Blogs 'Smart Cookie' Alternatives for Targeted Advertising Without Cookies

Written by Paula Chiocchi on 2021-03-24

 

The way digital advertisers target and reach buyers is changing. Increased privacy regulations, with new and frequently changing guidelines, have led to many browsers phasing out third-party tracking cookies. Google also announced earlier this month that it will not offer alternative identifiers to track individual consumers online.

 

While third-party cookies weren’t a perfect system – they indicate a person’s action (such as visiting a website), without knowing who they are or their motivation – this is a major departure from how most digital advertisers have run campaigns for the past two decades. How everything will play out is unclear, but one thing is certain: marketers need to evaluate their options for a cookie-less world. Here’s are five alternatives digital marketers are exploring:

 

  1. First-Party Data

Without the use of third-party tracking cookies, many companies are turning to their own first-party data to support ad campaigns. First-party data is comprised of a company’s own customer data along with data on prospects developed directly by the company, such as leads from trade shows and other sources. This data is hugely important, but it comes with its own challenges:

  • It doesn’t have the reach to target individuals who are in-market but have not engaged with your company as a prospect or customer.
  • Data is often spread throughout various channels or different vendors within a business process. Customer data platforms (CDPs) offer a solution by collecting and organizing data from a variety of sources including CRMs, surveys, account activity and privacy preferences.
  • With increased awareness of data privacy, prospects are less likely to freely share their data. There needs to be trust and a fair value exchange – such as receiving content or access – for buyers to share elements of their identity and contact information.
  • Increased and changing privacy regulations – such as GDPR in Europe and state laws in California, Maine and Nevada – make it difficult to ensure all guidelines are met and consumers give proper consent for data use.

 

First-party data is a good start – but it doesn’t have the scale to reach the level of targeting and personalization today’s B2B buyers expect.

 

  1. Contextual Advertising

In a “classic” advertising model, contextual digital advertising targets audiences based on a number of actions or conditions, such as their location (using geolocation tracking), a website visit, the use of search terms, a mobile app, or subscribed conten--like an email newsletter. Think ads for diapers on a baby parenting website or beer on a fantasy football forum. This type of targeting allows you to reach an audience with an offer related to what they’re viewing, but without data about the individual the ad could be irrelevant, and it doesn’t offer a practical way to follow up with them on their interest at a later time.

 

  1. Cohorts Based on Behavior

Many are trying to find a solution for addressability and tracking in light of privacy concerns. One answer is Google’s Federated Learning of Cohorts (FLoC), which uses machine learning to build cohorts based on behavioral patterns of individuals. The advertiser can see that an individual user is part of a cohort that’s demonstrated interest, but it doesn’t reveal other details about the individual’s behavior.

 

  1. IP Address Tracking & Lookup

Internet Protocol (IP) address tracking is rising as a viable alternative to cookies. IP address data can be used to identify targets through monitoring online activities, such as website visits, content downloads, product reviews and more. With an IP lookup tool, the detected IP address can be matched to an IP registry database to identify the company. Then, using high-quality business contact data, you can match individual contact information to the correct decision-maker within the company. This combination allows digital marketers to pinpoint relevant individual contacts and re-target their marketing with that information.

 

  1. People-based Identity Solutions

New people-based identity solutions are gaining traction for their ability to connect online and offline data while maintaining consumer privacy and transparency. Identity graphs are a key component of this new breed of people-focused platforms, pulling data from multiple sources, some that have profiles in the hundreds of millions. They include multiple identifiers per person, such as name, address, email address, phone numbers and devices, for a full picture of the prospect. As an example, OMI’s specialized SMB and medical market data of 50 million-plus records is available in the LiveRamp Data Marketplace.

 

To ensure data privacy, anonymized IDs are then built within the identity graph and securely taken to a demand-side platform (DSP) to deliver the ads. Advertisers can build custom audiences that tightly align with their offers and engage more effectively with them. Combined with intent insights matched to contact data, this option can close the loop for digital marketers to reach the right targets, at the right time, on the right device.

 

There’s definitely a lot to consider when planning how to transition your advertising in a cookie-less world. And since consumer expectations for personalized experiences are increasing, it’s important that whatever option or combination you choose is a step forward for your customer and prospect experience. 

 

In my opinion, adopting a people-based mindset and an approach that can create seamless experiences across devices and channels is more important than ever. Thankfully, smart solutions like IP address matching and identity graphs can actually give marketers and advertisers even more power and greater pinpoint accuracy when it comes to reaching the right prospects for their offers. Let us know how we can support you in navigating this new landscape.

 

Outward Media’s proven data cleansing services and targeted, accurate B2B data can enable you to achieve better digital marketing ROI and, ultimately, convert more prospects into customers. Go here to find out about leveraging our SMB and medical market data on the LiveRamp Data Marketplace.

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