Google has been planning to phase out third-party cookies in Chrome for years. But now that it’s actually happening, marketers are left with one important, looming question:
What do I do now?
Yes, 3PCs are valuable tools for identifying specific audiences and serving them hyper-personalized ads, but they’re not the only tools. There are a variety of methods and strategies that can be used to reach the right audience, at the right time without relying on 3PCs. Let’s look at what those strategies are and how to use them effectively to mitigate any pitfalls caused by Google’s 3PC deprecation.
Google’s Privacy Sandbox
The Privacy Sandbox is Google’s proposed solutions for replacing 3PCs in Chrome with a new set of guidelines and technical specs to improve user privacy, ad targeting, measurement, and fraud prevention.
These proposed solutions aim to reduce cross-site and cross-app tracking of individuals by advertising to groups of people called cohorts. The solutions also move some of the data collection and processing that facilitates advertising onto the user's device itself, placing the web browser in control of the user's privacy.
In total, there are nine Privacy Sandbox APIs for web, which aim to prevent spam and fraud, enable relevant advertising, allow for ad measurement and attribution, and limit cross-site tracking. These are the three APIs related to ad targeting and measurement:
Protected Audience API is a retargeting solution that allows marketers to re-engage with their site visitors and prospective customers.
Topics API categorizes website content into ~500 interest topics without revealing consumer data, enabling marketers to target users with relevant ads while protecting privacy.
Attribution Reporting API helps measure ad campaign performance and enable data-driven advertising decisions.
Click here to learn more about how NextRoll is working together with Google and other industry leaders to develop and test these new technologies.
As we covered in the history of 3PC deprecation article, 3PCs have been limited by Firefox and Safari browsers for some time now. Due to this and certain limitations of 3PCs, advertising technology companies have taken steps to create alternative identifiers intended to replicate the functionality of 3PCs and address challenges posed by fragmented user data (i.e., cross-device).
These types of identifiers can be sorted into two groups, deterministic and probabilistic identifiers.
Deterministic IDs rely on personally identifiable information (PII) about a user, typically an email address, which is encrypted to make the ID anonymous and protect the privacy of the user. Because these IDs are created via an authenticated registration event (i.e., user sign-in) they are highly accurate, although they have low scale in terms of availability.
Probabilistic IDs rely on a range of signals across multiple channels to approximate the identity of users without the collection of first-party data (such as PII). These data points can include things like IP address, device type, operating system, screen resolution, etc. Because these IDs are not reliant on PII, they have greater scale in terms of availability. However, they are less accurate compared to deterministic IDs.
While there’s 40+ proprietary ID solutions on the market, the AdRoll Supply Team actively monitors adoption of each ID across our supply partners and will continue to build support for the most reliable and prevalent alternative identifiers available. Click here to learn more about which alternative IDs AdRoll supports today.
Contextual targeting is a strategy that involves placing ads next to content that is relevant to a target audience. For example, a cookware company might run ads on a recipe website, or a running shoe company might run an ad on a news article about the Boston Marathon.
Launching a campaign using contextual targeting on most ad platforms is relatively straightforward. You select a general category for your ad group or specific keywords that describe your ad’s content. In the cookware example above, you might choose cooking, skillet, or meal prepping.
Using the parameters, the ad platform will crawl various sites in its ad network, specifically checking for web pages’ keywords, contextual information, site content, and alt text. Armed with this information (plus any other filters you’ve selected, such as language and location targeting), the platform will identify eligible placements for your contextual ads.
Contextual targeting is valuable beyond just the fact that it doesn’t rely on 3PCs. Brands using this type of targeting are able to ensure their ads show up in environments that are highly relevant to their audience, leading to more engagement and clicks.
Click here to learn more about how AdRoll can help with your contextual targeting efforts.
Publisher First-Party Audiences
Publishers have always been the focal point of where marketers reach their target audience with ads. However, they also sit on a wealth of first-party audience data as well. Using first-party cookies, publishers can track user interests, behaviors, or actions observed on the publisher’s website. They may also collect off-site data such as social, subscription data, customer feedback, surveys, and other types of information stored in their CRM.
By partnering with advertising technology vendors and data management platforms, publishers can leverage these data sources and insights to create audiences for marketers to activate on their own properties. These audiences can then be activated across programmatic buying channels via a few different methods:
Private marketplace deals (PMPs)
Publisher first-party identifiers (i.e., Publisher Provided Identifiers)
Due to the lack of standardization of audiences from publisher to publisher, these tactics are used less so compared to 3PC solutions that exist today. Still, they are options we are exploring for the future state.
The Future of Web Advertising Post 3PC
While it’s still unclear exactly what the future state of web ad targeting will look like in a post-3PC world, we know there will be no silver-bullet solution. This is why AdRoll is committed to playing an active role in developing new standards along with other industry leaders and building support for any existing and emerging tactics.