By now, marketers are well and truly aware that cookieless tracking is the gradual decline of browser support for third-party cookies. What they may not realise is that cookies are ending because they weren’t always used responsibly. By creating intrusive and annoying ad experiences, brands broke the trust of consumers. A sentiment echoed by the 34.6% of global consumers who opted in for iOS 14.5 within weeks of the update being rolled out.

However, the decline of cookies doesn’t have to be all doom and gloom. Instead, it presents an opportunity for brands to regain the trust of consumers. Now is the time for the industry to band together to create better ads and use marketing strategies that enhance the online experience.

Brands Need to Put Consumers at the Heart of Advertising

Privacy updates and restrictions to third-party cookies have been born out of consumer concerns for how their data is being used. For too long, consumers have been served ads that cover the content on a page or have been retargeted for products they’ve already purchased.

Brands need to shift this perception and become part of a positive online experience. A 2017 study found that 65% of global consumers agree that advertising is valuable when it aligns with their interests and is seamlessly integrated into online content.

Using First-Party Publisher Data

As marketers begin planning for a cookieless future, the first-party data that publishers have on their audiences become increasingly valuable and puts publishers in the driver’s seat for future solutions to target and personalise ad experiences. Ad-tech companies are building new tools that, based on publishers opting in, would give brands easier access to consumer data by aggregating and distributing first-party data.

At Rakuten Advertising, we’re seeing that our network of publishers are quite open to collaborating and sharing their data – so long as there is a mutual benefit. What is needed now is for brands to prioritise building stronger, more collaborative relationships with publishers to better leverage and optimise the objectives they have set out to deliver during all phases of the purchase journey.

Context vs Data

Contextual advertising has long been a proven marketing strategy. And based on consumers desire to be shown ads that are aligned with their interests and integrated into their online content, it’s one of the most valuable strategies at a marketer’s disposal.

Privacy legislation and browser changes mean that the usefulness of data provided by cookies is dropping, making context equally, if not more important. For example, a brand that partners with cashback publishers knows the context of where they are appearing, the audience demographics, and the consumer’s mindset when visiting the site. The brand doesn’t necessarily need to target specific people within the audience, as long as they appear contextually relevant. This enables the brand to create an ad experience that isn’t intrusive and enhances the consumer experience.

The use of cookies may be declining, but there is an opportunity to move beyond cookies and create better ad experiences as an industry. It starts by employing strategies that demonstrate brands can be trusted and rebuilding relationships with consumers.

For more information about cookieless, iOS 14.5 or advertising strategies, visit rakutenadvertising.com and speak to an expert.