There’s been a lot of talk about Google eliminating the ability for marketers to use 3rd party data derived from cookies, and it’s been in a very “the sky is falling” tone. We want to clear up what’s actually happening, and what it means for digital marketing.
What are “Cookies”?
Cookies track in-browser user behavior in order to serve ads to receptive customers. For example, when we use a Behavioral Targeting tactic, we can serve an ad that is relevant to a user based on their web-browsing behavior. That behavior is collected as data by a “cookie” or pixel. The data will include information about page visits, ad clicks, or time spent on specific content. This is then aggregated to determine what that user is interested in, and ads are served accordingly.
For example, if cookies determine that a user is interested in a Caribbean cruise, that user will see ads for Caribbean cruises on websites and apps that they use. Behavioral targeting uses past actions to determine interest and purchases a user is likely to make.
So now what?
Now we focus on Contextual Targeting. Contextual advertising serves ads based on keywords, website content, and other metadata. The ads are shown to users based on the content they are consuming at that moment in time.
For example, that same person interested in a Caribbean cruise, will see ads for cruises on websites that are related to travel, cruises, the Caribbean (or any other keywords selected by the advertiser). The advertiser selects the keywords, and the user sees the ads on content-relevant sites.
In my opinion, contextual is more effective because the user is in the right frame of mind at that moment. The ads will likely stick better in their mind. This can really boost performance. The main difference between Behavioral (cookies) and Contextual (keyword) advertising, is that Behavioral ads target based on a user’s past actions, and can land anywhere, while the Contextual ads are based on user interest, and are served on pages with similar content.
So, the sky isn’t falling! Keyword selection and analysis will be an important part of any campaign, as will page SEO.
We’re on top of all of this. If you are one of our clients using digital marketing, we’ve got your back! If you need a little help, contact us. The change will be sweet!