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Before long, third-party cookie tracking won't be an option for brands, advertisers, and the platforms they leverage. In part, this is a result of regulations like Apple's iOS14 update, the European Union's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), and more. However, there are other factors, part of a large web of cause and effect, that have moved the industry toward this change for some time. For example, the accelerated growth of eCommerce and the subsequent need to protect the privacy of consumers. Or, this could be an effort to more strictly regulate major tech companies. Regardless, Code3 believes personalized ads and privacy can coexist. Continue reading to learn what a world without third-party cookies means and how to prepare for the inevitable disruption.

The Impact of a Cookieless Landscape 

At a high level, when the ability to track third-party cookies is eliminated, advertisers won't be able to leverage the amount and types of data they're used to. While this could be a challenge, advertisers with the ability to scale and leverage first-party data will be less affected. But, before focusing on the possibility of a negative impact, we encourage advertisers to keep a healthy perspective. Doing so requires knowledge and remembering regulation can be an accelerator for innovation. 

With that said, brands and marketers will likely have to adapt their approach and reconsider how they measure and target. After all, digital marketing is often one of the biggest expenses for D2C brands. And, with the loss of signal, visibility, and the length of measurement windows, justifying marketing dollars will be a greater challenge. Then, from an advertising perspective, those that rely on metrics like brand-lift or sales-lift will be most heavily impacted.

We share more about Apple iOS14, specifically, and how to navigate changes in this guide.

Cookieless Tracking Systems Will Continue to Emerge 

To elaborate on the anticipation for innovation, The Trade Desk has already developed a solution known as Unified ID 2.0. Also, one of our clients has even taken it upon themselves to build their own data and segmentation platform. In addition to these examples, we expect more brands and companies to follow suit to make up for the loss of third-party cookies. Not to mention, most of the platforms we work with at Code3 are likely on a path to their own solution. 

With this, developing alternative measurement capabilities could take years. And it will take even longer to fine-tune and provide widespread access to these solutions. However, given the state of the digital marketing and advertising industries, there’s no time to use a wait-and-see approach. Meanwhile, advertisers that leverage identity-based audiences, and other audience features, will be ahead of the curve.

Strategic Partnerships are More Important than Ever 

As mentioned, tech platforms and social media giants likely have the answers and are developing the next phase of advertising. And they will be working with agency partners like Code3 to communicate and integrate whatever is coming next. When the time comes, our teams will work with platform partners to ensure clients can readily adapt and succeed. 

Those without a strategic partnership or an agency are at risk of rushing to a quick fix. It's not unlikely companies will use this as an opportunity to claim they can offer a cross-channel resolution. Remember, regardless of the solution, applying and practicing it on all platforms will be a massive undertaking. And it will take a village rather than simple software or tech integration.

The Code3 Advantage

As mentioned, Code3 is actively engaged in conversations with our platform partners to ensure we’re supporting our clients with the latest and most relevant insights. And our focus always comes back to the core disciplines of media, creative, and commerce. Insight derived from this communication allows our clients to remain consistent and agile amid the evolving landscape and customer journey. Alternatively, those leveraging a mix of in-house and outsourced resources could struggle to keep up. Or, having disjointed efforts could make it more likely for something important to fall through the cracks.

Final Thoughts 

Whatever works best for your brand from an advertising perspective, lean into it. This will be crucial to keep moving forward since the timing and implications of a cookieless landscape are unknown. Until we have more information, it's not worth making any major changes or trying to prepare without concrete information. 

Should you need support navigating the loss of third-party cookie tracking, please reach out. We're here to answer any questions. 

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