The cookie is crumbling. It’s time for digital advertising to start baking

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Jim Messina is the mastermind behind President Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign and is an internationally recognized expert in reaching and informing the target audience through the contemporary mass media.

I hate cookies. They make me (and you) feel like I’m being watched. We are all familiar with the experience of browsing online for headphones and are followed on your social feed and other sites you scrolled with reminders to buy them before the sale ends. Most consumers have a love / hate relationship with individual-level targeting (a.k.a. cookie tracking), where the actions of web users can be tracked seamlessly across the Internet and applications. They prefer to curate content that appeals to their interests but hate the invasion of their personal data.

It’s no industry mystery, this well-worn digital tool that has helped build digital advertising into a highly efficient, $ 350 billion market, as well as connecting billions of people to the products and services they want.

Yet despite the red flags and adequate warning signs, many advertising teams and companies are not ready to lose these capabilities.

Change is not a four-letter word: the successful tactics of the Obama campaign

On President Obama’s re-election campaign, we had the opportunity to shape the way we digitize in the future. We tried new things, failed, and learned from them – so that we could finally make something better and more innovative than we have ever done before. Now, almost a decade later, we have the same opportunity. The end of the cookie age is an exciting opportunity for the best marketers in the advertising industry to reach out to our audience and be creative about more sustainable approaches to support a better balance between personalization and privacy.

Recent regulatory, consumer and advertising technology trends reinforce how important this balance is to the future of digital.

The California Consumer Privacy Act (a future model for other state and federal privacy laws), the default blocking of third-party cookies by major browsers, and most recently, Apple’s release of iOS 14.5 and new app tracking transparency rules are all intended to give consumers. More control over their personal information – what is being collected, how it is being used and how to dislike it. In Apple’s case, mobile device users need to choose ad tracking for software updates. Only 4% of Americans did.

And while the cookie is still lame, it will certainly be a thing of the past when third-party cookies will be removed from Google Chrome as planned in 2023.

Next cookie: Looking to the future of digital advertising

Those long-term tracking options are still being developed and being tested, making the so-called “death of the cookie” no less scary for advertising teams. Around the lake, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) has already provided a preview of what is going to happen: the implementation of like-and-dislike has reduced clicks, increased bid prices and reduced revenue for firms that previously relied on cookies. .

But instead of trying to work around these tectonic changes in the digital advertising space, we should Hug Despite the disruptions in the advertising market caused by the GDPR, over time, that became normal: the data that remained was cleaner, and the leads were better.

For consumers, it’s hard to argue with users who have more control over one of the greatest assets in our modern economy: their data. The massive growth of the data economy is not a boon for web users. Trafficking in their data – whether it’s personally identifiable or who they are, the anonymous digital profile of what they like and where they spend their time online – puts them at great risk. Massive data breaches are excellent examples of everything from large retailers and healthcare companies to digital platforms and financial institutions.

It sounds intuitive, but seeing people as products is the key to success. As President Obama ran for re-election, we realized that behind every campaign metric and data point is a real person, whose value is tied to our values. By tapping how, we were able to get supporters involved with the message and our goals in a meaningful way – one that made campaigners and voters feel like we were achieving our goal. We built real relationships with members of our audience that weren’t just practical.

In the years that followed, increasingly sophisticated tracking technology favored large companies over smaller ones. Data collection – and selling that data to advertisers – is big business. And small businesses and brands that can’t afford to play are out in the cold.

But we need different platforms and techniques to reach a diverse and ever-targeted audience. We used every possible platform to build relationships with Obama supporters, and we created our own tools to measure cross-channel efforts. This was true not only to build our alliance, but also to raise funds. We know that the key to our success does not lie in one big platform, one big high-profile organization or one major PAC. We’ve expanded our reach and maximized our fundraising by diversifying across channels, locations and people – by pushing across more than a dozen social networks to better understand and nurture our audiences.

The explosion of cookies is not good news even for advertising agencies. The ability to target and re-target customers has focused on the hard work of creating high-quality content that connects users for extended periods of time and that is cross-linked to other trusted sites across the web. And it encourages teams to survive in Silos, where data and digital can function independently of the functions of other major organizations.

On the way to the campaign, we quickly learned that voters in our audience have more interesting things to say about our organization – and more compelling ways to say it – than we do. So, we didn’t take shortcuts with stock photos and tired quotes. We made sure the creative is authentic, and it tells real stories about both our candidate and everyday Americans. And we’ve invested the time needed to develop these stories for a rich format range so people can find them wherever they are. We reached out to them on the blog, in their emails, on YouTube, while they were browsing the Internet and on Twitter, and integrated those stories into speeches.

But no matter where we met people, we always met them with the same keynote, and that’s because we were able to build a campaign organization and culture that promotes seamless collaboration across teams. Digital, data, communications, the field, research and strategy work together to deliver an integrated message – a message guided by President Obama’s supreme vision. A clear and honest view of what we are offering the American people.

So perhaps the death of a cookie may not be the death knell that many in the advertising industry fear, but it will be an exciting opportunity to move forward with trial tactics working in the evolving digital world. The death of a cookie is a push in the right direction – towards something infallible, something new and something good.

Jim Messina is the mastermind behind President Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign and is an internationally recognized expert in reaching and informing the target audience through the contemporary mass media. In 2013, Messina launched TMG. Earlier, Jim served as Deputy Chief of Staff and former senator at President Barack Obama’s White House and senior adviser and chief of staff to Max Box, the ambassador to China.

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