HOW TO ADAPT FOR THE COOKIELESS FUTURE

{PODCAST} In-Ear Insights: How To Adapt For The Cookieless Future

In this week’s In-Ear Insights, Katie and Chris tackle the question on every advertiser’s mind: how to adapt for the cookieless future? What should we do about the cookieless future? What things should marketers know – what’s going away? What’s still available? What strategies should marketers pursue to no longer rely on third party data about customers? Tune in to find out!

Key points from this episode:

– The cookieless future refers to the declining use of third party cookies by marketers, due to privacy regulations.
– Without cookies, marketing agencies will no longer be able to retarget or collect data from users without their consent.
– To adapt to the cookieless future, marketers should create things that people are willing to sign up for, and focus on driving awareness.
– A cookieless future presents an opportunity for contextual advertising, which does not require personal identifying information.
– To avoid a cookieless future, companies should create good quality content and be honest with their customers about how their data will be used.

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Machine-Generated Transcript

What follows is an AI-generated transcript. The transcript may contain errors and is not a substitute for listening to the episode.

## Christopher Penn 0:00
In this week’s In-Ear Insights, let’s talk about the cookieless.

Future and how you as a marketer should be adapting to it.

So Katie, where do you want to start with the the declining use of third party cookies by marketers and the associated ad tech that goes with it?

## Katie Robbert 0:20
I mean, I think that in itself is a great place to start.

So just sort of like a quick recap as to what the cookieless future really means.

You know, my understand, excuse me, my understanding is that basically, privacy regulations have become stricter in terms of people just not wanting their data to be shared with any old person, any old company.

So basically, marketing agencies, marketing companies that have been reliant on cookies to retarget.

And sort of collect a certain amount of data from users basically, without consent.

It’s not that it’s without consent, but consumers aren’t super savvy as to where cookies are, what kind of data they collect.

And so moving forward, those cookies will no longer be available for marketers to use in terms of targeting their audience by interest by other websites that they visited, and collect any kind of identifying information.

And so that’s sort of in a nutshell, what the future of mercury marketing cookies would look like, third party cookies.

And so now comes the question of, well, what are marketers supposed to do?

## Christopher Penn 1:36
And what are what are they supposed to do?

## Katie Robbert 1:39
Well, you know, cry panic.

You know, and I’ve been saying this the whole time.

If your marketing team has been solely reliant on those third party cookies, yeah, you’re gonna be screwed, you’re gonna have problems, but creating things, giving your consumers and your audience an opportunity to opt in saying, I’ve created something so compelling, and so interesting and relevant to you, audience member that the audience members, like, you know, what, okay, you can have some of my identifying information so that I can have that piece of content, you know, that sort of like the unicorn scenario, that’s not the easy path.

But that is, you know, a path worth exploring is basically creating things that people are willing to sign up for.

And that kind of solves the problem.

## Christopher Penn 2:32
It solves the problem from once you’ve gotten the audience member to a property that you own, but for folks who have ad budget, what are they supposed to spend their money on?

## Katie Robbert 2:46
Awareness, quite honestly, awareness is a really great place to start.

And so you can be running search ads.

You know, keyword targeted interest art targeted for your ideal customer.

Because basically, you need to get the audience to you in the first place, they need to find out about you.

You know, with everything that’s going on with Facebook, and Twitter and other social platforms, relying on social ads, to drive awareness, or even organic social is going to become increasingly difficult, if even possible at all.

And so other kinds of advertising is having a resurgence, you know, even think about, you know, offline advertising, traditional marketing, essentially, I don’t know why we call it offline, it’s traditional marketing.

You know, finding ways to reach your target audience that aren’t reliant on digital platforms, such as, you know, social media.

You know, it’s great to say that you want to have an email subscriber newsletter, but people need to know about the email newsletter in the first place.

So again, it goes back to, you know, how do you drive awareness and where we’re from where I sit? SEO and search ads are the best way to do that, because people turn to Google first people turn to YouTube first.

## Christopher Penn 4:09
Yeah, the thing that has struck me about a lot of the cookieless conversation is that marketers are so like you said, they’re so addicted to demographic segments.

You pop up on your favorite ad tech tool and say, I want to market to mid 40s Asian dudes, right? And you just select that segment and hit go.

And people have been kind of sleeping on contextual advertising, right.

So if you’re if we’re selling, for example, analytics, consulting services, or selling coffee, or selling cheeseburgers, whatever, there’s so much content available now on the internet, about those particular topics in all these different channels that you probably don’t need to advertise Eyes on to a segment, you do need to advertise on relevant content, right? So if there’s a popular influencers blog or Twitch channel or something that covers our topic, why do we care who we don’t care who’s watching, right? We care that they’re there for that purpose.

So if I know that say a certain percentage of my audience loves just absolutely loves World of Warcraft, I’m going to go advertise on channels and podcasts and things that discuss that.

Because if we know from our audience, that’s what they care, that’s what they care about.

That’s how they become you know, what they’re involved in? Why wouldn’t we advertise in a contextually relevant way that doesn’t need any personal identifying information, we can ask our existing customers or prospective customers, hey, what else you into? You know, do you really like Mariah Carey’s Christmas music? If so, then we advertise on Spotify targeting that particular content, not the person, and then we can say, yeah, we’ll we’ll sort of throw out a trawler net, like you said, awareness and grab the attention of the audience that is interested in that particular content.

And then we might find, you know, there’s, there’s actually a wide variety of demographics in interested in that particular class of content, and we can capture more of them than targeting just 45, you know, 45 year old Asian dudes.

## Katie Robbert 6:28
So, you know, it’s, it’s funny, because, as we’re talking about these third party cookies, that’s part of the data set that companies are looking to collect already interests and you’re talking about, so just go ahead and target the interest.

So how does you know a marketing team who has been reliant on those third party cookies to understand the interest? Go ahead and find out the interest without those cookies, so that they can do that contextual advertising?

## Christopher Penn 6:57
That’s really good question, the answer is probably in your basic SEO tool, right? Go and fire up a Tresor SEMrush or Moz, or whatever, type in your top 10 keywords, look at the publication’s the places that show up for that put in your top hashtag on Tiktok, or Instagram, whatever, and look at the top 10 channels that pop up and say, Okay, do these people accept ads? Do or sponsors or whatever? And if so, how much? Is it gonna cost me to do that? And then you reach out to those those producers and those content creators and say, hey, it looks like you know, can you send me your your, your ad kit, I want to run you know, I want run a site or run a channel on your YouTube channel for 30 days.

What’s that? What’s that going to cost me and it’s not rocket surgery to identify the people in your space, we’re creating content that is relevant to your audience.

## Katie Robbert 7:53
So let’s say you know, okay, I can’t get interest from third party cookies, I can’t get interest of my audience from a whole lot of places now.

Is it weird or strange or sort of unconventional to send a survey to your existing customer base and say, Tell me about you outside of the context of the services we provide for you outside of the products? So we typically serve B2B marketing teams.

And so our conversations are focused around B2B marketing.

Would it be weird? Or would people sort of raise an eyebrow and go, I don’t get it.

If we sent out a survey and said, Do you like hiking? Do you like dogs? Do you like pizza? You know, like, where? How does? I understand that? Yes, we can do it.

That’s not the question.

The question is, do you think that customers would be receptive and open to giving that kind of information?

## Christopher Penn 8:57
If you tell them what they’re using it for? And you explain how it’s going to be used? I don’t think so.

Certainly, I you know, if I think about our community, I think people would find it kind of interesting, like, say, Hey, would you share your your favorite Spotify playlist, whether it’s yours or not? Right? And then you, then we take that one piece of code that I wrote that has previously had no application whatsoever, and say, look at the top songs on our audiences, Spotify, playlists, look at it, and say, Okay, can we target people who are interested in these artists? Knowing that that’s our, you know, that is from our community and the we could get a decent amount of information that way.

You’re about to ask people for their favorite, you know, recipes for the holidays.

What sites are they going to link up as you’re going to be? Everyone from all recipes is going to be pioneer woman who’s going to be in that mix.

You absolutely can’t ask people for any information voluntarily.

And people are more likely to respond with it if they know how it’s going to be used.

I mean, that’s kind of the crux of why we’re talking cookieless in the future, because there’s a whole bunch of companies that didn’t really ask permission and never explain how they’re going to use this data.

When we’re saying, Yeah, we want, we want your help indirectly, to reach more people like you.

The I think, you know, the prerequisite for this is also saying, hey, we’d love it, if you would refer us to your colleagues.

But if you’re not willing to do that, or you can’t do that, or whatever, at least tell us where else we can find people like you because we think that you’re a valuable person.

## Katie Robbert 10:34
Well, and that’s, you know, what it all comes back to is helping the consumer understand how their data is going to be used.

And now I can see there’s all kinds of pushback from companies saying, No, we put that in our terms and conditions, and people just check the box.

Yeah, your terms and conditions are eight pages of legalese that, you know, you’ve written in such a way that nobody’s going to bother reading it.

So they just check the box.

And then, you know, when they get indignant about how their data is being used, you’re like, Well, you check the box, you said it was fine.

That piece that companies need to do a better job of, of demystifying, simplifying, and being just completely transparent of what they’re going to do, because it’s a bad look, it’s a super bad look for a company who has made it difficult for their customer, to understand what they’re signing up for.

And then for the company to turn around and go, How is that my fault? It is your fault.

Because customers talk to other customers, they go into their private social networks, they go into their private communities where you, the company are not invited, and they’re going to trash talk you behind your back sometimes openly to your face.

And it’s going to be damaging to your reputation.

So making it clear, hey, I’m going to collect your data, I’m going to use it to mark it to you and to other people, like you give people the option.

If you have created a product or service or piece of content that people cannot live without, they will willingly give you that information.

So it really comes all back to you the company, creating good quality, valuable things, and then being honest with people.

And that’s how you get around the cookieless.

Future.

## Christopher Penn 12:30
Exactly.

And if you can’t create that content yourself, for whatever reason, then partner, don’t open up your wallet, get your credit card and partner with creators who can.

I mean, it’s It is that simple, not easy, but it’s that simple.

If there’s somebody in your space, that is just creating the stuff that your audience wants, and you see from just their external numbers, that they’re having the level of success that you would like to partner up with them.

It’s you know, I, there’s a piece of advice that I thought was really sage from our friend, Andy Crestodina, at barking across B2B forum, he said, never create content alone.

Instead, if you if you have the opportunity to collaborate in any way, with somebody, you’re automatically going to extend your reach.

And if you’re collaborating with your customers, or you are the creators within your customer community, that’s, that’s a slam dunk.

## Katie Robbert 13:25
Well, and now you’re starting to talk about that user generated content, you know, effort that a lot of companies don’t go down because, you know, you have to corral people, you have to, you know, edit it, you have to give them some context.

But as we are getting less and less opportunity to be lazy about collecting information, wouldn’t user generated content make a whole lot of sense.

## Christopher Penn 13:51
There has been an explosion in the last year and a half, two years of individual created newsletters on platforms like medium substack.

Get review, although get reviews getting shut down by the end of the year, which is unfortunate if you had a newsletter based on that service.

But that’s that’s, that’s what happens.

Ghost, you name it, as well as more traditional newsletters, find who’s making newsletters in your space, right? Even if they’ve only got 5000 subscribers, whatever.

Guess what, that’s an audience that if if the newsletter is about the topic that you care about, partner up, figure out, you know, what content of that newsletter is doing really well? What content does the audience seem to resonate with? substack just announced subscriber chat where you can open up private chat and all private social media community within substack for people who read substack newsletters, talk about a great place for you to as a marketer to subscribe to something and then just see who’s talking about what in those places.

To your point, people are going to be having those conversations behind closed doors and there’s more and more opportunities for that than ever.

The opportunities are out there.

## Katie Robbert 15:06
So and I do want to sort of point out, this is different from, you know, so let’s say, you know, your company hasn’t been collecting audience data, this isn’t the same as Okay, let’s just get our CEO on a bunch of podcast to talk about what we do.

Because any, like, that’s been around forever.

And most of the time, you know, when you have a talking head like that, unless they’re telling a compelling story, then that’s not necessarily the thing that’s going to bring the community together, they’ll be like, oh, you know, Chris is on yet another podcast talking about attribution.

Okay, you might reach a different audience, you might reach a slightly different audience.

But dig deeper, really try to connect with those audience members engage with them, because that is just sort of a one way street, they’re just listening, they’re not giving an opportunity to then also weigh in and give you feedback.

## Christopher Penn 16:00
Exactly.

Cross across the streams as as Ghostbusters would say, you figure out ways to to emerge audiences together to get in front of each other’s audiences.

Joe Pulizzi did a great piece of content marketing world this week, this year talking about how you need to use.

Think about time as remnant inventory.

And if you’ve got time slots, in your content feeds, fill them up with other stuff, you know, cross audiences as much as possible partner up with external partners.

One thing that we’ve been talking about with, with Trust Insights, and all of our other digital properties is can we make essentially a master feed that brings all of our content together in one place, so that if you want to listen to marketing over coffee, and you want to listen to In-Ear Insights, and you want to listen to us gonna answer all that, that we have the inventory, we may as well make sure it’s being seen and heard that level of collaboration now, though, granted, those are properties we all own internally.

But there’s nothing saying we couldn’t go out to our friend, Carrie, go go and say, Hey, can we loop in some of your content? Or use some of your remnant inventory? In terms of time slots, in your content feeds?

## Katie Robbert 17:18
Yeah, no.

And I think that, you know, partnerships, collaboration, community, all of those things.

They just make logical sense.

It’s more personal.

It’s how you get to make those connections.

Because even you know, let’s say that third party cookies aren’t going away.

There’s nothing personal about that.

It’s still a very cold, impersonal experience, where, you know, I’m basically making broad assumptions about the people that I’m collecting data on.

So it’s essentially the same experience of me walking into a room and making snap judgments about you know, each individual person that’s in there, without talking to them without getting to know them.

And so, you know, I could walk into a room, I’ve never met you, and I would look at you and go, Okay, I think he looks like he’s Asian, I think he looks like he’s, you know, in his 40s, I think, you know, he, you know, looks like this, He probably likes this, I’m making assumptions based on that very superficial layer.

And so even if third party cookies weren’t going away, it’s still very superficial data, you’re still not getting to know people, you’re still not giving them what they want.

So even if you still have the opportunity to use that data, you still need to dig deeper.

## Christopher Penn 18:40
Exactly.

And with some interests, you know, they cross wide lines, we’ve talked in the past, the whole Netflix special on my little pony and who likes my little pony right now, the the eight to 14 year old girls, but also the 26 to 40 year old dudes.

If you’re relying on those superficial characteristics of data, you’re only going to target one of those markets, and the market you’re not targeting has like 1000 times the disposable income of an eight year old.

So if you want to make some money, put aside the superficial stuff and focus on the context and the content so that you’re showing up for the right topics.

You know, if you think about one of the things that Tiktok does, brilliantly that other companies don’t, is their topic focused, you don’t really spend a whole lot of time following people for people sake on Tiktok you follow topics and ideas, and the algorithm tends to recommend videos that are on the topics that you’ve shown interest in.

So you will be put in front of new creators fairly frequently in the in the for you feed, and it’s all topic based.

Right? So if you are targeting if you’re if you’re advertising, if you’re looking at where to spend some ad budget, you know, looking at who’s consistently hitting those, those those wins.

on your topic, and partner up with them.

The other thing that is important about partnership and collaboration is that, you know, you know what you were saying earlier, we are at a very challenging time with big ad tech, all these different companies are experiencing the throes of right sizing, if you will.

And the only way that we as marketers escape from it relatively unscathed is by banding together by pooling our audiences together, because we can’t rely on the audience’s coming out of big ad tech anymore.

## Katie Robbert 20:36
No, and that’s, that’s exactly it.

So if you are still relying on Twitter ads, Facebook ads, sure, you may be able to afford them.

They may be converting, but are they the right audience? I’m gonna go out on a limb and say probably not, or they’re not a qualified audience, they might be somebody who’s happy to read all of your content for free, but they’re never going to do anything, they’re never going to buy anything from you.

And pretty sure, at the end of the day, I mean, I don’t have a business degree.

But pretty sure at the end of the day, companies want to make money.

## Christopher Penn 21:13
We were doing some work for a client of ours that sells very high end products, very high end home renovation products.

And they’re seeing, they were seeing very high conversion rates on their Facebook ads, but not high conversion to sales, qualified leads.

And what we found when we started digging into the data was that Facebook was sending them a lot of leads, but they were crap leads, they’re people who are the wrong theory sort of fit the general demographic profile, but they had no money.

This company sells products that are 1000s of dollars.

And so in those cases, that company would be better off partnering with a type of similar content, people who buy this particular home renovation thing probably also buy like Viking stoves, right, super high end, you know, kitchen stoves, they would have been better off looking at who’s doing like home or kitchen renovation or stuff like that, you know, real popular channels on YouTube and advertising on those specific channels, hey, while you’re putting a $15,000 refrigerator in your kitchen, you might want to do the same thing with with this other party, this other product.

Again, it’s all that context, and you don’t need cookies for that.

No cookies for that.

You just need to know your customer.

## Katie Robbert 22:38
And that’s, you know, it’s I think last week, we were talking a bit about the voice of the customer.

And you kept asking Chris, like, but why don’t companies do this? Why don’t they do this, it seems so easy.

It’s easy.

In theory, it takes work, it takes actually taking the time to build a connection to build that trust with your customer, with your audience, so that they will open up and tell you what you are asking you.

Yes, you can just you know, walk into a room, you know, of strangers and go, tell me your deep, dark secrets and tell me all the things that you’re interested in so that I can use that information for my benefit, you can go ahead and take that tactic.

But I guarantee you’re not going to get great results.

However, you have, if you play a little bit of a longer game, if you get to know someone in an authentic way to say, you know, I’m really interested in learning more about you.

Here’s why.

Because if I understand what you’re interested in, then I can make better content that benefits you, I can make better content that will attract more people like you, you then will additionally get the benefit of being able to connect with other people who are similar to you.

So if you help me understand more about you, I can find other people for you the customer can to connect with and by extension, I can find more people to benefit from our services.

And so you’re doing the exact same thing, but you’re having two different conversations.

## Christopher Penn 24:11
Exactly.

And the danger with sort of the aggregation of data is that you lose some of the interesting edge cases that demonstrate that you really know a customer Larry Kim talks about this a lot.

He calls them double unicorns, little things that intersect that show that you know your audience the example he gives us people who really like who are maybe liberal in their political perspective, and who really likes Star Trek Deep Space Nine one of the many Star Trek shows that audience there’s a decent overlap in that Venn diagram.

But if you make a piece of content that references both those things, that content hits so much harder because to that intersection group that people like, how did you know that that was exactly me? whereas if you’re just making one or the other, it doesn’t hit as hard.

So when you’re doing that voice, the customer work when you’re when you’re in doing those focus groups, those one on one interviews, don’t throw out the edge case data.

You know, they say like, okay, this person really seems to like the Martha Stewart Snoop Dogg collaborations.

That may be a single edge case, but it might be just something that people don’t express because they will feel safe doing so.

But if you were to create content around that, that particular topic you might find that hits really hard with a certain percentage of your audience.

## Katie Robbert 25:37
And, you know, with that, sort of with the Astra caveat of don’t just mash things together just to see if you can reach people do it in a way that makes sense.

## Christopher Penn 25:48
Exactly.

So we’re gonna do our Snoop Dogg collaboration.

## Katie Robbert 25:53
That doesn’t make sense.

## Christopher Penn 25:57
Right? What are you what are your plans for the quicklace? Future? How much context and content targeting are you planning on pivoting to as opposed to focusing on demographics and add segments? Let us know over in our free slack group go to trust insights.ai/analytics for marketers, where you have over almost 3000 other marketers are asking and answering each other’s questions every single day.

And wherever it is you watch or listen to the show.

If there’s a platform you’d rather have it on instead, pop on over to trust insights.ai/ti podcast where you can find us on most other channels.

And while you’re there, if you’re on that channel, please leave us a rating and a review.

It does help us share the show without having to make Snoop Dogg collaborations.

Thanks for tuning in.

We’ll talk to you next time.


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