As the January 1 deadline for the California Consumer Privacy Act draws nearer, pockets within the ad industry are foretelling doom and gloom for our future state of affairs. Warnings from marketing bloggers predict ominous changes to the industry, with included roadmaps to surviving this marketing apocalypse. This panic-driven mindset is akin to Y2K hysteria, an event you may remember possibly participating in, as the world as we knew it could have transformed back to a primordial pumpkin as the clock struck midnight. Like Y2K, the “death of the cookie” is something based on truths but ultimately blown out of proportion from media hype.

separating truth from hype—3 common concerns

HYPE: COOKIES ARE DYING!!!

truth: cookies are alive and well

The hype around Google Chrome’s cookie policy changes were too exaggerated, in our opinion, and the devil is in the details.  Peeling the onion, Google Chrome provides an option for consumers to distinguish 1st party and 3rd party cookies in a relatively easier manner than the prior versions.  While this provides more transparency & control to the consumers, and we’re all for it, we believe, the majority of consumers won’t even notice these controls. Similarly, under the CCPA, sites will be required to receive user consent to how their cookie is collected and how it will be used. The question is: Will this prompt keep audiences away from viewing content? So far the evidence says no. Studies in Europe have shown that after GDPR was enforced (similar legislation to CCPA), 90% of visitors continued to grant consent. The reason being, while the upfront transparency and added step of confirmation may provide an experience change, the value of a site’s content is ultimately what attracts and repels audiences. You won’t see users snubbing articles they want to read because of a prompt just like you won’t see someone with a sweet-tooth put down a candy bar because the label shows high calorie content.

HYPE: 3RD PARTY DATA QUALITY CAN DECREASE!!!

truth: data quality may actually increase

After Europe passed GDPR last year, the resulting loss of cookies was mostly considered to come from the less defined and less reputable long-tail of websites and aggregators. Call us glass half-full types, but we see this as a benefit to data analysis, where losing the long tail only allows for stronger signals and more accurate insights. With a thoughtful and streamlined aggregation approach, results can ultimately deliver more accuracy and a better read on where cookies are coming from.

HYPE: EVERYTHING MAY BE FINE NOW, BUT EVENTUALLY IT WILL ALL COME TO AN END!!!

truth: there are readily available 3rd party alternatives to the cookie
Even if everything falls apart in the cookie world, which won’t conceivably happen for a while, there are current and future alternatives such as MAID’s (Mobile Advertising ID’s) and standardized user IDs – an industry-wide collaboration of ad tech platforms and premium publishing brands to reduce the number of third-party requests while providing security and control for all users. The leading industry initiatives from the Advertising ID Consortium include the LiveRamp IdentityLink Solution, TTD’s Unified IID solution, and IAB’s Digitrust ID.

At Affinity Answers, we’re excited about the future and continued evolution of programmatic advertising, and we look forward to an industry thriving on transparency and quality consented data.

About Affinity Answers: Affinity Answers helps marketers develop enhanced audiences through brand-level data based on social affinities. The only major audience company with broad access to consumer engagements across Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, Affinity Answers provides an unparalleled view of the connections between brands and customers. Affinity Answers provides syndicated and custom audiences that aid in complementing or extending the reach of current media buys.