How Marketing Can Adapt To A World Without Cookies: 15 Strategies From Experts – Forbes


Very recently (and much to many webmasters’ disappointment), Google announced that it would cease to use cookies. Marketers around the world reeled from this announcement. In essence, it meant that several marketing strategies needed to change, some more drastically than others. Some methodologies would require an entire overhaul to deal with this “new normal” that looms on the horizon.

However, how these techniques will evolve is still a matter of hot debate. We asked 15 experts from Forbes Agency Council how they envisioned marketing mechanics developing to deal with the new state of normal. This is what they had to say.

Photos courtesy of the individual members.

1. Focus On Behavioral Analysis

We all need to shift or change the behaviors of customers to see success. However, relying on cookies is not nearly as powerful as analyzing customer behaviors. Brands can see more success by investing in creating a customer behavioral data set. Then, each behavior can be examined and simplified so new customers can adopt them. – Roger Hurni, Off Madison Ave

2. Build Data Assets You Own

Google’s news is a wake-up call to build first-party data assets that you own. The technology exists already for companies to begin collecting data, but make sure you are GDPR- and CCPA-compliant. Other direct-publisher first-party data relationships will exist, as well as new targeting technologies, but in all cases, use every opportunity to develop your databases and the data to go with it. – Sara Steever, Paulsen

3. Focus On Building Direct Relationships

Being that this phase-out will occur over the next two years, we marketers will do what we have always done — adapt. What I see happening is a refreshed drive toward capturing direct attention and building relationships, and there are a number of ways to do this. However, this is not an end to remarketing via Google — their “privacy sandbox” solutions will still allow relevant advertising. – Bernard May, National Positions

4. Retarget Your Targeting

I think a clear direction would be to pivot to a larger ad spend on social and organic. While it would seem privacy is the name of the game on the decision to get rid of cookies, remarketing and relevant ad personalization still play a large role in social media. Pivot your efforts to relevant platforms and embrace new and existing forms of targeting. – Michael Smith, MDS Media Inc.

5. Leverage Account-Based Marketing

With this change, more companies will be expected to know who their target market is, so identify them through research and build campaigns that target the accounts they want. The “splatter your message and hope they will come” approach has long been what marketers consider easy, but not results-driven. Account-based marketing approaches will rise to the top and ensure a more disciplined approach. – Ilissa Miller, IMiller Public Relations

6. Focus On New Identification Capabilities

As we look toward the future, I think we will see concerted industry efforts to evolve beyond cookies in privacy-safe ways. Specifically, increased reliance on partnerships to build out more persistent identifiers and new identification capabilities using first-party cookies, which will remain unaffected. Further, AI will be used to streamline data on users’ behaviors, purchases and preferences. – Jessica Breslav, Criteo

7. Shift To Device IDs And IP Addresses

As cookies are being phased out, the primary method for tracking user behavior is shifting to IP address and device ID tracking. Device IDs have been used for geotracking and geofencing for some time now. These identifiers are anonymized to protect user privacy, allowing for a variety of data variables to be tracked and appended to the identifiers, which renders cookies irrelevant. – Tripp Donnelly, REQ

8. Attract, Ask, Authenticate

Cookies worked, but they’re nowhere near as powerful as attracting audiences with engaging content and then asking them to pay that content off with self-authentication. Marketers are some of the most creative people on the planet. Compelling content motivates consumers to authenticate themselves while maintaining control of their data. – Mary Ann O’Brien, OBI Creative

9. Continue To Create Relevant Content

Cookies provided certain conveniences for users and developers. But the end user still only cares about the content, not the cookies. Technologies will come and go. But those who focus on an audience and build content for them will find ways to monetize the traffic, with or without cookies. So my advice is to lock down your focus on the content but be flexible with the tech as it changes. – Randy Shattuck, The Shattuck Group

10. Return To The Basics

With the removal of third-party cookie capabilities over the next two years, marketing strategies will need to return to core fundamentals. This will include revisiting and refining target personae, identifying where these targets consume information online and off, expanding topics and formats of content, and revisiting what channels contribute to a successful and holistic buyer’s journey. – Melissa Chang, PureB2B

11. Focus Your Efforts On Social Media

I feel marketing is heading toward social media exclusively. A social media persona and presence is already a current trend and the market seems to shift toward a custom experience via the social channels for each user, based on their friends, interests and likes. Traditional browsing is slowing down and social media browsing is becoming the new normal. Cookies are being replaced with social data. – Lion Shirdan, UPRISE Management

12. Update Outdated Technology

Cookies have been with us since the beginning of the web, which was over 25 years ago. Cookies are no longer the best way to support important web functionality, including advertising networks. Marketers can adapt by aligning themselves with platforms that transition sooner rather than later and having their team stay aware of changes so they can be implemented before strategies are outdated. – Benjamin Collins, Laughing Samurai

13. Widen Your Audience

Agencies will need to create messages that are universal in nature. Without cookies, it may be more challenging to target visitors with personalized ads specific to their individual needs. Marketers will need to convey their message in a way that doesn’t isolate any viewers. – Hannah Trivette, NUVEW Web Solutions

14. Diversify Your Ad Strategy

Brands will look for other advertising networks, search engines they can leverage to loosen the Google shackles while still bringing in cost-effective conversions. Smart marketers will seek publishers/ad networks focused more on intent instead of basing buys solely on third-party data and marketplaces closer to the bottom of the sales funnel to pull in higher conversions for a lower CPA. – Jon Waterman, Ad.net

15. Embrace More Storytelling, Fewer Ads

New generations don’t click anymore on banners, and cookie-based advertisements will become less relevant. It’s time to focus more on influencers and narrative thanks to native storytelling rather than on cold display ads. – Alessandro Bogliari, The Influencer Marketing Factory



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