The cookie is crumbling – make sure you’re prepared

Toby Benjamin, VP Platform Partnerships at Viant explains why marketers need to be prepared for the potential death of the cookie.

Toby Benjamin

Twenty years ago, the world was a very different place. Leonardo di Caprio had just gotten his big break in Titanic, while homes had internet access you were lucky to have broadband, and the iPhone was still ten years away from being invented.

So why is the advertising industry still relying on a twenty-year-old relic like the cookie to target consumers? No longer – according to our recent study, over half of marketers say cookie-based ad campaigns will be dead by 2018.

Turning to a people-based future

The vast majority are instead turning to people-based marketing to reach real individuals. Unlike cookies, people-based campaigns give marketers the ability to advertise to real people linked across multiple devices using registered user data. This means marketers can reach the same individuals across all of their mobile or tablet devices and can also track the role of digital in offline sales – something which is impossible to do with cookies.

Why is it better?

Marketers say 40% of their budgets will be going towards people-based campaigns in 2017 and it’s easy to see why. The vast majority (83%) say people-based marketing campaigns perform better than the cookie-based alternative.

There’s a multitude of reasons for this – marketers tell us people-based marketing campaigns offer improved targeting ability (58%) and the ability to reach real people (40%). As two thirds of smartphones and tablet devices don’t accept cookies, over a third of marketers (36%) also say they value the ability to effectively track users across multiple devices with people-based marketing.

What’s next?

There are still a number of challenges that need to be addressed for growth to continue, including a lack of reliable people-based marketing partners (48%), difficulties accessing and using first party data (38%). In fact, over half of digital marketing managers surveyed (53%) said they don’t use any first party data in their advertising campaigns.

While the industry is increasingly embracing people-based marketing, running campaigns that are built on a foundation of people, not cookies, 29% say they are still new to the concept - so there is huge potential for growth. I’m optimistic that this shows we will see a real shift in attitudes towards digital marketing in the UK over the next few years.

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