A Cookie-Less Future Is a “You” Problem

August 5, 2021

Since Google made its announcement that it would delay the deprecation of cookies within its Chrome browser until 2023, there’s been a collective sigh of relief. However, there are two camps for such sighs: those who wish to wait as long as possible, and those who can’t wait to begin testing new tech and get a leg up.

You want to be the latter.

Why? Because the performance and financial models we’re beginning to see suggest that doing nothing will result in a 70% loss in media attribution and 15% loss in revenue gained, that’s why. Considering that digital consumer experience is now the dominant way people interact with brands, the loss of cookies is perhaps the greatest challenge we’ll experience since the invention of secure e-commerce.

Who do you think is going to care about that? Might I suggest your board of directors, CFO, or CEO? I would imagine so. If you’re a CMO or VP of marketing, you very well will need to answer to a sudden drop in performance. And, let’s be honest: Your CFO or CEO most likely has no idea what’s going on with cookie loss. And why should they? That’s not their job. That’s ours. They’re responsible for allocating resources and holding people accountable. Could be a tough sell without up-front communications about the process of migration away from cookies.

This is a “you” problem to solve prior to the switches being flipped. And by you I do certainly hope you have supportive partners (might I suggest one like Ciceron) to turn this into a “we” challenge.

The first step in this entire process is to determine with exactness just how vulnerable you really are. We are taking our first clients through Vulnerability Studies that thoroughly examine their current media-mix models, which channels are most impacted by the market becoming cookie-less, build the financial and performance models to show fall-off, then, most important, lay out the specific plans to replace old ways with new tech, new data, and new approaches. 

These plans are essentially insurance policies or hedges against a deprecation in performance. In fact, done well, performance should improve because future models will largely be based upon a brand’s first-party data as the core for the models. First-party data is the data that essentially describes your best customers and targets. Using this data as the basis for new models means you’ll be reentering the market with excellent intentions and solid targets to attract more and more people like your best people.

I hope you will imagine a time when the CEO or CFO comes knocking on your door and says, “Seems like things are moving along according to plan” rather than asks, “What the hell is happening? Our revenue is off by 20%.” I assure you, the latter scenario will happen to those who do nothing or wait until the very end or do nothing at all. 

There’s work to be done, and that work has to begin now. Use the time Google has given us to assess your vulnerabilities, get your first-party data in order, and begin testing new ID tech in your marketing mixes now. I would also recommend you communicate now to your executive teams what challenges you are up against, how you plan to address them, and request additional budgets for testing outside of current operating budgets. You’re going to need their support to navigate not only the next year-and-a-half of seismic changes, but also to give you the chance to do so while delivering the results for 2021 and 2022 you’ve agreed to deliver. This time period will be a solid two-track model, no matter what.

The next year-and-a-half doesn’t have to be a point of stress. But every month that goes by without adhering to a test-and-learn methodology will cause compounding anxiety for everyone.

Please talk with your Ciceron account person about these Vulnerability Studies, or feel free to reach out to me personally at andrew@ciceron.com.