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Google killing the cookie is great news for marketers. Here's why

Ed Lyon
Jan 29, 2020

Originally posted on The Drum

It's unlikely to have escaped your attention that Google is doing everything it can to kill the cookie, which has been the foundation on which much of the personalisation ad tech has been built. However, the cookie was never intended to be used for this purpose, and as such, it should come as no surprise that this age-old internet 'life-hack' is starting to lose its battle for survival.

The cookie is also the source of a huge amount of user frustration and disenfranchisement with online advertising. Following people around the internet with a product they've looked at, or in the worst case already bought, is a complaint we've all heard a million times. This high level of annoyance among internet users with advertising is in large part what is driving advertisers away from display, which will, in turn, lead to increased inventory scarcity, higher costs, lower ROI.

At Ad-Lib, we have always been focused on making creative messaging relevant, without using cookies. In fact, we have never, do not, and will never use Ad-Lib cookies in any of our campaigns. In fact, there's no such thing as an Ad-Lib cookie. This has allowed us to be compliant with GDPR and all its legal offspring and focus on strategies that drive relevance without annoying people.

Here are just a few examples of creative targeting strategies you can deploy without having to worry about cookies:

1. ‘Dayparting’

A convenient way of saying 'time of day and/or day of week'. All you need to know is what time zone someone is in and then you can deploy this tactic to your heart's content. This can be really handy for retailers with opening times, travel advertisers capitalising on people's fluctuating wanderlust through the week or entertainment clients who might be counting down to a theatrical release or TV premiere. Managing your messaging based on day and time has all sorts of applications, and what's more it's totally free!

2. Location

One of the simplest ways to be creatively relevant is by using location targeting. It helps you deliver personalised creatives in specific areas where you're talking to the right consumers. This type of targeting is particularly useful when advertising in store offers for example (you can serve an offer when a consumer is within a certain radius) or even something as simple as changing the background of the ad depending on which city they are in.

3. Contextual relevance

Using site keywords to align messaging to whatever the user is looking at - this is a great way to align to affinity without using cookie-based segments and is relevant for clients across the board.

4. Weather and other environmental signals

Current weather conditions & environmental factors are key in determining consumers receptiveness to an advert, and they also increase purchase intent. You don’t have to explicitly tell consumers that it’s hot or cold (although this can be relevant too) but by just simply changing the creative/messaging based on certain rules, you will be sure to subconsciously be spiking interest. This strategy is, again, useful for a number of different clients. For instance, the pollution level is high on a particular day - you promote certain skincare products to help, or as a travel company you deploy this strategy on particularly cold, miserable days & encourage people to book their next holiday.

So...the death of the cookie doesn't mean the end of relevant messaging. It will, in fact, help all marketers focus on strategies that are just as relevant, but that users find much less annoying.

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