Singapore – Ever since Google unveiled its plans of having third-party cookies deprecated in the Chrome browser in 2021, the digital advertising world has been subject to a frenzy. Two years after – and a number of delays later – the industry is a bit more relaxed owing to an ongoing conversation on the possible workarounds for such a dilemma.
As we enter 2023 and are presented with a fresh opportunity to answer to emerging opportunities and challenges in the marketing arena, bringing ourselves up to speed on the developments in the cookieless strategy is of utmost importance.
Last February 28 and March 1, 2023, MARKETECH APAC, the digital media for the marketing and tech industry in APAC, pooled together industry leaders and marketing professionals from top brands in the region to mount its first-ever 2-day hybrid conference, What’s NEXT 2023: Marketing in Asia Pacific. On Day 2 of the said event, which was held virtually, it touched base on navigating the cookieless world with first-party data strategy.
With Toni Juhani Ruotanen, panda ads’ director for advertising & partnerships in foodpanda APAC, at the forefront of the conversation, the leader brought us back to the pivotal events that led us to today’s impending loss of the use of third-party cookies, alongside the possible strategies that were put forth, and ultimately — how retail media is showing itself as a viable response to stricter privacy in the digital world.
First of all, Ruotanen reminds us that the cookieless state of affairs is, in fact, not entirely new for us. Apple’s Safari and Firefox have been there and done that – even way back in 2019. But why still the scare? Aside from the fact that Google Chrome is the top and most widely-used browser, the tech giant joining the crew undeniably augments the limitations of advertisers in targeting its consumers in the digital arena.
Ruotanen walks us through the present lay of the land where third-party cookies, whilst partial to privacy concerns, have been immensely helpful to serve highly relevant and personalised ads to consumers. Cross-site tracking, retargeting, and ad-serving are some of the capabilities that third-party cookies have made possible. So how then can brands recuperate once these faculties are foregone?
The marketing leader similarly goes over the top defensive strategies that have been a consensus for the industry for quite some time — Universal IDs, Contextual Advertising, and First-Party Data Strategy.
The first one allows companies to identify users across different websites and devices and can be created with first-party data, thus, offering targeting whilst respecting privacy. Contextual advertising, meanwhile, is the approach that targets potential customers by relying on context, such as that of a webpage, location, or weather. And of course, needless to say, the first-party data strategy, which is looked to as the ideal of them all. The said approach banks on consent-based advertising by obtaining users’ informed consent before collecting their data.
Then there comes the burgeoning strength of Retail Media.
“We know that retail media has been growing aggressively since 2022 and it’s expected to grow further in 2023,” said Ruotanen.
By entering direct relationships with large publishers and retail media networks such as foodpanda and top e-commerce platforms Lazada and Shopee, brands are able to hop on an opportunity to leverage consent-driven marketing.
For one, when a consumer lands on a retail platform, the intent to be there at the certain moment, with their data being shared with the website, can signal that there’s consent from the visitor. Aside from this, which could probably be considered as the most advantageous factor of working with such a platform, is that a brand’s ads already have higher chances of driving conversion as consumers that pay them a visit are already pre-conditioned to purchase something.
Higher purchase intent and clear signals of intent, direct response and branding opportunities, and seamless consumer experience are just some of the advantages of drawing consumers already in ‘shopping’ mode.
How, then, can brands maximise opportunities within a retail media network? Ruotanen offers a three-step strategy.
First, you must find the right platforms for your brand. According to Ruotanen, you ought to vet the fitness of a platform by asking who the audience of such and the behaviours their consumers are exhibiting. Next, it is also important to assess what type of consumer insights you stand to gain and if you’re able to drive traffic away from the platform.
Second, you must evaluate whether a certain platform is able to afford you an opportunity to build a full-funnel campaign and allow for a holistic brand synergy. Essential questions to ask are, what stage of the funnel are you trying to address? and what brand assets are available? These then will give you a clearer picture of whether to go for placement with a certain platform.
And lastly, to discern a platform’s alignment with your brand, you must size it up against whether you’re able to leverage audience-targeting initiatives within it. You must find how diverse the cohort of consumers you are able to attract and determine whether you can maximise your ad placements in such a destination to its full targeting power.
In a digital world that is seeing unprecedented fluidity, it pays to be overprepared for the oncoming drastic shifts that threaten to widen the distance between brands and consumers. With the phase-out of third-party cookies, it would be much more challenging for brands to reach their consumers – but by opening their eyes to the innovation around them – it’s not an impossibility to overcome and even thrive amidst the uncertainty.
“Marketers still have a lot of work to do this year to be able to become ready and prepared for the new cookieless world for marketing in 2024. The question is, [is] your organisation ready for this change?” prompts Ruotanen.
He concluded, “If you look at the bright side, the coin has always two sides. The death of third-party cookies can also be an opportunity for advertising innovation. Today, there are alternatives for marketers to look at, adopt, and consider.”
What’s NEXT 2023: Marketing in Asia Pacific is the inaugural 2-day hybrid industry conference of MARKETECH APAC which was launched last February 28 and March 1 as a culminating event under the multi-platform series, What’s NEXT 2023.
The conference, which saw an attendance of more than 200 in-person participants and more than 100 virtual attendees, set the stage for future-oriented conversations on different marketing disciplines such as brand engagement, growth marketing, influencer marketing, marketing and technology, digital advertising, and CMO decision-making, amongst many others.
Aside from Ruotanen, marketing leaders that graced the hybrid conference include those from Boost, Carsome, Colgate-Palmolive, Globe Telecom, Home Credit Philippines, Kaspersky, ShopBack, and many more.
panda ads is a proud Gold Sponsor of What’s NEXT 2023: Marketing in Asia Pacific. panda ads is foodpanda’s integrated advertising solution that helps brands connect with foodpanda’s audiences and unlock growth through in-app advertising, digital marketing channels, and partnership programmes.