Embracing the Cookieless Future: Real Consumer Intent Signals and the Rise of Quality Advertising

A Glimpse into the cookieless future – and with it, the promise of real consumer intent signals

Written by Jordan Hyman, Senior Vice President of Sales at Nativo Inc.

Media buyers and CMOs alike could be forgiven if, more than two years in, news of cookie deprecation out of Google’s HQ was met with a yawn. After all, the “yes it’s happening, now it’s not, game on, game off” cycle has felt a bit like "The Boy Who Cried Wolf".

The news came earlier this year: Google would shut off third-party tracking cookies for 1% of Chrome internet traffic in early 2024. Finally, a glimpse into what’s ahead – and with it, the promise of real consumer intent signals that will replace what has defined successfully attributed digital advertising for nearly a decade.

Frankly, it’s about time.

In tests that Google ran earlier this year using its “Privacy Sandbox,” a suite of tools meant to replace cookies, performance against cookie-based media was almost apples-to-apples at click-through-rate and other historical benchmarks. The number of people who clicked on ads in the Sandbox was within 90% of the status quo. Not bad.

Fast forward, and the upside is all about reclaiming privacy for consumers and replacing it with quality signals of intent, interest, and loyalty for brands. No longer will marketers need to hope that I’m still the person in my household who maybe once ordered fast food from a third-party delivery service. Now they will be able to speak more accurately to me as a frequent UberOne user who would do anything for his next Popeye’s spicy chicken sandwich.

Despite ongoing press coverage of angst among CMOs and publishers alike, I’m guessing most brands and media companies are ready.

Nativo, for one, started testing a “cookieless” solution for clients several years ago. Since we act as the native ad server for our publisher partners, we have access to over a decade’s worth of predictive customer signals - signals collected from hundreds of native content programs that we have run across the 4,000+ premium publisher websites in the Nativo network across the open web. And like the results of testing in Google’s Privacy Sandbox, our tests work – to the tune of improved click-through rates and in turn, a 2x-3x uptick in clicks from native content to the brand site.

Performance from our own predictive audience testing is why we’re so interested to hear brand executives talk about the signals they’ve been testing with first, second and third-party data. It’s even more exciting to hear what’s happening amid the messy mid-funnel and how performance and engagement metrics are further accelerating with help from AI and related contextual testing.

Net net, we’re ready. So hustle up, Google.

If you'd like to learn more about our Predictive Audiences solution along with contextual advertising and targeting, fill out the form below. Someone on our team will reach out.


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Watch our on-demand webinar to learn cookieless targeting solutions, how to measure success, and more.