PMG Digital Made for Humans

Preparing for Google’s Cookieless Future

3 MINUTE READ | March 3, 2021

Preparing for Google’s Cookieless Future

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Abby Long

Abby is PMG’s senior managing editor, where she leads the company’s editorial program and manages the PMG Blog and Insights Hub. As a writer, editor, and marketing communications strategist with nearly a decade of experience, Abby's work in showcasing PMG’s unique expertise through POVs, research reports, and thought leadership regularly informs business strategy and media investments for some of the most iconic brands in the world. Named among the AAF Dallas 32 Under 32, her expertise in advertising, media strategy, and consumer trends has been featured in Ad Age, Business Insider, and Digiday.

On March 3, Google announced it would officially phase out third-party cookies next year across all Google ad-buying platforms, including Google Ads, DV360, and Campaign Manager, and will not be building alternate identifiers. The decision follows an early 2020 announcement to phase out third-party cookies on Chrome by 2022 and will undoubtedly affect the entire marketing ecosystem, particularly advertisers who use Google advertising platforms, tracking and measurement tools. 

PMG has anticipated this change for some time and is prepared to help lead our customers and help them navigate the evolving privacy landscape. As we consider how brands can best plan for the changes to come in 2022, our focus will remain in five key areas: 

First-party data will be the gold standard. Brands that have invested in a solid CRM strategy and built the data infrastructure to support it will be more equipped to embrace the new realities of the cookieless future, leveraging CRM within Google’s owned and operated media ecosystem to allow for high levels of targeting, transparency, and audience engagement. 

Diversified measurement is critical. As digital moves away from one-size-fits-all attribution, marketers will need to develop an objective-based measurement framework to align measurement and KPIs up and down the funnel. 

Leverage touchpoints across the full funnel. Approaches that take less than a full view of customer touchpoints and the messaging and goals associated with those touchpoints will suffer as Google phases out third-party cookies. Clearly defining goals for audiences and touchpoints at every stage and laddering up to aggregate business outcomes will ensure that plans are protected against the upheaval caused by changes to any single technology or publisher.

Creative matters more than ever. The impact this change will have on content and creative cannot be overestimated. It will become even more important to consider audiences and intent to ensure customizations align with the people brands want to reach. Limits on personalization will mean success will depend on developing incisive consumer insights that power highly engaging content, with a focus on storytelling.

Remain agile in testing and learning. One of the biggest opportunities is for brands to test in the Google Privacy Sandbox starting in Q2 2021 to co-create measurement solutions and understand any impact from the loss of third-party cookies. Google referenced progress made by testing one such proposal, FLoC (Federated Learning of Cohorts), which will allow targeting of audience cohorts who share similar interests or browsing behaviors, as a promising solution. 

Learn more about what this means for advertisers in commentary featured in CNBC and the Wall Street Journal by PMG’s CEO and Founder, George Popstefanov.

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From here, PMG will continue to work with Google to understand in greater detail the implications and opportunities for its business partners. Our plan is to formulate detailed and specific proposals for taking advantage of the changes ahead and continue to innovate PMG’s Alli technology to give clients competitive advantages in building audiences, serving creative, and leveraging first-party data. As we move toward the cookieless future of digital advertising, our client partners can continue to depend on PMG for reliable solutions and outcomes.

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