When the cookies get tough, the tough gets going


By Zion Rufus

The digital marketing and advertising world was put on notice over a year ago when search giant Google announced the phasing out of third-party cookies amidst the growing agitation for stronger user privacy and security on the internet.

As users demand more privacy, transparency, choice, and control over how their data is used, it’s clear the web ecosystem needs to evolve to meet these increasing demands. Third-party cookies have continuously played an integral role in the digital advertising industry. The cookies store user data to help improve user experience on a website while tracking user-activity online and serving targeted ads.

Commenting on the growing concern that followed the axing of third-party cookies, CEO/COO Noah’s Ark and Chairman, LAIF Management Board, Lanre Adisa stated: “I think it’s going to be a big challenge. The digital world is growing. People are concerned about how much power you give and how much you get. Advertisers also want to know who they are targeting, and what they are getting in return. But then there is the issue of transparency and ad placements by using bots. Advertisers will definitely find a way to deal with this new regulation.”

Although Google backed the decision by introducing “Privacy Sandbox” as an alternative to the third-party cookies in order to enhance user privacy, the major element in the privacy sandbox is Google’s plan to migrate the user’s data into Google chrome where it will be stored and processed. In the end, digital marketers and advertisers will become more dependent on the Big Tech for advertising, or find ways to better leverage the first-party cookies instead.

According to Elo Umeh, Founder/CEO of Terragon, one of Africa’s fastest growing marketing technology company, the phasing-out of third-party cookies is a wake-up call for marketers and advertisers locally and more specifically in Africa, to be open to other innovative ways in knowing who their customer is, engaging with them, and executing advertising initiatives which will enable them to be less-dependent on third party cookies. There is now an urgent need to build internal capabilities to make them more agile/better responsive to the risk of regulatory/monopolistic policies that might radically affect their businesses like this in the future.

The panic that gripped the entire industry following the Big-Tech’s announcement wore off, though not entirely, but digital marketers and leading global advertising firms have begun to seek out alternatives. Publicis Groupe, one of the world’s largest communications group recently partnered The Trade Desk to launch a specialized service to help its clients across the globe track and target consumers online. Through the Trade Desk’s platform, Publicis’ clients will now have access to Unified ID, an alternative to cookies which claims to allow personalization at scale and provide maximum reach without invading privacy.

For over two decades digital advertisers and marketers have heavily relied on the use of third-party cookies to track online users, target them with personalized advertisements, compile records of users’ browsing history, and build up a profile of their interests, preferences and habits. It has also been pivotal to the way marketers measured the impact of their campaigns.




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