Submitted by: Sam Upton May 13, 2022
That’s The Way The Cookie Crumbles
Having been pushed back a year, Google will now cancel the third-party cookie in 2023. While privacy campaigners will applaud, marketers and advertisers will be anxiously crossing their fingers. But what will it mean for the print industry?
The marketing industry is no stranger to making predictions. Whether it’s stating that we’ll all be existing in the metaverse in ten years’ time or all ads will be created by AI, it seems that marketers, agencies and brands make daily announcements about the future of the industry. But one that all seem to be agreed upon is a steady decline in traditional advertising.
But the most recent CMO Survey – a monthly assessment of the US marketing industry – has found that marketers are predicting an increase in traditional advertising spending. This is in stark contrast to previous months when marketers reported an annual decrease in traditional advertising spending. Going into detail, retailers are increasing their traditional advertising spending by 10.2%, brands by 4.9%, and – interestingly – digital-based retailers by 11.7%.
So what’s causing this shift? One factor is traditional advertising is more trusted – a recent MarketingSherpa study found that the top five most trusted advertising formats are all traditional, with customers trusting print advertising (82%) the most, followed by television (80%) then direct mail (76%). Another is the fact that the more time people spend with digital media, the less engaged they are by its marketing.
But one of the main reasons marketers are falling back in love with traditional advertising is the demise of the third-party cookie.
The Opportunity For Print
On August 22, 2019, Google made an announcement that made media owners sit up and marketers shudder. Among the reams of friendly corporate speak came the announcement that the global digital giant was to offer people more control over their personal data and increase the amount of privacy on the web. On the face of it, their proposal was simple: to change how cookies work within the Chrome browser and make it easier for users to block cookie tracking. In practice, it means that brands and marketers have to seriously rethink their strategies when it comes to targeting customers and boosting sales.
The eradication of third-party cookies means many things to many different brands. Some with hefty enough marketing budgets could thrive, developing their own ‘first-party’ data targeting systems, while others will doubtless struggle – the removal of a largely automated advertising channel resulting in a huge loss of customers and revenue.
However, one industry that could feel the benefits of a cookie-less society is print marketing. The tried-and-tested channel of direct mail is essentially the physical form of online marketing, with companies utilising complex data streams to target consumers with the ideal profile for purchase. It may not be as instant as programmatic advertising, but the effect of receiving a sales message through the post has proven advantages and measurable ROI. Indeed, over the past few years, repeated lockdowns and people having to work from home has meant that direct mail has been going through a resurgence.
According to data from JICMAIL, direct mail volumes have increased 51% year on year, and door drops by 181%. All this activity has led to the effectiveness of mail at driving consumers to physical retail stores increasing by 71%.
“The pronounced uplift in volumes is striking, with the multiple effects of mail continuing to impact both media and consumer behaviours,” said Mark Cross, JICMAIL Engagement Director. “The new normal of heightened digital effects from mail are evident again, and the effects of driving much-needed store traffic and consumer value through vouchers a particular stand-out. The commercial activity generated by mail demonstrates the channel’s clear relevance to the recovery effort in the economy.”
Through Privacy Comes Trust
Quite what will happen to online advertising over the next few years and the knock-on effects for the marketing industry is frankly, anyone’s guess. But an increase in privacy and security is only going to be a good thing – not only for the individual consumer but the wider commercial market.
Bill Gates put it best when he said: “Historically, privacy was almost implicit, because it was hard to find and gather information. But in the digital world, whether it’s digital cameras or satellites or just what you click on, we need to have more explicit rules – not just for governments but for private companies.”
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