• Henry Filmyer

As the cookie-pocalypse draws near, do you have your data in order?


When Google shuts off third-party cookies in 2023, entire marketing strategies and campaigns will be disrupted. But how should publishers and brands handle this seismic disruption?


I have a few thoughts.




Create a third-party-cookie-free data strategy


First, publishers need to define a net-zero data strategy. Consider a world where third-party data never existed. But where do you start?


My advice is to always start with the user before getting to monetization. No matter how many daily/monthly active users you have, your goal is to always grow your user base and your data strategy needs to support this.


So how can you better understand who is using your site, without the help of third-party cookies? Do you need your users to log in? Some brands can live with anonymous data and might even thrive on it, given their unique requirements. Others will need specific information to operate. Location specific sites will need location data. How deep the data is will depend on tracking and targeting capabilities available on your site.


Publishers with the most users have an advantage, but the true winners will be those providing the most value to logged-in users. Therefore, those who don’t yet have a sufficient subscriber base need to make significant changes to their business models.


Brands will also need to develop a first-party data strategy. First-party cookies are stored by the website you are visiting, rather than third-party cookies, which stay on your computer after you have visited a website.


Successful brands will need to figure out how to better collect, aggregate, and analyze this first-party data, as it is essential to providing a better overall customer experience. For instance, customers will have easier site navigation (e.g. accessing the “Buy Now” button and thereby skipping the checkout process), which will improve their shopping experience.


Collaborate on data and best practices


Second, I would like to suggest an approach which will not be easy to accept, but I believe will be crucial to successfully navigating the new world.


Firms that are traditionally competitors will need to collaborate on best practices, perhaps even develop data partnerships, to identify the ideal strategy that works for their respective unique businesses. The optimal state is for all organizations to function using the minimum viable data they have, with a permanent focus on user privacy.


Doing this will require a lot of trust – naturally, organizations are protective over their data. They might want to create an independent third-party or oversight committee, to facilitate this relationship with competitors. They may even consider building and managing a data clean room if the appetite is there.

Navigating a post-cookie world will require organizational changes. But, a thoughtful strategy will help you get where you need to go.


No matter your company size or industry, if you need critical business insights in advance of the cookie-pocalypse, email me today: hank@switchboard-software.com.


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