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BizReport : Advertising : May 21, 2020

CPG brands: How to adapt to cookie-less marketing

Over the past five months, we've heard more about cookie-less advertising and how marketers can adapt post-cookie, especially with Apple and Google announcing plans to phase out data cookies. But much of this focus has been on the impact of going cookie-less to verticals like apparel and home goods. What about CPG brands? They are just as dependent on cookies and consumer data to engage.

by Kristina Knight

Kristina: How important are data cookies to CPG brands?

Evgeny Popov, EVP, Global Data Solutions, Lotame: 
Every brand will need to adapt to a cookie-challenged world. CPG is no different. For CPG, the majority of brand data (first party) is tied to a CRM, POS (point of sale), and transactional offline data. In order to make that data actionable or addressable in the ecosystem, CPGs rely on third-party cookies. So Safari, Firefox, and soon Chrome blocking third-party cookies completely will negatively impact reach, frequency management, and scale. That's a lose-lose situation for CPG brands and definitely for consumers who will miss out on frequency management and connecting with their favorite brands. Cookies were never intended to be used (and abused) as they have been so it doesn't come as a terrible surprise to the tech side of the ecosystem that transformation is upon us. At Lotame, we've had tech in place to prepare for this eventuality for sometime. 

Kristina: How are cookies different for, for example, an apparel company versus a CPG brand?

Evgeny: They're not. Their use is essentially the same but what may be different is whose cookie the brand relies on. An apparel company is most likely dropping a first-party cookie every time a user visits its site. A CPG brand doesn't have that luxury as most consumers don't visit their sites directly but rather buy from retailers, ecommerce, or in person. So CPG companies rely on third-party cookies more to connect the dots about consumers. However, Safari has put a time limit on both first-party and third-party cookies so again, all brands will be impacted by a cookie-challenged future. 

Kristina: With both Google and Apple announcing and implementing cookie-less plans, what do CPG brands need to do now to adapt their digital strategy?

Evgeny: Well hopefully CPG brands (and their agencies) have planned for this already as we've all known it was coming for at least 2 years if not longer. If not, there's considerable work to do. My advice is seek out your peers for advice and look to trusted partners for guidance on data-driven and future-proofed strategies. One size fits all approaches won't work for CPG brands nor for consumers.  I wouldn't throw in the towel on the cookie-challenged web. There are myriad opportunities to learn more about consumers and engage them meaningfully and respectfully in the cookie-challenged web and cookieless media such as native mobile media (in-app), digital out of home media (DOOH), programmatic audio, and OTT. Media fragmentation will only increase and there's a wealth of IDs in these channels to use for segmentation, prospecting, and analysis. In order to do that, you'll need reliable and scalable identity solutions that support connectivity and collaboration across the ecosystem. Isolationism and relying on first-party data alone -- while valuable -- is short-sighted. You may as well give away your market share to your best competitor. 

Kristina: What about in six months - how should their cookie-less strategy evolve heading into the holiday season?

Evgeny: Seize every moment to learn more about customers. Enrich your first-party data with high-quality and curated attributes and behaviors from reputable second and third-party providers. This should be an always-on activity, but especially important ramping up to the holidays. Do your due diligence now into identity solutions and connectivity. Focus on collaboration with publishers -- talk to them and your peers and partners. It's human nature to connect and truly as we've all been reminded over the last few months our relationships are everything. 

Tags: advertising, advertising cookies, advertising strategy, advertising tips, cookieless advertising, Lotame

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