Marketing chiefs must act now or sleepwalk into a cookieless nightmare

By Otilia Crizbasan
03 Aug 2022

“Everything will still blow up in your face despite Google delay,” warns Braidr data boss 

Marketing leaders have been putting the financial futures of their businesses at risk by failing to grasp the importance of dealing with the consequences of a future without cookies.

Despite Google last week confirming a surprise delay until 2024 in ditching 3rd party cookies, marketers are being warned that they must get their houses in order, now, or businesses will suffer financially.

Data collected by data intelligence firm, Braidr, indicates that fewer than 1% (0.83%) of Chief Marketing Officers (CMOs) in the US – and even less in the UK (0.25%) – have been engaging in crucial discussions about the cookieless future and the significant impact the shift will have on their businesses.

Braidr has analysed the Twitter profiles of more than 15,000 CMOs and similar professional roles across the UK and US over the past 12 weeks.

Far from engaging in what is perhaps the most significant digital shift since the introduction of mobile technology, marketing leaders are distracted by the role of AI in business. 

The vast majority are failing to discuss the impact that the loss of 3rd party cookies and increased privacy demands will have on marketing – and company finances, if not mitigated imminently.

Dora Moldovan, co-founder and managing director of Braidr, said: “It’s mind-boggling, and concerning, in equal measure that virtually no-one has been paying attention to the biggest online shift in front of us.

“Despite Google announcing a short delay, the next e-generation is looming incredibly fast, where everything that we’ve learned over the past 20 years, and the tools we know are going to disappear, yet CMOs are talking mostly about  AI, the Metaverse and Elon Musk. 

“While all these topics are exciting and sometimes entertaining, none of them will have such an immediate impact on the bottom line as the sunset of 3rd party cookies.”

As a leading expert in the cookieless future and data science, Moldovan’s advice to CMOs and marketing leaders the world over is stark:  

“You need to be asking yourself a crucial question today, and not tomorrow. Are you frickin’ data ready? Are you seriously data ready for everything that will blow up in your face in 2024? Because it will!”

Since Apple announced changes that make Identifiers for Advertisers (IDFAs) significantly less valuable than before, marketers have seen changes to their marketing costs and outcomes affected (especially on FB ads) and this is set to amplify once Google removes 3rd party cookies from its Chrome browser. 

In addition, Meta last week announced its first ever decline in revenues, blamed partially on Apple’s privacy changes – which make it harder for Meta to harvest user data for its targeting algorithms.

This is hurting not only advertisers but also the platforms themselves. The advice to marketers given by Google and Facebook is to turn to measurement, attribution, and activation of 1st party data.

Yet Braidr’s study of Twitter discussions among senior marketers shows that few are giving the subject the consideration it requires, with 20% of UK CMOs engaged in discussions about business strategy, including digital transformation (14% in the US). 

Data issues, such as business transformation, feature in 15% of marketers’ Twitter conversations, with a similar number in the UK discussing Elon Musk (11% in US). 

Facebook, Metaverse, Web3 including blockchain, make up another 14% of their conversations. 

“Failing to deal with the future will hit businesses’ bottom lines. They will pay over the odds for media-buying to find the same customers which they had up to now,” adds Moldovan.

“For smaller brands trying to cut it in the world, it’s going to be prohibitively expensive because targeting will be extremely broad, and it will be difficult to achieve segmented targeting, reaching the customers they really want.”

Braidr says the answer lies with data: from the way businesses approach tracking (moving towards server-side and API based) to implementing Google Ads Enhanced Conversions and FaceBook’s CAPI. 

Braidr points marketing leaders to Google Analytics 4 (GA4) or alternative products that are able to collect data without full reliance on cookies, as well as attribution and marketing mix models and the holy grail of the cookieless future – 1st party data activation.

Marketers’ focus should shift to understanding as much as possible about their customers: their behaviours (online & offline), their attitudes and beliefs outside their brand’s touchpoints, and their social presence/fingerprint.

London-based Braidr, part of the Tomorrow Group, launched last year and has won some big name customers. The agency acts as an outsourced ‘chief data officer’ for customers, and is the all-important bridge between non-data expert IT and marketing teams.

Moldovan concludes: “The cookieless future is here and it becomes imperative to know everything about your customers. Failing to know will cost your business dearly. If you want help preparing for your data future, Braidr is here to do just that.”


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