Preparing for a Cookieless Future: How to Approach Testing Identity Solutions

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Goodway Group Guide

Preparing for a Cookieless Future How to Approach Testing Identity Alternatives PREPARED BY

Amanda Martin VP, Enterprise Partnerships at Goodway Group April 2021

Goodway Group Guide


Understanding Where We Are Now In January 2020, Google announced plans to phase out third-party cookies in its Chrome browser within two years, as Google competitors Safari and Firefox already have. In addition, Google will undoubtedly phase out Google Advertising ID (GAID) for Android in the near future, and Apple announced plans to deprecate The Identifier for Advertisers (IDFA) on iPhones, having already instituted new App Tracking Transparency with the release of iOS 14.5. With digital advertising relying so heavily on third-party cookie data for personalization, targeting and measurement, brands must prepare and adapt to be successful in a cookieless world.

There’s no silver bullet — there isn’t a single solution that solves every challenge for every marketer when it comes to filling the gap left by thirdparty cookie data.

With this new digital advertising era on the horizon, several new cookieless identity alternatives have already been developed, with many more to come. But how do marketers know which alternative is right for them? First, it’s important to recognize there’s no silver bullet — there isn’t a single solution that solves every challenge for every marketer when it comes to filling the gap left by third-party cookie data. Rather, marketers must assess their goals, strategies and key performance indicators (KPIs) to determine the set of solutions that best meet their needs.

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Start Now by Assessing the Impact Review your current digital strategy to ensure you fully understand your reliance on cookies today and what gaps need to be addressed when third-party cookies are no longer available.

Evaluate and Enhance Your First-Party Data Assess both the quantity and quality of your first-party data, how you’re currently using it or could use it in the future.

• Where’s your first-party data coming from? (website, loyalty programs, etc.)

• Do you have consent and preference management in place?

• What data points are you currently capturing?

• Where’s the data being stored? How often is it refreshed or cleansed?

• Are there other data points you could be capturing that would be beneficial to your marketing strategy?

Assess These Areas Targeting Evaluate how you currently reach your target audience. Personalization Discover if third-party cookie data drives your personalization. Measurement Determine if your KPIs are third-party-cookie-dependent. Insights Leverage third-party data to enrich first-party data-driven insights.

• How are you currently using this data? Are you maximizing its full potential?

Define a Measurement Framework

Success Framework

Once you’ve thoroughly evaluated your first-party data and assessed the impact of third-party cookie data loss, define a framework for measuring the success of your marketing efforts going forward.

Primary KPIs What’s your overarching business goal and how will you measure success?

Be clear about your business goals and objectives and identify the performance metrics you can track without the use of third-party cookies.

Secondary KPIs What secondary metrics serve as leading indicators of how you’re tracking toward your business goal? (Site downloads,

After assessing the impact and identifying gaps, select an alternative or set of alternatives to test, keeping in mind there’s no true replacement for third-party cookies, only options. While several alternatives are currently in development, those listed in this guide are available to test, or likely will be soon.

Continue Reading for Identity Alternatives

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inbound leads, etc.)

Digital Health Metrics What upper-funnel metrics indicate you’re tracking well toward your secondary KPIs? (Site visits, pageviews, cart abandons, etc.)


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Identity Alternatives B E N E F IT S • Built upon consumer consent, enabling direct, trusted relationships with users

Authenticated and Shared IDs

• Deterministic — based on consumerprovided identifiers like email • Enables data-driven advertising across cookieless inventory

CHALLENGES The authenticated universe, outside walled gardens, will equate to 20%-30% of available inventory, which creates a valuable alternative. But it requires publisher buy-in and may not scale on its own across the entirety of the open internet.

• Open source and independently governed E X A M P L E S:

• Secure and privacy-compliant, no access to raw data

Clean Rooms

• Combines first-party data with impressionlevel data

Specific to Google platforms (Campaign Manager, DV360, Google Ads, YouTube). Further strengthens walled gardens — increases reliance on Google.

E X A M P L E S:

Publisher-Driven Data/ Cohorts

• Facilitates access to valuable publisher first-party data aiming to replace the current third-party cookie data market

Concerns center around scale as publishers will need to form cohorts and work together to create buyer solutions.

• Publishers know their consumers better than anyone else, making them able to curate better audience targeting than currently available

Measurement capabilities are a work in progress and while the ability to target successfully is achievable, what measurement looks like is still TBD.

E X A M P L E S:

SSP-Facilitated Audience Targeting

• Contextual signals are not reliant on cookies and are strong indicators of performance

Contextual Targeting

• Contextual targeting has come a long way from its origin with more advanced technology advertisers should reconsider

Some view contextual targeting as a step backward as this technology has been around for a long time, and measurement is currently on cookie-based KPIs.

E X A M P L E S:

• Accuracy as using on-device machine learning

Federated Learning (FLoC)

• Strong data and audience understanding

E X A M P L E:

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Available with one specific browser currently (Google Chrome). Insight needed on how FLoC targeting and analytics will integrate into DSPs, publisher and other existing ad tech.

Multiple solutions within Google Sandbox include FLEDGE for first-party Data and cohort TURTLEDOVE.


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Supply-Driven Cohort


(Sample of Identity Alternatives)

Readiness Meter (as of May 2021)

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Allocating Budget Once you identify alternatives to test, revisit your current marketing strategy and budget to determine how much you spend on cookie-based tactics or measurement today. If incremental test budget is available, it’s ideal to allocate that budget to testing alternatives. If not, allocate about 20%-30% of the budget you currently spend on cookie-based tactics to an initial test.


of the budget you currently spend on cookie-based tactics should be allocated to an initial test

The window of time is narrowing before third-party cookies are deprecated, so scale successful tests quickly.

Ready to learn more about identity alternatives? Contact Goodway Group for a customized recommendation and make market and customer share gains by being prepared. From strengthening your current first-party data and overall data approach to evaluating and testing the best future-state identity solutions for your business, we’ll help you navigate and thrive.

Let’s talk today at

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