Third-party cookies have generally run the internet in the past several years: they collect data about search histories, locations, browsers, and a lot of other stuff that you probably never even knew they collected. And aggregated. And sold to advertisers. And now that they’re going away, a lot of the advertising tactics we’ve grown accustomed to in the past 20+ years are at stake.
But not all of them. Publishers and B2B media are still the best way to find a targeted, in-market audience. Owned media audiences—the visitors to your sites that you can identify—and publishers who can claim owned audiences will still find the right buyers at the right time, even in a cookieless world. These sites know their audiences because they work with them every day, and they will be instrumental in getting your content in front of the right people at the right time come the cookie-mageddon.
The Change is coming for your advertising
Google says that cookies, and the data they collect and aggregate across a searcher’s entire browser history, have led to an “erosion of trust.”
In addition to blocking third-party cookies from working in their Chrome browser, the internet search engine and advertising giant has facilitated what they call the Privacy Sandbox, a place for advertising technologists, publications, and privacy advocates to work together on tomorrow’s audience targeting tools.
This has resulted in the development of several tools, including Google’s own Federated Learning of Cohorts (FLoC) tools and the open source Universal Identification 2.0 (UID2). These tools have come under fire recently because in their current forms, they don’t do enough to protect individual privacy and, in many cases, still aggregate data across sites.
As of late June, 2021, Google pushed the deadline to find a cookieless option to the end of 2023, an extension of a full year from their previous deadline. They want to give advertisers, privacy experts, and publishers a chance to find a solution that will work for everyone.
The delay was needed, they say, to give stakeholders enough time to find a solution that helps advertisers and protects consumer privacy.
Without the aggregated data that cookies provide, today’s major multi-channel advertising networks—like Google AdSense, Microsoft Ads, and AdRoll—are nearly useless. Cookies stored in browsers and apps tell these networks what individuals search for across the web and tell these networks where to deliver ads that answer those queries.
The loss of these cookies could severely limit marketers’ ability to target audiences on online publications that serve these display ad networks.
Marketers need B2B media now more than ever
B2B media is a major key to targeted marketing in tomorrow’s cookieless world. Business publications have deep experience in the market, know their audiences, know their needs, and can connect directly with them.
These companies have grown to know their audiences by carefully analyzing their organic traffic. They grow relationships with customers through membership sites and user communities. They connect daily with newsletter readers.
Perhaps most importantly in tomorrow’s privacy-focused world, B2B media companies have built their data collection and distribution on established regulatory and privacy models like the GDPR and CCPA. They’ve built their audiences based on respect for data privacy and consent, and they will increasingly become the savvy marketer’s destination for audience extension.
The cookieless future isn’t going to be easy for marketers. We’ll all be working harder, but it’s for a good cause. In the ideal advertising world of the future, your ads won’t stalk people across the internet and bleed into their personal lives.
Marketers will do less spray-and-pray advertising and pay more attention to personalized messaging at targeted audiences. In return, we’ll all get more effective advertising, more engaged prospects, better data control, more privacy, and higher returns on marketing investments.
Tamara Scott, M.A., is the Managing Editor at full-service B2B media company, TechnologyAdvice. Scott is an expert on marketing, customer success, and business education