Lessons and Learnings from the Cookieless Now Summit London

Lessons & Learnings from the Cookieless Now Summit London
Estimated Reading Time: 12 minutes

Today’s marketing and advertising environment can often feel like chaos. Google Chrome deprecating support for third-party cookies, although no true date for when. A seemingly new privacy regulation every week further limiting access to consumer data used for targeting and optimization. Consumers requesting privacy protections while at the same time demanding a personalized experience. It can be overwhelming. 

Through all of this, it is important to remember that ‌foundational use cases and goals have not changed. For advertisers, this means getting the right message to the right consumer at the right time to drive performance as efficiently as possible. What does change, however, are the methods available to accomplish those goals. The solutions available to advertisers in the shifting environment were the topic of discussion at the Cookieless Now Summit in London on April 10, 2024, as InfoTrust hosted the event to bring clarity to the landscape. Let’s review each of the sessions and key takeaways that you can begin using today in your organization. 

Powering Durable Marketing in a Changing Digital Ads Ecosystem

Paul Coffey, Managing Director Horizontals, GTM EMEA, Google

In the opening keynote, Paul Coffey set the scene for the changing landscape and outlined how Google is approaching the changes. The foundation for future success with Google’s advertising solutions is consented, first-party data. For organizations to effectively execute a sound first-party data strategy, they must focus on three areas for durable measurement:

  1. Preserve existing measurement using tagging solutions and up-to-date consent collection
  2. Strengthen conversion setups with privacy-safe features
  3. Enrich the comprehensiveness of durable conversion tracking by importing advanced values and using first-party audiences

These three principles open the opportunity to lean on built-in modeling and AI capabilities in Google products to gain a fuller view of consumer behavior, which can be leveraged for reporting and optimization. Many of these capabilities, such as Enhanced Conversions, Consent Mode, and Customer Match, were detailed as means of accomplishing traditional use cases in the face of increasing signal loss from privacy constraints. Finally, Paul discussed the importance of leaning on partners to collaboratively accomplish success. 

Privacy by Design: Optimizing First-Party Data Strategy Through Compliance

Lucas Long, Head of Global Privacy Strategy, InfoTrust

With the increased importance of first-party data, it is critical for organizations to center consumer privacy rights for all strategies and solutions being adopted. While it is unrealistic to expect advertisers to moonlight as compliance professionals and understand all of the nuances of global regulations, it is important for marketers and advertisers to be compliance conscious

In the second session of the day, Lucas explained a common privacy framework, Privacy by Design, for advertisers to internalize and begin applying to their day-to-day activities. Each of the seven principles were explained, with examples for how successful organizations have implemented each.

  1. Proactive, not reactive; preventative, not remedial
  2. Privacy as the default
  3. Privacy embedded into design
  4. Full functionality – positive-sum, not zero-sum
  5. End-to-end security – lifecycle protection
  6. Visibility and transparency
  7. Respect for user privacy

With these seven principles, advertisers can have a base understanding of what it means to be compliance conscious and begin to be privacy-centric in strategy and solution design.

Success in a Privacy-Centric World: Building Your First-Party Data Tech Stack

Cemil Toksöz, Product Line Director, Media and Adtech, Reckitt

Federico Bianco, Sr. Strategic Partnerships Lead, InfoTrust

While successfully implementing a privacy strategy can improve consumer trust to make first-party data available, that data still needs to be collected and processed to be made usable. In the third session of the day, Cemil and Federico discussed the optimal technical architecture for effective and efficient activation of first-party data. 

The pipeline begins at the point of collection, where advertisers need to establish standard data structures and taxonomies across all consumer touch points—both online and offline—to lay the foundation for downstream integration and analysis. Once collected, the future of data distribution is server-side tag management. With a server-side data collection architecture, organizations are able to fully control their data, opening opportunities for new data sources as well as destinations. 

Federico detailed some of the opportunities that flow from this—improving data quality by pulling information like transaction details from the e-commerce source of truth instead of relying on client-side data; passing behavioral data directly to an owned marketing data warehouse for advanced analysis; and modifying data in-flight to remove personal identifiers before passing on to third parties to reduce compliance risk. Cemil then provided practical experience for how to set this up and encourage adoption across a global scope of brands. 

Finally, various solutions available for first-party data products were reviewed for analysis, segmentation, and reporting. All in the service of extracting as many insights as possible to drive advertising strategy in a privacy-centric manner. 

Mastering Measurement: Cookie Deprecation’s Impact on First-Party Analytics

Claire Norburn, Ads Privacy & Regulations Lead (UK), Google

Madhu Baktha, Product Lead, Google Analytics, Google

The fourth session of the day switched gears a bit to focus on measurement, beginning with how third-party cookie deprecation will impact first-party measurement and how Google products are evolving to address the challenge. 

Claire began the session by detailing what changes and the signals that remain available to use in first-party measurement. It is important to remember that third-party cookies are but one of many signals available, while additional signals are being made available via solutions like Privacy Sandbox and enhanced measurement of first-party data. All of these signals are leveraged in Google’s platforms to fill gaps resulting from privacy constraints. 

Madhu then detailed what all of this looks like for Google Analytics 4 and provided multiple tactical recommendations for the audience to bolster their measurement activities. Three primary areas of focus were detailed:

  1. Provide the foundation for measurement and modeling capabilities with User Provided Data (UPD). Introduced were Google’s new UPD features as well as Enhanced Conversions.
  2. New signals available from Privacy Sandbox. Support for these new browser APIs is being built directly into Google Analytics 4 to help solve for audience activation, conversion measurement, and user journey measurement. 
  3. Modeling to close the gap for privacy-centric and cookieless measurement. New Google AI capabilities in-product provide advertisers with behavioral modeling, conversion modeling, and data-driven attribution to maintain a view of consumer behavior both on owned and operated digital properties as well as for advertising campaigns. 

Future-Proofing Your Strategy With Modern Measurement

Michelle Raubenheimer, Global Data Transformation Lead, Google

Michael Loban, Chief Growth Officer, InfoTrust

While in-platform fundamentals and product features can help close the gap for measurement on owned and operated digital properties, advertisers also need new methods for measuring campaign performance and cross-channel analysis. Michael and Michelle covered a suite of these strategies and when to apply each. 

With the challenge of signal loss, it is important for advertisers to stack solutions together to accomplish optimal cross-channel budget allocation. The three categories of solutions to focus on are MMM, Attribution, and Experiments:

  • MMM combines online and offline marketing efforts to determine ROI by activity. It is an approach that can be run quarterly/annually to gain a view into performance across channels for past campaigns. 
  • Regression-Based Attribution looks at online media data and conversions to measure the relative results of different activities. It is faster and less complex than MMM and provides predictive outputs for scenario planning given differing strategies and tactics. The approach should be run monthly. 
  • Aggregate Campaign Analysis is a deterministic approach to attribute conversions to specific digital touchpoints at the campaign-level. By moving “up a level” from user identifiers, this is a robust method to measure the success of various campaign variables to leverage for optimization. This approach is continuous and real-time. 
  • Incrementality testing is an experimentation approach which measures the relative uplift of macro performance indicators for a test campaign, which incorporates a variable tactic compared against a status-quo control campaign. This approach allows for privacy-centric testing of new strategies on an ad-hoc basis. 

By incorporating all four of these approaches on an ongoing basis, advertisers can understand past performance, predict the impact of changes to media strategy, and identify which new tactics are leading to success. This mix is the foundation for a modern measurement framework. 

Personalized Advertising Beyond Cookies: Exploring Alternative Solutions

Roberto Ruju, Vice President, Advertising Platforms, InfoTrust

Following the first five sessions, advertisers now have solutions to focus on for first-party data collection and activation, as well as solutions for measurement in the privacy-centric environment. In the remaining sessions of the day, the focus switched gears to highlight methods for improving the effectiveness of targeting. In the first of these, Roberto discussed a decision-making framework that can be applied for the testing of “cookieless” solutions. 

The advertising environment is quickly changing in often uncertain, complex, and ambiguous ways. Given such a scenario, advertisers need a method to evaluate the many solutions being introduced to understand the right mix for their specific needs. The approach recommended is the Observe, Orient, Decide, Act loop. 

  • Observe – Build a picture of the current situation. What activities are you doing today? How are they likely to be impacted by regulations and third-party cookie deprecation? What options are available to mitigate risk and continue achieving target business outcomes?
  • Orient – A sober evaluation of the observed facts and evaluation of alternative tactics/strategies. What solution(s) should be tested? How can a test be accomplished? How will success be measured?
  • Decide – Decide upon what to test, when, with whom. Design tests. 
  • Act – Test, measure, understand, and report findings. Based upon findings, decide if and/or how to incorporate the new solution. Start the process over again. 

Several examples examining common activities like retargeting for search, behavior-based retargeting, reach in social, affinity group targeting in programmatic, and attribution of social campaigns were covered using this framework to bring it to life for the audience. At the end of the day, it is critical to accept that information is incomplete and will change, but a simple and standard approach to quantifying impacts and testing solutions will lead to success in the long term. 

Privacy-Centric Media Enhancements With Value-Based Bidding

Kunal Deshmukh, Client Sales Engineer, Google

Gabriela Garcia Fischnaler, Senior Analytical Consultant, Google

Much of the fear and focus in the industry is centered on how to maintain effectiveness in targeting. While this is extremely important, advertisers have an additional strategy for optimization by making their media spend more efficient. In this session, Gabriela and Kunal focused on ways to enhance media outcomes with aggregate data modeling and value-based bidding. 

A core reality of business is that not every customer brings the same value. With value bidding, advertisers can focus marketing budgets to reach higher-value customers, thus maximizing media budgets and leading to more efficient investment. A challenge for optimizing budget allocation in this way is the lack of user data traditionally inherent for businesses with many offline touch points. This challenge is now present for all organizations in light of privacy constraints. Aggregate data modeling addresses this by assigning value to micro-conversions throughout the customer journey to create real-time estimates of sales attributable at a granular level. This enables attribution and value-based bid optimization for identified high-value actions, all with the use of privacy-centric aggregate data.

To get started with Value-Based Bidding, advertisers need to follow five steps:

  1. Gather data
  2. Create and fit the model
  3. Identify High-Value Actions (HVAs) from the model
  4. Translate HVAs to activation
  5. Measure success

Aggregate data modeling via Value-Based Bidding is a tried-and-tested methodology with proven success. It allows advertisers to have a faster time-to-insights than user-level modeling and is not reliant on increasingly fleeting user-level data. The approach is applicable cross-platform so can be leveraged in both Google and non-Google products, making it a key foundation for optimized media strategies at any organization. 

Strategic Insights: Enterprise Perspectives on Testing & Strategy

Danielle Perkins, Senior Account Executive, InfoTrust

Merwan Benarbane, Senior Manager, AdTech & Data Strategy, Coty

Phil Jackson, Global Digital marketing Effectiveness Innovation Director, Haleon

All of the sessions throughout the day focused on various solutions and areas of focus that advertisers should begin adopting to be successful in the face of regulatory changes and third-party cookie deprecation. While all are useful, ultimately those strategies must be implemented and executed to realize success. In the final session of the day, enterprise advertisers Merwan and Phil brought their perspective on how they have approached many of these solutions thus far in their respective organizations.

Topics of discussion centered around their approach to using consumer data in light of compliance requirements, metrics of focus to measure success, and working with partners to explore capabilities of new channels such as retail media. The sentiment was shared that it is important to prioritize the testing mindset and for organizations to clearly understand their target outcomes and the solutions available to meet them in the shifting environment.  

It is a time of change for the advertising industry. A re-focus on first-party data; shifts in the architecture for effective data collection; signal loss and resulting changes to measurement; new solutions being proposed to account for these changes; and new strategies available for optimization. In light of all of this, there is no silver bullet for all scenarios. The Cookieless Now Summit London did a wonderful job of exploring how solutions are evolving and different approaches available to advertisers to piece together in the development of a privacy-centric competitive advantage.

Interested in learning more about solutions available for your organization?

Contact us today to start the conversation.

Author

  • Lucas Long

    Lucas Long is co-author of the Amazon best-selling book, Crawl, Walk, Run: Becoming a Privacy-Centric Marketing Organization. He is also the Director of Privacy Strategy at InfoTrust, working with global organizations at the intersection of digital strategy, privacy regulations, and technical data collection architecture. Through these efforts, Lucas helps companies understand their limitations for data enablement due to privacy challenges and design optimal ways to accomplish core use cases in a compliant manner.

    When not discussing the intricacies of GDPR and cookie laws with clients, Lucas enjoys traveling and exploring new cultures, one bite at a time. Based in Barcelona, he is also a presenter, featured at industry events organized by Google, the Digital Analytics Association, the American Marketing Association, and the Journal of Applied Marketing Analytics.

    View all posts
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Originally Published: April 16, 2024

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April 16, 2024

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