A Guide to Marketing Measurement in a Cookieless World

A Guide to Marketing Measurement in a Cookieless World

19 February 2023 |

Media and Advertising Industry

Understanding Marketing Measurements in a Cookieless World

As we navigate society’s greater focus on privacy expectations we need to help marketers better understand how marketing can be measured in a cookieless world.

From Audience-First to Privacy-First

As marketers, we froth over a good marketing funnel.  With an audience-first focus, acquisition strategies have thrived upon the ability to prime new users, nurture them through the funnel and convert and retain them through re-marketing efforts.

However, as we shift to a privacy-first landscape, the phasing out of third-party cookies will certainly impact this. Internet browsers have already created ad blocker and tracking prevention features and as such, it’s becoming more challenging to track online users across platforms. 

Acquiring Zero-Party Data in a Cookieles World

So, how can advertisers address this depreciation of user data? One concept that can help is that of  “zero-party data”,  which represents data that customers actively share with companies. The most common forms of this are email sign-ups, surveys and quizzes. Zero-Party data focuses less on transactional signals and more on higher-level attributes, such as communication preferences, demographics and interests. As a result, it provides valuable information to help customise ads and user experiences.

The rise of zero-party data has been a critical driver of the significant growth in Content partnerships, which are projected to grow 5x by 2025 due to publishers’ deep understanding of their audience base, which is heavily based on zero-party data.  So, there’s a wealth of audience insights here that advertisers can tap into.

Effective Marketing Measurement

Whilst our visibility of users’ behaviours across digital platforms is diminishing, these users are still very much present on these forums. In 2022, global social media usage increased by 10% and as of Jan 2023, it’s up 4% YoY.  The most successful advertisers will be those who understand this and maintain media investment. However, to achieve this, we still need to be able to measure our advertising efforts across these platforms. As such, we’ve explored two effective methods for measuring performance in a cookieless era.

Incremental Lift Studies

The first is incrementality studies. With the sunset of third-party cookies,  deterministic data will no longer be available across all platforms.  We’ll need to leverage probabilistic modelling as well, which is the underlying methodology on which lift studies are based. 

Google, Meta, TikTok and most major ad platforms now offer conversion and brand lift studies.  They’re becoming increasingly popular as a way to understand the value of a channel in the face of advertising walled gardens. 

The underlying premise of these studies is that brands should focus less on granular data and more on the fundamental and simple question “When I invested in this platform, was it incremental to my bottom line”?

A bonus is that most lift studies don’t come with additional costs. They’re often based on a minimum media spend, making them more accessible to brands of all sizes. 

Correlative Attribution Modelling 

Brands are increasingly investing in awareness activity to offset the loss of third-party cookies and in-app tracking. For these advertisers, correlative measurement is an effective way to measure awareness’s impact on the bottom line. 

One correlative method is measuring brand search uplift. For example, an advertiser running a radio or OOH campaign might incorporate a CTA for users to search for. Advertisers can then analyse the uplift in search volume in specific locations or among specific audiences.

In my opinion, in the cookieless world, it will be imperative that advertisers start exploring these different ways of measuring campaign success. This is critical to ensure brands continue investing in the right channels and tactics to reach their target customers.

If you want to know more or see what measurement options are right for your business, reach out to our ADMATICians today.