Navigating the Post Third-Party Cookie World: Maximizing Marketing ROI and the Remaining Challenges with Cookieless Attribution
November 10, 2023
November 10, 2023
In the ever-evolving landscape of marketing, adaptability iskey to achieving success. One of the most significant changes in recent timesis the impending demise of third-party cookies, a fundamental tool formulti-touch attribution and tracking in the marketing world. As these cookiesfade into obsolescence, companies must seek new strategies to ensure they canstill decipher the complex interplay of marketing channels, devices, and userinteractions to maximize their marketing performance. This then created an eraof cookieless attribution, and what we believe to be a temporary solution tothe challenge.
Marketing attribution involves dissecting the various touchpoints a consumer encounters on their journey to making a purchase decision. The primary aim is to pinpoint the channels and messages that had the most significant influence on the decision to convert or take the desired next step. Marketers use different attribution models, such as multi-touch attribution, lift studies, and time decay, to gain insights into how, where, and when consumers engage with brand messages. Armed with these insights, marketing teams can fine-tune and customize campaigns to cater to individual consumer preferences, ultimately boosting marketing ROI.
Before delving into the world of cookieless attribution,let's explore the limitations of cookie-based tracking, which relies on thesesmall data files to trace user activities across websites. There are threeprimary problems with this approach:
1. Targeting Devices, Not Users
2. Fragmented User Interactions
3. Privacy and Security Concerns
There are various methods to track user interactions withoutcookies.
1. Fingerprinting, is one of the most commonmethods and assigns a unique ID to each visitor based on known data points likeIP addresses, screen resolutions, and browser languages. While this is a usefulapproach, it alone may not provide a complete understanding of a user's journeyto conversion or also gain complete consumer consent.
2. First-Party Cookies, this common and durablecookie that is set in the client’s browser. This collects no PII and no userdata but allows brands to gain a view of their audiences.
3. User authentication, this growing area sees thebrand gaining a common log in across their sites and apps to sync the user’susage and devices. Commonly this is done via a Customer Data Platform (CDP) andprovides a stronger view and a device graph – yet doesn’t encapsulate all ofthe data when users are anonymous (not logged in)
The advantages of adopting cookieless attribution arethreefold:
1. Enhanced Control and Privacy for Users
2. Improved Accuracy of Data
3. Cross-Device Tracking – known users
While cookieless marketing is an inevitability, it's doeshave some challenges. One challenge is that measurement becomes more difficultwithout third-party cookies – as this is the existing ‘infrastructure’ it hasbeen built on. Having the need now for additional technologies (CDPs) canadd cost to a marketer’s programs – and this may not be budgeted for.
Attribution is regaining focus in market as brands andpublishers are struggling with the demise of third-party cookies and thechanges to the way browsers handle privacy. Fingerprinting could be limited inits feasibility as legislative changes could restrict the collection of thisuser behaviour data without consent.
We have proven that using a first-party cookie ID (likeAdFixus) will provide businesses a greater view of the user data to the siteand allow visibility into the channel and thus attribution modelling. Whereclients have also invested into a CDP or data lake that syncs the known users,modelling can be enhanced to also cover for the brands device graph and wherecustomers are using multiple devices as a touch point.