The cookie has been "dying" for so long at this point, it’s easy to get complacent and assume it’s not going to happen. Well, according to Google, it very much is happening. And soon. That means you need to put your plans for a cookieless future into high gear.
Google recently reported that they will disable third-party cookies for 1% of Chrome users in Q1 2024, officially migrating them to the Privacy Sandbox and into a cookie-free world. For those keeping score, 1% of Chrome users equals about 26.5 million people. So we’re talking about a sizable chunk of users becoming unreachable via traditional behavioral targeting methods.
Google says it is still on track for full cookie deprecation—going cookie free for all 2.65 billion Chrome users worldwide—by the second half of 2024. And this, of course, is on top of the 18.84% of users and 2.93% of users who use Safari and Firefox respectively, who are also largely unreachable via cookies.
This means that all digital marketers, publishers, and app developers that rely on third-party cookie data from Google Chrome must find alternative solutions in the coming months. And, to maintain their current level of efficacy, these solutions need to be able to manage both cross-site engagement and attribution.
Unfortunately, some 41% of respondents to a recent MediaPost survey indicated that they are only moderately—or not at all–familiar with targeting methods other than the ones leveraging identifiers like third party cookies.
If you are part of that 41%, now is the time to start experimenting and testing various cookieless targeting signals to figure out which ones are going to be important for your business.
The importance of context-based page signals in a cookie-free world
Contextual advertising is one of the most promising techniques for targeting users without the use of behavioral data. This type of targeting works by serving internet users with targeted advertising based on terms they’ve recently entered into search engines or content they’ve recently browsed.
Contextual targeting uses technologies like Peer39 to understand various page factors like the content of a page, URL, page layout, and quality in addition to contextual signals like postal code and local weather. They then process and classify that page in real time using an aggregate of applicable page signals, helping to determine if a specific ad is suitable for that audience. This, of course, is based on the targeting inputs specified by the advertiser.
Through a platform like Peer39, advertisers can access hundreds of unique pre-bid data sources from partners like Experian, NewsGuard and Social Context. Advertisers can use these contextual categories to either target or exclude specific user segments based on a wide variety of contextual parameters, without the need for behavioral data.
With this contextual data, advertisers can activate and experiment with targeting various audiences through all major DSPs, such as:
- Credibility rating
- News trustworthiness
- Weather analytics
- Purchase affinity
- Emotional targeting
By leveraging these contextual categories, advertisers are able to plan and test sustainable targeting tactics and achieve greater accuracy over time, without the need for any behavioral data.
Targeting is obviously an important capability for cookie-free advertising. But analytics and reporting will be equally as critical in helping advertisers maximize their campaign performance and optimize spend.
Leverage Peer39’s analytics to track page signal performance
Ensuring transparency around which contextual categories are performing best is critical. Just as behavioral targeting requires transparency into the performance of specific behavioral groups, contextual targeting necessitates the ability to track performance by content type, contextual category, and page signal.
Attention , for example, is a page signal that should be a major focus for advertisers already. This is the proxy for effectiveness and performance metrics in a cookie-free world, and will tell advertisers if their ads are being placed in a good environment, and whether or not people are engaged. This, of course, is critical knowledge to ensure that targeting and spend strategies can be optimized. Peer39 offers an attention pre-bid category that can help advertisers control their ad spend based on the amount and type of attention that targeted content inventory received.
Finding a partner with this level of granularity and transparency into the efficacy of cookie-free targeting parameters is critical when pivoting to cookie-free targeting. This should be at the top of every advertisers list to ensure continuity in their advertising efforts, and that they have the transparency required to maximize their campaign performance in 2024 and beyond.
Ready to start experimenting with page signals and contextual categories? Contact us today to get started.