The crumbling of cookie-based tracking of users on the web is one of the biggest challenges presented in the AdTech world today. The so-called “cookie apocalypse” is scheduled for 2022, the date Google set to remove them from Chrome. At the same time, Mozilla and Apple are already implementing new privacy features that prevent cookie tracking by third parties.

As for now, advertisers, and particularly automotive brands, have already grown accustomed to finding ready-to-buy users by their cookies; the customer journey is more extended for automobile brands. Usually, it takes 90-120 days for clients just to analyze the market and compare options prior to purchase. During this period, marketers can communicate and personalize their messages by tracing individual users and their progress through the journey.

What techniques and channels are left now as the third-party cookies are going away? This article focuses on the options available to survive this perfect storm, which may also fit today’s requirements of the automotive niche.

The untapped potential of contextual intelligence

Instead of targeting users’ identity and personalizing their messages according to the stage of their journey, brands can target a specific mood or intent. This could be achieved by placing ads on the relevant sources and surrounding them with the content that signals a ready-to-convert state of mind.

Basically, that means closer cooperation with the top publishers in the niche, automotive news websites, etc. and more special projects such as advertorial, sponsored articles, and large-scale web projects. The downside of this strategy, however, is that without centralized advertising platforms, it would be difficult to achieve scalability.

On the other hand, the major native advertising platforms, including MGID, provide this opportunity to scale, select relevant publishers and set contextual filters for the campaign. By setting contextual filters, it becomes possible to analyze the content of each page on-site and check if it is relevant to the product. The specific environments for the ad placement will be chosen automatically, using real-time ML-algorithms, which allow scaling the campaigns easily upon the request.

Hyperlocal targeting

Finding prospective customers within the specified geofence around a GPS coordinate is another way to replace cookies for both automotive service providers and car brands. For example, repair shops or local dealerships can catch users close to either their own geographic locations or visiting certain areas (business centers, neighborhoods, etc.).

Next-generation solutions for hyperlocal targeting may become ubiquitous across all digital channels, be it display, social or native advertising. As for now, this type of targeting is focused on users who are actively present in the specified areas, and they may not be glued to their feed or web pages to see those ads. Typically, advertisers are more interested in finding the audience that visited certain places in the past on a regular basis.

Bottom line

Without the benefit of third-party cookies, it might be difficult to find new approaches to efficient performance marketing. Essentially, user-based targeting made the audience more addressable during their customer journey (or some part of it).

In the future, cookie-based targeting can be replaced by other identity-based solutions that manage to overcome the existing privacy challenges. However, for now, marketers should shift their focus from tracking users’ identities to other tactics, such as contextual and hyperlocal targeting.