage in dealing with limited consumer data access: 1. Implement an omnichannel strategy and leverage non-cookie-dependent channels such as CTV and DOOH. 2. Consider alternative identifiers such as UID 2.0, which is fully compliant with privacy regulations and future-proof. 3. Utilize context-based targeting. 4. Commenced building a first-party data strategy.

Through our partnership with major CDP and DMP players such as Adobe, we are able to support brands from data collection to enrichment and activation with the ideal solution.


Currently, what are you primarily looking to navigate the post-cookie environment?

As a provider of technology, we play a supporting role, while brands are in the driver’s seat. It is our responsibility to ensure that we comprehend the brand’s business objectives, needs, and pain points and to equip them with the appropriate information and technology so that they can make an informed decision about how they would like to navigate the post-cookie world.


How could a marketer sow success beyond the walled gardens of online advertising?

The walled garden is an enclosed environment which is big enough to set its own rules. Marketers can only access their properties via their proprietary technology. Marketers can put data in but it not able to take data out. The walled garden makes it impossible to compare the result with campaigns running outside of it. We’ve seen an overreliance on walled gardens in the advertising industry.

According to the eMarketer, UD Time Spent 2021 report and the OpenX, The Harris Poll 2020 report, 34% of consumers’ online time was spent in walled gardens such as Google and Facebook, but they account for 66% of ad spending. There is a clear mismatch between where brands spend money on online advertising and where people spend their time online in the digital advertising landscape of today.

Therefore, we think it’s time for marketers to consider diversifying their advertising budgets and utilizing open platform to capture opportunities in open internet where consumer spend most of their time with. By diversifying ad spending across more channels, marketers can reach consumers across various places where they are spending more time.


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