The advertising industry’s use of personal data for targeting purposes has gotten a lot of attention recently. GDPR, CCPA, and a flurry of browser-level changes to cookie usage have forced marketers to rethink how they reach consumers online. These developments hasten the cookie’s demise.
However, it appears that most vendors and marketers are looking for workarounds in order to maintain the same hyper-targeted targeting that cookies have helped to make the norm.
However, one major question remains: Has this ever been the most effective method of reaching out to audiences? The old advertising model relied heavily on context to serve ads to relevant consumers.
However, as the number of third-party data providers and cookie-based segments has increased in tandem with the growth of digital advertising (particularly programmatic buying, which involves real-time identification and targeting), so has the number of third-party data providers and cookie-based segments.
Cookies, which were originally designed to improve a user’s browsing experience, have evolved into tools for advertisers to better understand user behaviour and purchases.
Cookies have always been an imperfect solution with a relatively short lifespan, and their usability has declined as new devices and formats have gained popularity with advertisers. However, these are not the issues that have prompted the industry to seek alternatives as quickly as possible.
Consumer privacy and trust have been the driving forces, with recent scandals such as Facebook’s involvement with Cambridge Analytica shining a light on the need for regulation around how consumer data is tracked and used (like GDPR and CCPA).