Do you like cookies? I do. I like the fancy ones they sell in Whole Foods.
If they are healthy they taste awful and if they taste awful, they are healthy but then they no longer are cookies.
3rd party cookie tracking is like that. They personalize the web for us but they also spy or hold the mirror to us on our bad hair days. There is just no healthy cookie.
The digital mainstay for advertising (3rd party cookie-based targeting) is going to be completely phased out in 2022. Television which used to be the mainstay of CPG advertising is much like cruise ships. You can sell adult diapers there. For everything else, you head to Facebook or Tiktok. Brands that realize the need to build or rent communities (Note: Link to last week's article, if possible) or look past 'clickstream' and 'cookie' based advertising will survive. Digital is about to get brutal for everyone else.
In an amazing display of copywriting panache, IAB has christened its effort to find a 'cookie' alternative - 'Project Rearc'. My fingers hurt when reading a word that ends with a 'c'. But what hurts me more is the verbal soup. Project Rearc is all about harmonizing privacy, personalization, and community.
So what is Project Uncookie?
Animated the what? Who did they reform? Who did the OJ ads enlighten?
The no-nonsense framing of the problem
When you say things that are difficult to understand, you either haven't understood them yourself or you don't want to be understood. I don't know what the case is but IAB surely can use some good articulation, especially when they are talking about 'shit hitting the roof' level problems. There is a dollar number to the problem. It's about $35B of ad revenue for the OpenWeb (a.k.a platforms/businesses without an audience relying on 3rd party cookies to sell you whatever that you drunk-browsed on Friday night). Shit doesn't just hit the roof but...Nah, I will keep things hygienic in your inbox.
To me, the problems to solve are,
1. How can we show personalized ads to consumers without mindlessly tracking everything they do (Here's what happens when you track every damned thing)
2. How can we make it easy for shoppers to know why are they being targeted for things they didn't explicitly look for, and
3. How can we give them the power to alter or turn-off targeting
1. We need to collaborate a lot
2. Cookies are bad but we need them for media planning.
3. We need to educate customers that tracking is not bad. It's important to keep the web free.
So what's the solution? It looks like none as yet. It's just been 26 years. So it's unfair to expect a solution right after Google's announcement of phasing out of cookies.
Google or Apple or Facebook don’t treat IAB or any industry body as worthy of bringing to a negotiation table. They were just informed about a decision.
I doubt any of “Rearc” will lead to a replacement solution if it is not going to be blessed by the walled gardens.
IMO, hashing emails or mobile identities and salting could be a technical solution (not even sure how secure they really are) but the optics suck.
I do see hope in the way of 'purchase data' that retailers have. With today's data science capabilities, we can solve the problem of linking 'purchases' to 'implicit sensibilities'. PipeCandy is approaching the problem from the brand's end - mapping what sensibilities they stand for and project those sensibilities onto the consumers that buy them.
We are talking to retailers and banks and everyone in between.
There is a promise. But there is also a huge mess. What's the incentive for retailers to share 1st party data? How do consumers gain control over their data?
The easiest answer is not to solve these problems but avoid them. Dig into one’s own CRM and know more about your customers and their sensibilities (as discovered by their interactions with you and the brands you sell). I don’t use ‘sensibilities’ lightly here. It’s a hard task but one that is the best among the worst/limited options out there.
I hope Project Rearc finds some magical answers in time before the cookies go stale.
In the meantime, if you are sitting on a lot of consumer purchase data or know someone who does and wants to build a responsible ad solution within their own walls, we have some great uncookies to bring to that potluck. Refer them my way!
PS: 'Hey to Oy!' is a gem coined by IAB and not me.
- Ashwin Ramaswamy
PipeCandy is a market intelligence platform that tracks the global eCommerce & 'direct to consumer' landscape.
You are receiving this newsletter because you subscribed to newsletter or interacted with the PipeCandy website.