Third-party cookies will soon be off the menu.
But even if 3P cookies weren’t on Chrome’s chopping block, brands would need a strategy to navigate signal loss online, said Chip Overstreet, CEO of Spiceology, a DTC company that sells spices, rubs, flavoring and condiments primarily online.
“Even in a world where third-party cookies exist, there’s still a huge swath of consumers who have already blocked them,” Overstreet said. “The problem is here today – it’s not a future challenge; it just gets more challenging in the future.”
Spiceology is used to rolling with the macro punches.
Addressing addressability (or the lack thereof) requires a similarly flexible approach.
Cooking up alternative IDs
Three-quarters of Spiceology’s traffic is mobile and, of that, 60% comes from Safari, which has blocked third-party cookies by default for years. Even first-party cookies expire after one day on Safari, unless a user revisits the website and resets the cookie.
That’s a lot of non-addressable traffic.
To try and reach or retarget these audiences, Spiceology has been working with Parrable, a digital identity management company that helps brands retarget users in environments where third-party cookies aren’t available.
Parrable uses what it calls an “anonymous device ID,” which, on its face, sounds like a contradiction in terms.
Think of it as a first-party ID solution that’s not all that different from Epsilon’s PubCommon ID, said Carla Holtze, CEO and co-founder of Parrable.
When someone visits the website of one of its publisher clients, Parrable creates a pseudonymous ID that gets stored as a first-party cookie. The IDs themselves don’t contain personal information, and their sole purpose is to help buyers recognize a browser or device when they encounter it without resorting to fingerprinting.
“We’re an agent of the publisher and the advertiser, and they integrate with us to place our first-party ID on their site,” Holtze said. “Our algorithms then allow us to associate those first-party cookies together on a single device.”
Buyers and sellers (Holtze claims Parrable has its ID on “tens of thousands of websites globally”) primarily use the technology for cross-channel targeting and measurement.
Your audience is served
After placing Parrable’s pixel on its landing pages, Spiceology used MediaMath to find available impressions and retarget devices programmatically across Safari, Firefox and on Chrome, where third-party cookies are scheduled to disappear next year.
Using the Parrable ID, Spiceology could identify and reach 60% more of its site visitors than before, consistently across browsers.
“Irrespective of what browser you’re using, this solution should be performing exactly the same, because it’s simply lighting up consumers who were previously dark,” Overstreet said. “It’s just a matter of whether or not I can find you.”
Although, in some cases, Safari generates more valuable traffic.
“We know that the Safari browser generally has more affluent people using it and the effective CPA and CPC we see there is, on average, a little better than on Chrome,” said Anudit Vikram, MediaMath’s chief product officer.
Which means that increasing the amount of addressable traffic on Safari can sometimes generate better value for the marketer, Vikram said.
“Before, we were dependent on a smaller footprint that we could understand based on first-party relationships,” he said. “But now pseudonymous relationships can also be lit up on Safari.”
Which sounds good, but also begs the obvious question: What if Apple decides to release an updated version of Intelligent Tracking Prevention that cracks down on this practice?
“If you understand how our technology works, you can see that we’re privacy-first and you could say we’re closely aligned with their privacy policies,” Parrable’s Holtze said. “But, yes, there’s always a risk.”