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.

Watch the full presentation of panda ads’ Toni Ruotanen here.

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.

Singapore – Last April 28, MARKETECH APAC, in partnership with Oracle, gathered marketing leaders from the Southeast Asia region in the webinar, ‘The Future of Marketing: Loyalty-led strategies in a cookie-less world’, to discuss and uncover how loyalty-led strategies can help brands thrive in digital advertising amidst the elimination of third-party cookies. 

Lisa Collins, director of strategy, Oracle Customer Experience, through a keynote presentation, shared how web 3.0 will transform the way consumers interact and engage with brands and the implications on data collection in this new world. She further explained how loyalty marketing seamlessly fits into the picture as a viable alternative to obtaining quality data sans third-party cookies. 

Collins shared how the present evolution in digital advertising presents opportunities for loyalty programs to be transformed as a key to achieving healthy data exchange. Where loyalty only used to mean rewards and points at best, Collins shared the different innovative ways that brands can deliver them now amidst the increasing popularity of NFTs and cryptocurrency.

Meanwhile, the topic was further delved into with a panel discussion that was participated by marketing heads from Malaysia and the Philippines. Together with Collins; Norsiah Juriani Johari, vice president for product marketing at Astro Malaysia, and Anvey Factora, head of marketing communications, e-commerce and retail at Canon Philippines, shared their expert views and insights into implementing first-party data strategies and data’s role in developing loyalty marketing for the future.

Each of the panellists also highlighted the trends they believe will have the biggest impact on performance and loyalty marketing in 2-3 years, resulting in an insightful discussion about NFTs, ‘revenge’ travel, and the ‘revolution’ of e-commerce. 

The webinar drew 153 marketing professionals from a variety of industries, including retail and e-commerce, media and entertainment and CPG. Most attendees hailed from the markets of the Philippines, Singapore and Malaysia, and those who took part were from companies Bosch, Estee Lauder, Hmlet, Loob Holding, Mastercard, Sanofi, Sunway Malls, The Ascott Limited, True Digital Group, and Xendit. 

On the webinar, Collins commented, “Providing delightful contextual customer journeys [is] critical to customer acquisition, retention and loyalty. As marketers, we’ve always relied on a rich array of data signals to inform these journeys. However, with the imminent demise of third party cookies, a key ingredient for consistent personalised targeting hangs in the balance.”

“But let’s take a step back to understand the root cause of this issue: Consumers are fed up with giving over their personal and behavioural data with their only reward being more personalised advertising. This was arguably what led to a raft of privacy changes and also why the web3 ethos is resonating so strongly: people want to feel meaningfully rewarded for consuming content, for engagement, and for their own creative contribution,” Collins added. 

Meanwhile, Shaina Teope, regional editor of MARKETECH APAC, and also moderator of the panel, remarked, “With the rapid changes in digital, we made sure that with this webinar, we covered good ground on such developments, so it’s not just about discussing cookies, but how these privacy changes will affect brands as we enter a more decentralised internet.” 

“With the combined presence of our marketing leaders, we were able to get into what the future looks like in digital advertising, web 3.0, and loyalty marketing. We’re confident that with this discussion, we’ve become more ready to sail uncharted waters,” added Teope. 

On-demand access to the webinar is now available. Get your access HERE.

Nobody can deny that the pace and degree of digital transformation is accelerating in the wake of the pandemic, creating mounting pressure to meet customers wherever they are. Those who were once never online are now navigating the digital world with a new sense of confidence.

This new world has also brought its fair share of challenges as well. Consumers, for one, are increasingly skeptical when it comes to their privacy and the privacy of their data, in particular. Their expectations of brands are also changing. They want more personalised and relevant experiences. Essentially, if they provide their data, then they expect to benefit from an enhanced experience.

Recently, I had the opportunity to speak at the Digital Leadership Forum (DLF), conducted in partnership with BPP, where we discussed the above digital customer trends in the APAC region. From what today’s consumers want to privacy, cookies and more, this is the information all marketers need as they tiptoe into a future without third-party cookies.

The privacy paradox

Thanks to digital acceleration, consumers are becoming increasingly careful, informed, sophisticated, and demanding in their shopping interactions. At the same time, they’re also far less tolerant of sub-standard shopping experiences, both online and in-store.

Their digital expectations have also risen exponentially, causing brands everywhere to face their biggest challenge yet — balancing customers’ desires for personalised interactions while fiercely protecting customer privacy.

It’s what we’re calling the privacy paradox. Consumers are really skeptical about how brands are using their data. Facebook has only added fuel to the fire with the controversy surrounding it in recent years. At Cheetah Digital, we’re finding more and more consumer sentiment around social channels becoming negative.

In Australia, our 2022 Digital Consumer Trends Index revealed that 63% of consumers do not trust these platforms with their data. Now, of course, that doesn’t mean they’re not using these platforms. They’re just treating them with a healthy dose of skepticism.

For example, when asked, a whopping 86% of consumers said they wanted to see brands spend more on their loyalty offering and less on Facebook advertising. Interestingly, there has also been a large positive sentiment for brands that have pulled ads from Facebook altogether because of concerns about the rise of harmful content. Consumers know the value of their data, as a result, they’re being increasingly protective of it.

When I think of a really tremendous example of digital transformation and acceleration, I think of our customer Purebaby. In a very short period of time, the Australian company underwent an incredible transformation.

Previously, Purebaby relied heavily on brick-and-mortar stores to drive revenue. Its online offering was just a secondary thought. That is until COVID-19 came to be. When it hit, Purebaby rapidly and successfully pivoted, resulting in roughly 90% of its revenue coming in from online sales. It has completely changed the brand’s business and business model forever.

The great thing about this transformation success story is that to bolster its online experience, Purebaby shifted from focusing on purely promotional marketing to building up robust lifecycle programs. To give you some context, Purebaby set up 22 email programs within the space of just 18 months. 

The brand did this to ensure the online experience was seamless for its new demanding digital customers. Purebaby provided different touchpoints that were more triggered and personal than ever before. So when you look at how digital acceleration is changing the way consumers engage, it essentially comes down to the fact that they’re becoming more careful, and therefore, require brands to earn their trust.

Beefed up GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation)

Life is about to change big time for APAC marketers. As we all know, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a regulation in EU law on data protection and privacy. The model is being adopted for the APAC region as well, leading to the death of the cookie.

This means brands and companies are at risk of facing regulatory penalties and lawsuits if they don’t adhere to the new privacy requirements. Even more, companies can no longer assume that if they cannot identify someone through an IP address that the law won’t apply to them. Because it will. As marketers, we need to be more cautious than ever in our approach to treating unknown users.

The question is, are we ready for this change? According to Forrester, probably not. Its research revealed that 43% of marketers say their current practices rely on third-party cookies. Even more, 59% of marketers in APAC say they only fulfil the minimum requirements to comply with data privacy regulations. That means there is a large portion of people who still don’t feel like they’re meeting minimum requirements.

With customers’ demands going beyond those minimum requirements, how can we make sure that we meet them in a place that keeps them happy and comfortable? Apple CEO Tim Cook said it best — “Technology does not need vast troves of personal data, stitched together across dozens of websites and apps in order to succeed. Advertising existed and thrived for decades without it.”

He continues, “If a business is built on misleading users, on data exploitation, on choices that are no choices at all; it does not deserve our praise. It deserves reform.” Case in point: Business owners and marketers cannot get away with what they’ve done in the past anymore.

Look at Apple’s mail privacy protection functionality that came into play in September last year. The update essentially allows users to turn off their opening tracking, hide IP addresses, and in some cases, hide email addresses. So it’s a lot more difficult to judge how a consumer is interacting with the communication you’ve sent them. This is some of the “fun” that we as marketers have to accept in this new cookie-less world.

As the cookie crumbles

We’ve been discussing the death of the cookie for a long time. Google announced plans to entirely phase out third-party cookies within two years. And although Google’s privacy pivot is a win for privacy-conscious consumers; it’s a headache for marketers and businesses who rely on these third-party cookies to advertise effectively. Next year will be here before we know it; so we need to be ready. We need to find a new way to satisfy our “sweet tooth” because the cookie is truly crumbling.

At Cheetah Digital, our goal is to always get brands to focus on building out a zero-party data strategy. And the reason is simple: this preference data comes directly from the consumer so there are no intermediaries — no guesswork. They’re telling you exactly what their preference is. It’s psychographic data that includes your customers’ values, attitudes, interests, and personality traits.

The only thing to be cognizant of is this will change over time. Unlike first-party data like first and last names and mobile numbers, which remain pretty static, zero-party data relating to attitudes and life stages continually evolves. So you have to keep understanding and collecting.

Cosying up with consumer expectations

We’ve established that consumers have the expectation for brands to know them. But what they’re comfortable with is a different story. Our research shows that most people actually want a consistent experience regardless of whether they interact online or in-store.

Consumers want messages that recognise their shopping history. They want their data to be used in ways that make them feel comfortable and like an individual. So don’t send them irrelevant content or offers based on information they haven’t directly shared with you — that’s considered creepy.

At the end of the day, it’s essentially a value exchange. Our research reveals that 55% of consumers are comfortable with sharing data with brands in exchange for better service. So if you want to know more about the consumer, figure out what you can give them in return for that information. At Cheetah Digital, we find that consumers respond positively to discounts, coupons, loyalty points, and rewards.

Use those aspects to gain additional insight into your consumer, understand your audience better, and then target them, using the data in a way that they find relevant and useful. Also understand that consumers have high expectations for brands. All it takes is one misstep or one bad experience for them to go elsewhere because, with today’s bustling online world, they have more options than ever before right at their fingertips.

For marketers who are struggling to meet the needs of consumers and their various demands, it’s time to update their toolkits to include new strategies and tactics to thrive. They need to market to an individual with authenticity, relevance, and accuracy and that requires an entirely new way of thinking.

Take a look below for five ways to thrive in a world with no third-party cookies.

5 ways to survive a cookie-less future:

1. Stop renting data: Build your own databases through direct-consumer relationships. Have a robust data-collection strategy to support this. And know that the data you need to market to individuals with the right level of relevance and privacy doesn’t come easily. It requires a strategy that incentivises consumers to tell you about themselves willingly, with the permission to use that data.

2. “Know them and show them”: Consumers expect digital interactions that are immediate and highly relevant to them. They have real-time expectations and think you should “know them and show them” how well you understand them. This requires a single view of the customer with preferences and insights that can be used for decisioning in the moment to drive engaging experiences anywhere your customer interacts with you.

3. Devise a loyalty initiative: Not every brand needs a loyalty program. But every brand does have to provide some sort of value exchange. Well-executed interactions across channels help customers feel a connection, and that connection leads to them reciprocating with purchases and eventually, loyalty to your brand.

4. Know the rules of engagement: Consumers expect to engage with you on different devices. In fact, today’s consumers use an average of nearly six touchpoints, with half of them regularly using more than four when engaging with a brand.

5. Create a craving: When customers want to participate in your loyalty program, you need to do more than incentivise transactions. You want to reward them for behaviours as well. Loyalty program management is vital to keep customers coming back for more.

Don’t take my word for it. Market research by Twilio’s Segment reveals that 44% of consumers will likely become repeat buyers and 32% will likely leave a positive review after a personalised shopping experience. There is life after the death of the cookie, and if you’re prepared, it has the potential to be even sweeter.

And talking about a ‘sweet’ success story – check out how Bakers Delight increased its basket size by more than 20% when its ‘Dough Getters’ loyalty program launched in the first half of 2021.

The key takeaway is, when you know individuals and can market to them with personalised experiences that they welcome — not because you snooped on them — magical things happen. 

This article was written by Alexandra Smit, digital marketing & automation specialist at Cheetah Digital. Cheetah Digital is a cross-channel customer engagement solution provider that enables marketers to create personalised experiences, cross-channel messaging, and loyalty strategies.

Singapore – Ever since tech juggernauts such as Google and Apple have announced that they are putting down an iron fist on privacy, the world of digital advertising has been shaken with brands and marketers suddenly thrust to the challenge of uncompromised campaigns even with the absence of what have been their cornerstone – third-party cookies. 

Due to this looming challenge, conversations around viable solutions spurred, but the industry, looking ahead to being crippled by an end of an era, would need more definitive answers to break down the perplexity of a cookie-less world.

This is why MARKETECH APAC, the digital media for the marketing and advertising industry in APAC, in partnership with Oracle, is taking the wheel to steer the discussion into what presents to be a top effective strategy for this dilemma – loyalty marketing. Happening on April 28, 2022, the webinar ‘The Future of Marketing: Loyalty-led strategies in a cookie-less world’, aims to unravel the practicability and sensibility of loyalty-focused solutions on keeping the quality of brands’ marketing intact amid a more privacy-driven digital landscape. 

We have gathered marketing leaders in the region from the industries of media, imaging, and technology, to help shine light on how loyalty, put at the heart of our marketing arsenal, can help us thrive in this entirely new environment. 

Joining the industry discussion are Norsiah Juriani Johari, the vice president of product marketing at Astro Malaysia; Anvey Factora, the head of marketing communications, e-commerce and retail of Canon Philippines; and Lisa Collins, the director of customer experience strategy at Oracle

Each of them will be sharing their expert views on why loyalty is never dead, and why it matters in a cookie-less world as well as the personalisation strategies that work best to boost brand loyalty in Southeast Asia markets. Furthermore, they will also be discussing the role of data in creating future-ready loyalty marketing. 

Shaina Teope, the regional editor of MARKETECH APAC, commented, “I believe that as we put an end to what has been a fixture in our marketing gameplans, we are called to be overprepared and be more than ready for such tricky independence. This is the worthy price to pay for a much safer digital landscape, and we’re here to show you how loyalty marketing can warrant an answer.” 

The webinar, ‘The Future of Marketing: Loyalty-led strategies in a cookie-less world’, will be held on April 28, 2022, 2:30 pm SGT. Secure your spot at the webinar HERE.

Singapore – Quantcast, global adtech company, has announced that its cookieless solution for the Quantcast Platform is now available in Southeast Asia. The company will now be able to assist marketers in the region in finding new audiences in cookieless environments, including Safari and Firefox.

The new cookieless solution was formally launched last September. The solution allows for cookieless activation with just one click and leverages multiple signals for a holistic view of the open internet. Ara™, Quantcast’s unique AI and machine learning engine, makes sense of complex multiple signal sets to understand behavioral patterns, which allows marketers to find, activate and measure audiences without third-party cookies.

Andrew Double, Quantcast’s managing director for APAC, believes that now is the time to begin testing and activating on cookieless environments ahead of cookies deprecation in 2023.

“We have enabled cookieless capabilities to allow customers around the world to reach, influence, and acquire new audiences on cookieless inventory and go beyond the competition for limited cookie-based impressions and inventory,” said Double.

In the first half of the year, Google, which has been eyeing cookie deprecation for 2021, has delayed such for another year. Similarly, tech giant Apple has also tightened its privacy features with an update that’s been designed to conceal a user’s identity amid browsing in Safari.

Singapore – Global advertising platform Quantcast has announced latest innovations to their Quantcast Platform, centered on an artificial intelligence approach to venturing into a cookieless business strategy, including their latest feature ‘Ara™ TopicMap’ which uses AI to link contextual signals to consumer intent and provides greater accuracy for reaching audiences today and in a future, post-cookie world. 

Said innovations were released during Quantcast’s recently concluded ‘Virtual NOVA Event’.

The company’s cookieless solutions for a post-cookie future include the option to activate, find, and measure audiences without third-party cookies, all with a single click within the Quantcast Platform. The seamless ability to explore cookieless activation and measurement is available to customers today and is part of Quantcast’s promise to prioritize finding a long-term alternative for third-party cookies, regardless of Google’s time extension.

For Konrad Feldman, co-founder and CEO of Quantcast, the company remains focused on developing sustainable solutions to the essential functions of audience and advertising planning, activation, and measurement, independent of third-party cookies.

“We’re committed to being a partner that can help navigate complexity, ambiguity, and even the unexpected, which is why we have made significant investments in using contextual analysis and machine learning to create alternative approaches that are available today and don’t rely on third-party cookies,” Feldman said.

A key feature of Quantcast’s cookieless solutions in the Quantcast Platform is cookieless conversion reporting, which gives advertisers the ability to measure and justify investments in cookieless environments and gives publishers the ability to quantify the large and growing portion of customers whose browsing is not supported by third-party cookies today.

In addition, their contextual platform Ara TopicMap generates real-time insights into ever-changing consumer behavior, which enables brands, agencies, and publishers to quickly respond and adjust campaigns on the Quantcast Platform. As a result, publishers generate more advertising revenue, brands and agencies see better campaign results, and consumers enjoy a more relevant online experience.