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Preparing for a Cookieless Future

It’s the hottest topic in the industry right now, as marketers brace for the declining use of third-party cookies.

Apple kicked off the trend last year, blocking the use of third-party cookies by default. Then Google announced that by 2022 it will stop selling web ads targeted to individual users’ browsing habits. Chrome will no longer allow cookies that collect that data. 2022 is shaping up to be a brave new identity world. 

While the moves by Apple and Google certainly increase privacy for consumers, they create uncertainty for marketers. Many of the metrics currently used for campaign targeting, buying, and measurement will no longer be applicable. Marketers need to strategically employ people-based identifiers today to improve ROI as well as accurate measurement. 

In its 2021 Guide to Advertising without Cookies, Live Ramp recommends that marketers begin planning now for the cookieless future to come. It identifies the top-five outcomes that marketers can expect to achieve when they activate media plans to start measuring people-based identifiers. This “power of five” includes: 

Better customer experience

Advertisers can reduce media spend waste by activating customer data to link it with a people-based identifier, helping build robust first-party data. To accomplish this, they must unify their approach to identity and addressability across online and offline channels. Whether customers are interacting with brands in-store, on a company’s website or mobile app, or even through call centers, every touchpoint and every engagement need to be cohesive, personalized, and precise.


Consumers move in and out of channels and devices several times a day throughout their path to purchase. That’s why device-based identifiers like cookies are fundamentally flawed, making media attribution often imprecise. For example, cookies can’t distinguish individuals on shared devices such as computers and tablets, target and measure consumers on cable boxes or connected TV, and bridge online and offline data. People-based identifiers provide a more accurate measure of data connectivity.


Live Ramp estimates that 60% of the average media spend is measured through the walled gardens of Facebook and Google. When it comes to the open web and buying through DSPs, most advertisers rely on cookies to measure campaign effectiveness, making it difficult to compare and assess. Using people-based identifiers through DSPs allows for more consistent measurement of web spending.


No doubt you’ve heard the carpenter proverb, “measure twice, cut once”? Live Ramp says the same care and planning should be used in preparing for advertising in a cookieless world. It advises marketers to begin benchmarking now, using a persistent ID, and run their usual campaigns in tandem with testing and buying  people-based identifiers to create critical baselines.

Improved ROI

With people-based identifiers, accuracy is achieved because 100% of impressions can be measured across the entire advertising ecosystem. There is no data loss due to cookie syncs, taking the guesswork out of conversion analysis, frequency optimization, and suppressions. Ad dollars are precious. People-based identifiers allow advertisers to measure with precision and maximize their ROI.



Do you have a plan for a cookieless future? BNO can help you get ready, from strategizing and benchmarking to developing targeted, compelling creative that can grow your audience and create people-based, first-party data.  Let’s connect.


*Verizon Media