Why delaying action on cookieless is a missed opportunity for marketers


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The depreciation of third-party cookies is opening up new approaches to enhance audience intelligence, writes Quantcast’s Vice President Matt White

As the clock ticks down to Google’s deprecation of the third-party cookie, the digital advertising industry seems to remain stuck in the mud. On the one hand, it’s understandable, as Google’s delay has opened up more time for procrastination. On the other hand, a tectonic shift of this scale should have marketers scrambling for a solution.

Yet, all that seems to be taking place is speculation, instead of action. This is a mistake, as regardless of when Google finally does flip the switch, third-party cookies will be going away.  

For years now, third-party cookies have been culled in pockets across the internet. Today, a significant share of browsing activity is taking place in these cookieless environments. Together, Safari and Firefox make up 26.5% of UK browser market share, and they both began blocking cookies years ago. This means that any iPhone user accessing the internet via the smartphone’s default browser has been out of reach for years. Not only are we talking about a sizable consumer group, but iPhone users encompass demographics that are highly sought-after by brands. This fact alone should be enough to give any marketer pause.  

Put simply, if you’re not advertising on cookieless inventory today, you’re missing a major opportunity. If you’re relying on conventional cookie-based tactics in an attempt to reach these consumer segments, then you might as well be shooting in the dark. Thankfully, there is time to start taking cookieless seriously. When Chrome finally does deprecate the third-party cookie in 2023, more than 85% of internet activity in the UK will go cookieless overnight. Adapting to this changing reality is therefore an imperative for the entire industry.

To do so, marketers should be exploring the emerging solutions opening up new possibilities for the digital advertising industry. As the cookie crumbles, new approaches are leveraging cutting-edge technologies such as AI and machine learning to enhance audience intelligence like never before. They are even transforming existing technologies, such as contextual, and supercharging capabilities thanks to a drastically improved ability to gather and make sense of complex data. These exciting new solutions are emerging as viable, robust alternatives to the half-baked cookie.

The silver lining here is that, in the run-up to the much-anticipated deprecation, advertisers have a brief window of time to experiment with these cookieless solutions, to see just how they stack up. By running identical, concurrent campaigns in both cookie-based and cookieless environments, you can not only analyse and compare the performances of both campaigns, but achieve incremental reach by tapping into previously inaccessible audiences. The benefits are two-fold: by doing the due diligence necessary to future-proof your operations, you will also be achieving newfound scale for your campaigns.

Instead of observing from the sidelines and waiting for a silver bullet to emerge, marketers need to take control by confronting the deprecation with action. With change comes opportunity, and there are clear benefits to be gained by seizing the moment. So, go cookieless today - a whole new world of consumers awaits.

By Matt White, Vice President


Quantcast is a leader in understanding real-time audiences at the intersection of commerce and culture, providing relevant advertising and actionable audience intelligence for brands and publishers. Our more than 700 employees are driven by the potential for big data to radically improve everyone’s connected experiences and transform the way we all make sense of the world. Find out more.

Posted on: Monday 25 April 2022