Let The Cookies Burn — Google's Third-Party Cookie Ban + How to Advertise without Cookies

Cookies are the vehicle which help websites keep track of your visits and activity. According to some accounts, browser cookies have been around and used on the web for the better part of 25 years. Evolving from innocent session cookies, to more “useful” persistent cookies which naturally grew into third party cookies. However, as time went on cookies started going bad.

Why Cookies Are Going Stale

The European GDPR ruling followed quickly by California’s law seemed to be the last straw forcing publishers to opt-in to being tracked. Even that hasn’t gone very smoothly as most companies are still not in compliance. It has gotten so bad that the US Justice Department is threatening to treat them as wiretaps and go after some of the biggest players in the tech industry.

Google finally declared January of 2020 that they would be no longer supporting cookies within its browser which sent a clear message to the industry that things have to change. (Then the world went sideways for the next 7 months. Coincidence?) Shortly afterwards, they announced a new technology called “trust tokens” to replace cookie techniques.

In March of 2021, Google turned back on that statement with a quote from David Temkin stating "Today, we’re making explicit that once third-party cookies are phased out, we will not build alternate identifiers to track individuals as they browse across the web, nor will we use them in our products."

Now is the perfect time to go on a diet. Maybe it’s time to stop baking cookies for the advertising cookie jar. Contextual advertising is next up on the menu.

How The Cookieless World Will Affect Advertising

Do we really need to know who the user is in order for advertising to be useful? Most people bounce around to different interests and topics, and the practice of tracking them from site to site has been the subject of many consumer concerns and complaints.

The pure purpose of using user data for advertising is to present potential viewers with products with which they may actually be interested. The benefit has been a high-level of targeted advertising for the purpose of not wasting time or money selling to people who may not be interested. However removing cookies, can actually allow advertisers to be in a similar place while differentiating themselves from competition, at least for the smart marketers. It will force more contextual marketing with their media purchase vs blasting for “brand awareness” only.

73% of consumers felt that contextually relevant ads (ads that relate to the content being shown) complemented their video-viewing experience.

Take movie theater advertisements for example. If the movie about to be played is a “G” rated animated cartoon, what ads should run?

  • Products that appeal to parents with small children.
  • Entertainment options that would appeal to children.
  • Products that are “child-safe” or marketed towards younger adults who are parents.
  • Ads for The Minions #12 — or the next greatest children’s movie
family watching a movie at a movie theater

What you’re NOT going to advertise prior to a kids film is an “R” rated horror movie, cars that don’t have at least at four seats and alcohol. They simply are not contextually relevant.

Similarly with web content and specifically video, if the basic premise of the video is understood, it can be assumed that the viewer is interested in the content.

Outside of terrible training videos at work, people sit and pay attention to videos they actually like, and will not tolerate watching videos they don’t.

If viewers are interested and enjoy what they are watching, Ipso facto, they will be more receptive to advertisements that are contextually relevant and directly related to the content.

So much more receptive, in fact, that consumers said they were 83% more likely to purchase the product when served a contextual ad. What this really means is that the creative shop for the advertisers, whether in-house or agency, needs to prepare a wider array of imagery and copy that would not only appeal to their potential customers, but also be contextually relevant to the ad platforms and websites that they are on.

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Putting people in a box with what you could call a “cookie cutter approach” was good for the time that it existed. Contextual, On-Stream™ advertising, especially in light of privacy concerns and the advent of new technologies, is as effective, if not better for the viewer.

Interested in learning more about how to shift your advertising strategy to be more contextual and survive in a cookieless world? Get in touch with CatapultX.

Founded in 2019, CatapultX is an AI-based platform at the forefront of innovative video marketing. Serving contextually relevant video ads that don’t interfere with consumer experience, CatapultX brings a profitable, engaging and enjoyable experience to publishers, advertisers and audiences. If you are interested in expanding the profitability of your content or building a more robust advertising portfolio, reach out to us at info@catapultx.com or set up a meeting with someone from our sales team.