To date, discussions about the ‘cookieless future’ have mostly looked at the issue from a technology and data perspective. The decision by the world’s major web browsers to no longer support third-party cookies – including Google’s decision to remove them from Chrome by 2023 – is primarily seen as a challenge for media, digital and performance marketing teams to grapple with.
It’s certainly true that as privacy rules tighten, and brands are forced to rethink their approach to data management, tracking and targeting, these teams will have a key role to play in imagining the cookieless future. However, less has been said about the essential role of creativity within this mix, and how the end of cookies presents an opportunity for advertisers and their agencies to rewrite the rules of customer engagement in new and exciting ways.
The end of cookies doesn’t mean the end of targeted advertising or hard-working digital campaigns, but it will require a new approach to acquiring and using data. In particular, the cookieless future places a much greater imperative on obtaining first-party data through customer consent. This means moving away from a third-party cookies approach in favour of building closer relationships with customers. To do this, consumers need to recognise the positive value they receive from brands in exchange for their data.
The cookieless future places a much greater imperative on obtaining first-party data through customer consent
Relationships are built on communication, engagement and brand behaviours that consumers buy into. This is where creativity becomes so important. It requires brands to become less reliant on push messaging and more adept at creating content, entertainment and experiences that provide real value to the customer, thereby prompting them to opt-in for data sharing.
As an integrated creative agency, dentsuMB has lots of experience in building these relationships. For Asahi Super Dry, for example, we delivered the Japanese beer brand’s first-ever global campaign in order to build an emotional connection with consumers and move it beyond a functional taste message. Our ‘Discovery is Calling’ campaign led to a comprehensive tool kit of creative assets that the brand is using to drive engagement with its target audience of ‘enrichment seekers’.
For UK woodcare brand Ronseal, meanwhile, a push into content – including its first branded entertainment TV programme – has positioned the brand at the forefront of DIY expertise, helping to forge new and deeper relationships with customers. Only by harnessing creativity can brands redefine their conversations and interactions with customers in such ways. That’s why any discussion about the cookieless future must bring the creative team to the table.
There remain many unknowns about what that future holds, particularly as platforms like Google continue to develop new policies and practices around data management and ad targeting. Understandably, this uncertainty would cause anxiety for brands and their agencies, but it should also be seen as a huge creative opportunity for those brands that are willing to rethink their value exchange with customers.
More broadly, the likely shift towards less – but better – data could also result in a shift away from shorter-term performance tactics in favour of more investment in brand building creativity. This can help to grow brands for the long term by driving up reach, consideration and engagement.
Dentsu is already bringing together specialisms in media, digital, data and creativity to ensure we rise to the challenge. It’s a powerful and essential mix as we prepare for the cookieless future in partnership with our clients.