Over the past few years, since Europe passed the GDPR in 2018, the industry has been on the precipice of major shifts in the digital landscape as similar privacy laws start to restrict the use of cookie targeting.

The privacy restrictions, thus far, have all specifically targeted third-party cookies, and that is expected to continue as more states start to follow California’s lead and pass similar legislation. Unlike first-party cookies which allow for a one-to-one connection with users and a publisher, third-party cookies take that one step further and allow publishers to provide their first-party data to resellers so that advertisers can transact on them in the digital space to reach their audiences. The privacy advocates have raised concerns that the current use of third-party cookies keeps the users in the dark as to how their data is being collected.

To date, Safari and Mozilla Firefox have stopped supporting the use of third-party cookies. Google has announced that by early 2022, Chrome will also stop supporting the use of third-party cookies. Most recently, Apple has enforced leading service providers to reduce Identifiers for Advertisers (IDFAs), following similar trends in the industry.

With the deprecation of third-party cookies and IDFAs, the digital landscape will be fundamentally changing and key capabilities are at risk of no longer being available to advertisers. The types of targeting at risk include behavioral targeting, ad sequencing, audience targeting, frequency capping, and view-through attribution.

With these changes looming, various groups have been trying to create a solve that would shift the control into the consumer’s hands, while still allowing publishers to retain their revenue streams and advertisers to layer on key targeting segments. The key trend that has popped up in recent weeks is around educating the consumers on how and why their data is being used. LiveRamp recently announced its Identity Link product, while The Trade Desk and other partners have launched their Unified ID 2.0. Both products function by having the top publishers require consumers to log in via an email address that can be anonymized for increased security. This shift provides consumers with clear notice and choice on how their data is being used and gives them a chance to opt-out if they don’t want their data to be used. These services are rolling out over Q1 2021. In order to prepare for the sunset of cookie targeting, MayoSeitz Media recommends that advertisers begin testing these new solutions and evaluate performance against current targeting opportunities.