How to Put Marketers in a Better Position for the Retirement of Third-Party Cookies

Chris Hogg, Global Head of Platform Sales at Lotame

A Q&A with Chris Hogg, Global Head of Platform Sales at Lotame

By R. Larsson, Advertising Week 

Q: Why must marketers be more bullish on proactive testing of privacy-first identity solutions if they want to deliver both now and in the future?

Digital advertising is getting more challenging and intentionally so. Whether it’s changing privacy regulations, loss of third-party cookies or walled gardens, marketers face more and more roadblocks to engaging their customers. As if this isn’t enough, ongoing supply chain issues, inflation and fears of a recession risk spooking brands into tightening their budgets.

Google keeps kicking the can down the road on retiring third-party cookies but it’s merely prolonging what is an adapt-or-die moment for marketers. Why must marketers be testing privacy-first ID solutions? Because their future depends on it.

Some have hunkered down with their first-party data, but few will be able to survive on that alone. What if you’re not a direct-to-consumer brand or have limited authenticated data? If you do have a wealth of authenticated data, how are you going to find and reach new customers? These are real problems, exacerbated by economic conditions that marketers can’t control.

Cookieless identity solutions like Lotame Panorama ID work today and they’ll work tomorrow when third-party cookies are gone. We’ve demonstrated its success with both first-party data and third-party data while ensuring the privacy of consumers is protected.

Q: Why does collaboration hold the answer to the cookieless future?

If there is one certainty in digital advertising, it’s that change is inevitable. As seen with Google replacing FLoC with Topics, marketers occupy a dynamic landscape that shows no sign of slowing down. Unfortunately, instead of joining forces to face the turmoil, ID vendors have turned on each other.

Currently, they are stuck in a circular standoff claiming, ‘my privacy is better than your privacy!’ Everyone who has a solution wants to say theirs is the only one that works when there is an urgent need for everyone in the industry to work together.

Put down your arms! Identity vendors and publishers, we need to collaborate to help marketers meet their full funnel needs and make the most of their heavily scrutinised budgets, whilst helping consumers regain control of their data.

The result would be a more efficient ecosystem benefitting from rich, actionable, privacy-first consumer data. This will meet the needs of today’s market far beyond the capabilities of legacy cookie-based platforms. Agencies acting as intermediaries between publishers and brands and advocating for data technology plans that can benefit both parties will also be vital for the establishment and success of this new ecosystem.

I look forward to never having to hear about third-party cookies again, so that we can focus on the future: an ecosystem where all players can unite to activate consented data and audiences when, where, and how they choose.

Q: How can companies effectively collect, manage, and make the most of data to understand who their customers are, where they are, and what they want, going forward?

It depends on the type of marketer and the sector they’re in. An ecommerce site with a marketing mix based entirely on activating first-party data can leverage a customer data platform (CDP) to build loyalty and retain customers. But how will they find their next best customer and link the advertising use case to the marketing one?

Addressing these unknown audiences will be the biggest challenge over the next few years. CDPs can’t help here, unless they are powered up with complementary tools that can add to or expand existing data by uniting the marketing and advertising use cases. Don’t forget about prospecting and the power of unknown users who visit your site but haven’t converted — there’s a wealth of information there for your acquisition.

If you’re not flush in first-party data, are you out of luck? Certainly not. While you won’t be able to extract much value from a CDP, you can learn a lot about customers through your advertising campaigns and then mining and modelling that data for prospecting. Even if you are starting your marketing mix from scratch today, the right tools will deliver the data to build a sustainable, long-term plan. The only thing you can’t do at the moment is nothing.