When can we stop talking about cookies going away?

Lean in and embrace a holistic, modeled approach to measurement - and never look back
26 September 2023
Future of Measurement

Senior Vice President, Media Solutions Lead, North America

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It’s time to take a holistic, future-proof approach

The end of so-called deterministic identifiers like the cookie has been a topic, and in some cases a fear, in the industry for the last six years. Apple and Google signed their death sentence and in the last two years have been doubling down on their replacements. But what if all along we have been shortsighted and overly focused in one silo? To switch metaphors entirely, we may have been overlooking the forest through the trees by seeking replacements for the cookie when the entire landscape of media never was measured by them alone. 

What is a future-proof approach to measurement? Cookie replacements are not the right focus. 

We need to remember, cookies fuel only a portion of passive deterministic tracking today - and specifically only browser-level channels. The rest of the media universe, including linear television, SVOD, AVOD, CTV, OTT and OOH has had identifiers attached to them but were not dependent upon cookies. Radio and print have never had deterministic identifiers attached to them for measurement at all. 

What are we to do with all these silos of data? Lean in and embrace a holistic, modeled approach to measurement - and never look back.   

The near universal desire to eliminate data silos

Since the beginning of digital, most brands and advertisers, had separate teams with separate responsibilities and different ways of measuring and optimizing media. Digital and cookies got much of the attention given the volume of data. And on the more traditional side of things, they operated with mix modeling and exposure, and standards based on reach and frequency (exposure and how many times someone had seen an ad) ruled. And rarely were these two sides measured together. 

Driven by brands and agencies, there is a near universal desire to eliminate silos of data. While walled gardens are replacing cookies, we hear the pain points from our clients because they are buying media differently today. They are not just working with digital and TV, but increasingly retail media, in app, and social. Campaigns are not “just digital” anymore, and in parallel, the TV ecosystem continues to also expand providing even more ways of viewing. It is important to work with innovative measurement solutions so that you can make media decisions seeing the whole picture, from one view.   

If you are using panel data, why not do it right?

As brands have come to realize, not all data is good data. The alternative to cookies that competitors of digital measurement are proposing involve non-consented panels and workarounds to getting the data they need. The challenge is that not all these panels are compiled in any kind of privacy compliant way. In the post GDPR and CCPA worlds, the quality is not always there. Some technologies utilize meter tracking or fingerprinting where the user, and the publisher, is unaware of what is being tracked or what data is being collected. Are they even usable? Do we trust what we cannot see? 

So, what’s the alternative? Highly consented, zero party panels are the only surefire way to continue your measurement program in a world of constant privacy and technology changes. It is imperative that you start now to set a baseline for measurement that you can compare against when these other mechanisms stop working.  

If you are not aware of your panel make-up, ask your provider. If you are not working with consented zero party data panels, you’re not measuring with quality or care.    

Don’t make media decisions without considering creative and brand

Creative provides between 40-60% of the impact of your advertising, but completely ignored by most measurement vendors. Solutions such as Link AI enable you to test and optimize your creatives and even test how well they are performing against your competitive landscape. Knowing how effective your creative will be when placed in media channels can really take your ROI off course if not considered correctly.  

The “click” is not a metric that is very predictive of anything. Working with Kantar, you can leverage our Meaningful Different Salient framework which is validated to sales and years of expertise of brand measurement to "kick the click.”   

Working with Global Industry Experts Matters

Kantar is the world’s leading data, insights, and consulting company. For 50 years, we have been an indispensable brand partner to the world’s biggest companies. Working with Kantar means that you benefit from forward-thinking methodologies with ongoing innovation grounded in data science and access to global experts in panels, brand, media and creative across the globe. Our talent and data access are unmatched.  

If you have been in advertising space over the past 10 years you have seen way too many headlines using the above cookie analogy. It comes from the perspective of the digital world that sold itself on the precision of a form of measurement that was never really that precise. Experimental design and opportunity to see are the future of all media measurement. Layer into that brand impact and creative testing on the fly and you have not a flat cookie but an entire layered cake. Re-embrace a modeling approach that has been adapted for the 21st century. Holistic measurement, as described here and validated by Kantar, is the only way. 

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