Why We Won't Miss Cookies or Behavioral Targeting

We've been talking about cookies going away for a long time. So has everyone else. But what we haven't been talking about is how much they... suck! Now, obviously, that isn't a technical term, but stay with me. We're about to roast cookies and behavioral targeting for what they are. And that is a major pain in the neck.

Cookies were supposed to make our lives easier by remembering who we are and what we like. But instead, they've become this huge annoyance because so many companies rely on them to track our every move. Do you really want some third-party company tracking everything you do online? We sure don't.

And then there's behavioral targeting. We don't even know where to start with that mess. It seems like every time we turn around, there's a new company trying to track us. And it's not just the big guys, either. There are all these tiny little startups out there that are just as bad, if not worse.

So, what are the biggest problems in targeting and cookies?

Ad Tech targeting parameters (cookies) couldn't tell an orange from an apple if it hit them on the head.

That's right. Since most programmatic ad-tech parameters rely on past-browsing history, they're really just guessing at which type of person each browser or cookie is. Did you know that when you use just two targeting parameters - gender and age, the accuracy of targeting drops to 24%? We don't know about you, but that doesn't seem like a very great likelihood of reaching who you're targeting.

If ad-tech can't get simple demographics right, what makes advertisers think it can get interest-based targeting correct all the time. A person can browse a myriad of different topics in one day - maybe because they're interested or because their surrounding conversation lends itself to those topics, but does it mean that that person can be bucketed into that day's musings.

Just like that awkward guy at the mall kiosk selling skincare products that follows you for 7 steps too far, cookies sometimes stay with you for way too long.

They follow you around the web, showing you ads for things you just looked at on other websites. It's creepy, and it makes us not want to buy anything. Sometimes they stay with you for a bit too long. On average, a cookie's shelf life is 30 days, but how long is that cookie affable?

Oftentimes, a consumer loses interest in days, if not a week, but ads are set to follow users around for up to a month. Around 97% of those who leave your website will not convert, but websites tend to continue to follow you past the point of no return.

Smelly ad, oh smelly ad... what are they feeding you?

Some programmatic ads just aren't... good. And they often look like they've been designed by a three-year-old. If you're not careful, you can end up with some really bad ads that are just begging to be ignored.

And others are just placed so badly, that they are just begging to be screen shotted. Brand safety, like gut safety, should be treated delicately. Brands should be able to easily keep a 10-foot pole away from topics that could cause them harm. This example below is less outrageous, but still unfortunate.

It turns out that most consumers are requesting 3 simple things: They want ads that are entertaining, give product information and provide discounts or special offers. A special subset of GenZ & Millennials also rank diversity and environmental concerns higher than other generations. Compared to Boomer's 8%, 21% of Millennials care about these matters within their ads.

Just like the stranger that knocks one too many times on your bathroom stall door…cookies don’t know what privacy actually means.

Ad Tech and cookies have been accused so many times of not adhering to privacy laws and expectations; through third-party cookie audience practices gone sour and first-party cookie collection not maintaining the right permissions requesting processes.

In fact, Deloitte did a study of 197 sites across the EU, and found that 55% didn't even give a consent message regarding their cookies. Also, only 26% of sites had session cookie security set up correctly.

And often times, the cookies aren't tracked cross-device, so that leaves consumers seeing repetitive ads cross their different devices. For example, a whopping 79%, in a recent survey, said that repetitive ads on streaming services are a nuisance in their life.

Also, speaking of privacy, do you ever get served an ad that feels like it's not meant for you, but someone you know? Like someone you visited with or someone you live with? That's because many ad-servers track you based on your device cookies, but also your household blueprint. Which means, that ad server's are lumping you into audiences such as "caretaker of an elderly person," based on it's assumptions of your browsing habits plus the browsing habits of those in your household.

Are we sad about third-party cookies going away?

Let's just say we won't be going to therapy.

Third-party cookies going away means that advertisers will have to find a new way to segment and target their ads, and that way is contextual advertising. Over 49% of marketers have chimed in saying they're looking to test into contextual advertising soon. It really is, just like search ppc, an effective "right time, right place" strategy that will exist regardless of what cookie, FLOC, or topics-based targeting that comes out next.

Plus, with CatapultX, you can execute contextual video advertising with no video creatives. Check it out now!