Marketers prepare to target consumers without cookies

Most marketing executives think user tracking is about to become obsolete.

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The Future. Most marketing executives think user tracking is about to become obsolete with Google’s impending phaseout of third-party cookies, but no one knows what will replace it. Still, if advertisers want to keep reaching the right consumers, they’ll have to cook up new ways to find them without violating peoples’ data privacy.

Who’s who and how
Ad firms are split on whether or not they’ll need to identify individual users.

  • Some companies are building “personas” from datasets that examine the activity of millions of anonymous users on publishers’ web pages, creating groups with shared interests without identifying individuals.
  • Others are enlisting Gen AI language models to crawl the web and develop an understanding of online audiences based on their language — again, without singling anyone out.
  • But many firms believe identification is necessary, prizing info like a user’s hashed email address because it allows companies to track them across platforms and devices.

Tough cookies
We won’t know what the post-cookie world will look like until Google actually ends its use. But if general AI-based heuristics like “personas” truly work, we might all have a little more privacy — and marketers might be out of work.

Luke Perrotta


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