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June 20, 2024
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When Cookies Go Away, You’ll Be Glad You Mastered These 3 Advertising Alternatives

Despite third-party cookies being phased out, there are still ways to effectively adapt your advertising strategy accordingly.

By: John Hall

Earlier this year, Google began its long-awaited cookie phase-out. On January 4, 2024, third-party cookies were switched off for about 30 million consumers. Though only about 1 percent of Google users were affected, the message was clear: It’s time for companies to get real about finding advertising alternatives.

Regrettably, most businesses have not heeded this wake-up call. According to Adobe research, 75 percent of marketers are still putting their eggs into the third-party cookie basket. And they’re not just putting a couple of eggs in, either. Many are investing nearly half of their available budgets into third-party cookie tactics.

Perhaps it’s just human nature to ignore the elephant in the room. However, it’s not practical or responsible. Those of us in advertising need to come up with alternatives — now. We can’t wait until the inevitable shutdown occurs. If we do, we’ll be left scrambling, which will only allow more pragmatic competitors to snag some of our market share.

It can be challenging to know how to effectively replace traditional digital advertising methods. After all, third-party cookies were the gold standard for a long time. Below are three starting points to make the inevitable transition more seamless and predictable.

1. ENRICH YOUR FIRST-PARTY DATA WITH ZERO-PARTY DATA

First-party data is a great asset to have at your fingertips because it’s based on the online behaviors of your site visitors. By amassing as much first-party data as possible, you can learn about the movement of those visitors. Yet first-party data doesn’t reveal the whole story. That’s where zero-party data fits in.

Zero-party data includes information that consumers directly tell you about themselves. Surveys, polls, and related exchanges all fall under the zero-party data umbrella. What makes zero-party data so compelling is that it represents clear insights rather than interpreted or presumed ones. With zero-party data, you can understand consumers on a deeper level. As a result, you can leverage your findings to generate truly engaging and personalized customer interactions.

Zero-party data is a useful tool to get to know customers of all ages, but it’s particularly important when connecting with Gen Z buyers. Marketing platform ViralGains highlights that Gen Z — a generational cohort becoming more economically influential every year — has a heightened sensitivity to data privacy and how brands communicate with consumers, noting more than one-quarter of Gen Z consumers will put their money toward purpose-driven brands. With zero-party data, you can more efficiently create intuitive content that answers consumers’ questions, solve their pain points, and build trust through personalization.

2. EXPLORE CONTEXTUAL AD PLACEMENTS

With your zero-party and first-party data in hand, you’ll have a nice springboard to experiment with your next stop: The world of contextual ads. Contextual ad placement isn’t new, but it remains untested by plenty of companies. The idea behind it is fairly straightforward: Your ads will run alongside content pieces that are a good context fit.

For example, let’s say your company sells beauty products including organically derived hair serums and masks. Contextual advertising would look for opportunities to place your ad next to an article on the benefit of using all-natural solutions to condition and repair damaged hair. As readers scroll through the article, they will be shown your ad. As an IAB study indicates, consumers are 87 percent more apt to click on an ad if it resonates with them. This means that a well-placed ad has an improved chance of getting conversions.

While contextual advertising might sound easy, it requires some serious planning. Your keywords have to be spot-on. Otherwise, your ad could wind up adjacent to content that doesn’t make sense. You also need to be choosy about the platforms where your ads will appear. Again, you can use the zero-party and first-party data at your disposal to pinpoint exactly which platforms are the go-to places for your target audience.

3. ADD INFLUENCERS INTO YOUR MIX

Expanding your reach without third-party cookies is less daunting when you work with influencers. No matter what your industry or offering, there’s an influencer for your brand. By forming partnerships, you can cut through the online noise and introduce yourself to consumers.

According to proprietary reporting from Influencer Marketing Hub, approximately 85 percent of businesses plan to fund influencer campaigns this year. In other words, you’ll be in good company. You just have to find the right influencers to work with.

In your search for influencers, strive for a vision-to-vision match-up. The best influencer partnerships have alignment between the influencer and the brand. It’s better for you to work with only a couple of well-matched influencers than to hire a team of influencers with big followings but low alignment.

By focusing on zero-party data, contextual advertising, and influencers, you can fuel your marketing initiatives as cookies disappear.

This article originally appeared on Inc.

About ViralGains

ViralGains is a software company that creates authentic connections between brands and consumers through the power of online video. The ViralGains platform is the first of its kind that maximizes online video views, shares, and conversation in real time while measuring and optimizing viewer sentiment. ViralGains' collaborative technology was designed to help marketers and agencies of all sizes engage viewers in relevant, choice-based digital environments making it the first truly consumer-centered video distribution platform. ViralGains was founded in 2012 and is headquartered in Boston's beautiful Innovation District, with regional offices in New York, Chicago, Detroit and Los Angeles.

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When Cookies Go Away, You’ll Be Glad You Mastered These 3 Advertising Alternatives

Despite third-party cookies being phased out, there are still ways to effectively adapt your advertising strategy accordingly.

By: John Hall

Earlier this year, Google began its long-awaited cookie phase-out. On January 4, 2024, third-party cookies were switched off for about 30 million consumers. Though only about 1 percent of Google users were affected, the message was clear: It’s time for companies to get real about finding advertising alternatives.

Regrettably, most businesses have not heeded this wake-up call. According to Adobe research, 75 percent of marketers are still putting their eggs into the third-party cookie basket. And they’re not just putting a couple of eggs in, either. Many are investing nearly half of their available budgets into third-party cookie tactics.

Perhaps it’s just human nature to ignore the elephant in the room. However, it’s not practical or responsible. Those of us in advertising need to come up with alternatives — now. We can’t wait until the inevitable shutdown occurs. If we do, we’ll be left scrambling, which will only allow more pragmatic competitors to snag some of our market share.

It can be challenging to know how to effectively replace traditional digital advertising methods. After all, third-party cookies were the gold standard for a long time. Below are three starting points to make the inevitable transition more seamless and predictable.

1. ENRICH YOUR FIRST-PARTY DATA WITH ZERO-PARTY DATA

First-party data is a great asset to have at your fingertips because it’s based on the online behaviors of your site visitors. By amassing as much first-party data as possible, you can learn about the movement of those visitors. Yet first-party data doesn’t reveal the whole story. That’s where zero-party data fits in.

Zero-party data includes information that consumers directly tell you about themselves. Surveys, polls, and related exchanges all fall under the zero-party data umbrella. What makes zero-party data so compelling is that it represents clear insights rather than interpreted or presumed ones. With zero-party data, you can understand consumers on a deeper level. As a result, you can leverage your findings to generate truly engaging and personalized customer interactions.

Zero-party data is a useful tool to get to know customers of all ages, but it’s particularly important when connecting with Gen Z buyers. Marketing platform ViralGains highlights that Gen Z — a generational cohort becoming more economically influential every year — has a heightened sensitivity to data privacy and how brands communicate with consumers, noting more than one-quarter of Gen Z consumers will put their money toward purpose-driven brands. With zero-party data, you can more efficiently create intuitive content that answers consumers’ questions, solve their pain points, and build trust through personalization.

2. EXPLORE CONTEXTUAL AD PLACEMENTS

With your zero-party and first-party data in hand, you’ll have a nice springboard to experiment with your next stop: The world of contextual ads. Contextual ad placement isn’t new, but it remains untested by plenty of companies. The idea behind it is fairly straightforward: Your ads will run alongside content pieces that are a good context fit.

For example, let’s say your company sells beauty products including organically derived hair serums and masks. Contextual advertising would look for opportunities to place your ad next to an article on the benefit of using all-natural solutions to condition and repair damaged hair. As readers scroll through the article, they will be shown your ad. As an IAB study indicates, consumers are 87 percent more apt to click on an ad if it resonates with them. This means that a well-placed ad has an improved chance of getting conversions.

While contextual advertising might sound easy, it requires some serious planning. Your keywords have to be spot-on. Otherwise, your ad could wind up adjacent to content that doesn’t make sense. You also need to be choosy about the platforms where your ads will appear. Again, you can use the zero-party and first-party data at your disposal to pinpoint exactly which platforms are the go-to places for your target audience.

3. ADD INFLUENCERS INTO YOUR MIX

Expanding your reach without third-party cookies is less daunting when you work with influencers. No matter what your industry or offering, there’s an influencer for your brand. By forming partnerships, you can cut through the online noise and introduce yourself to consumers.

According to proprietary reporting from Influencer Marketing Hub, approximately 85 percent of businesses plan to fund influencer campaigns this year. In other words, you’ll be in good company. You just have to find the right influencers to work with.

In your search for influencers, strive for a vision-to-vision match-up. The best influencer partnerships have alignment between the influencer and the brand. It’s better for you to work with only a couple of well-matched influencers than to hire a team of influencers with big followings but low alignment.

By focusing on zero-party data, contextual advertising, and influencers, you can fuel your marketing initiatives as cookies disappear.

This article originally appeared on Inc.

About ViralGains

ViralGains is a software company that creates authentic connections between brands and consumers through the power of online video. The ViralGains platform is the first of its kind that maximizes online video views, shares, and conversation in real time while measuring and optimizing viewer sentiment. ViralGains' collaborative technology was designed to help marketers and agencies of all sizes engage viewers in relevant, choice-based digital environments making it the first truly consumer-centered video distribution platform. ViralGains was founded in 2012 and is headquartered in Boston's beautiful Innovation District, with regional offices in New York, Chicago, Detroit and Los Angeles.

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