The Third-Party Cookie Workaround: Investing in First-Party Data

The countdown to late 2023 has already begun for advertisers. That’s the timeframe Google has put in place for when they’ll remove third-party cookies from the Google Chrome browser. Last month, Chrome accounted for over 50% ​​of all internet browser market share in the US, so unsurprisingly, this is sending major shockwaves through the advertising industry. 

While, yes, the third-party cookie has historically been the gold standard for consumer data. We’re here to assure you that the news isn’t all grim In the face of this challenge, some publishers and DSPs are working on their respective identity solutions to replace third-party cookies. But while that is still sorted out, advertisers can breathe a sigh of relief knowing already another cookie solution that is readily available, reliable, valuable, and transparent: the first-party cookie. 

What are first-party cookies? 

First-party cookies are created and stored by the host domain of the website the consumer is visiting. These cookies allow sites to store valuable information that enhances the user experience, such as login information, language preferences, shopping cart history, and browsing history. 

Because the site publisher themselves owns these cookies and they function to improve the user experience, they are generally perceived as beneficial and “good” in the realm of cookies. 

How to build first-party data?

A recent study from Salesforce revealed that 83% of consumers are concerned about how their data is being used online. While attaining, using, and storing first-party information is widely viewed as a solution that combats privacy concerns, advertisers still need to keep these apprehensions in mind while implementing first-party data solutions. 

No matter the route your brand decides to go when attaining, using, and storing first-party data, keep in mind these data-safety practices

  1. Communicate Clearly: Tell your consumers how and where you’ll be using their data 
  2. Give Options: Allow consumers to choose which and what and how much of their data they share with you 
  3. Express Value: Give consumers insight into the value they will gain when sharing their data (Loyalty programs, exclusive offers, better user experience, etc.)

With these notions in mind, one of the best forms of advertising we suggest to our clients to start building or expanding their first-party data is performance marketing

What is performance marketing? 

Performance marketing flips digital advertising traditional pay-before-you-go methods on their head. When using performance marketing, the advertiser only pays for a measurable result, such as a click, form fill, app install, purchase, or lead generation. 

How does it work? 

  1. Develop an Audience: Identify profiles and behaviors by working with direct website owners to engage with potential customers in a cookie-less environment.
  2. Target Audience: Using contextual, behavioral, site-specific, native site placement, list segmentation, age, gender, and state/city level geo-targeting.
  3. Convert Customer: Consumer converts on a brand website, in-app, or other publisher websites, gaining quality consumers.
  4. Validate Data: Validate the email, address, and/or telephone and then monitor and filter that data for any fraud or profanity and if they already exist in historical databases.
  5. Delivery: Deliver customer directly into client’s CRM, ESP or DMP.

What are the benefits?

Beyond performance marketing existing without the help or need for third-party cookies, advertisers gain additional benefits when investing in this tactic. 

  1. Low(er) Risk: Automatically reduces the risk of wasted spending because you are only paying for a specific action.
  2. ROI Focused: Invest in the return. Because you only pay for leads, application downloads, calls, and purchases, etc., you are solely investing in the return and results. 
  3. Free Branding: While utilizing this pay-for-performance model, advertisers benefit from having ads shown on 1000’s websites, increasing brand recognition.

The Third-Party Cookie Workaround: 3 Things Advertisers Need to Know

As third-party cookies depreciate, digital media buying as we know it will significantly change. These shifts will make way for and increase the importance of first-party data. 

Gathering first-party data allows you to understand your customers better than anything else. As you go about investing in first-party data solutions and building your databases, consider the following: 

1. Relationships with publishers directly are key.

With publisher-direct media buys, you can purchase ad space based on contextual targeting. These publishers know and understand your audience, allowing you to target our desired consumers while eliminating the use of any cookie.

2. Contextual media buys will become the future.

Rather than targeting based on known behavior (gained from third-party cookies), advertisers will need to adjust to bo context-driven audience targeting. 

3. First-party data is only as good as the insights you can act on from it.

Brands must understand and act on the first-party data they own. Invest in a tool or team that enables you to do this. 

Digilant’s Performance Marketing Solution

As a premier omni-media digital partner, Digilant offers performance marketing solutions that help brands acquire customers, generate leads, and build their CRM. With access to premier publishers, we can run campaigns across: 

  • Display
  • Social
  • Influencer
  • Content / Blog Posts
  • Native
  • Coupon Sites
  • Loyalty Site
  • Deal Sites
  • Email

Our media experts work with each client to ensure their performance marketing solution is best tailor-made to achieve their specific goals. When working with Digilant, you experience the unique benefits, such as:  

  • We are an all-in-one omnichannel partner
  • We have strategic publisher-direct relationships
  • We ensure GDPR and CCPA compliant
  • We protect your budget from unqualified leads or traffic

Are you interested in learning more about building your first-party data with performance marketing? Contact us today.

Consumers Are Everywhere: Here’s How to Reach Them with Data, Safely

A recent study from Deloitte found that the average U.S. household uses 11 internet-connected devices. Given that connectivity is now built into everything from televisions to appliances, that number shouldn’t come as a surprise.

People use these devices in different ways, sometimes relying on more than one of them for just one thing. Data from Google suggests that 90% of people actually use multiple devices to accomplish a single online task. If you’ve ever looked for, say, concert or movie tickets on your smartphone and then switched over to a laptop to purchase them, you’re part of the 90%.

In short, modern consumers are everywhere. That means marketers need to be able to reach them everywhere — and effectively. The goal is to create a seamless consumer experience on Facebook, in an email inbox, via streaming audio, and in the store. But achieving that goal requires the right approach. The right approach requires understanding the distinction between two marketing strategies.

Omnichannel vs. Multichannel Marketing Strategies

Good marketers know that consumers expect integrated brand experiences that cover in-store, online, and any other types of interactions. With this in mind, it’s still easy to fall into the trap of executing a multichannel marketing campaign, rather than omnichannel.

What’s the difference? A multichannel marketing approach also engages consumers through a variety of channels, but it treats each channel independently — which is precisely why it causes challenges. When marketers put media channels in silos, they risk targeting consumers across different channels with the exact same message. They miss the nuance, and that means they miss opportunities to use channel-optimized messaging to move audiences down the funnel. They might also reach the same audiences on a variety of platforms and mistakenly conclude that their reach is greater than it really is.

Multichannel marketing doesn’t allow for tracking the entire customer journey as omnichannel marketing does, and quality multichannel data acquisition is difficult. It keeps marketers from getting the full picture and some hugely important details. Think of it this way: if a prospective customer went into the store to purchase a product that’s still sitting in their online shopping cart, marketers might continue to target them with lower-funnel tactics aimed at driving a purchase — even though it’s already been made.

At best, multichannel marketing is a missed opportunity to deliver tailored, current, relevant messaging that inspires loyalty, retention, and advocacy. At worst, it drives customers away.

Why Digital Alone Isn’t Enough

Multichannel marketing doesn’t allow for the type of brand interactions that today’s consumers crave. It also doesn’t account for consumers’ desire to experience the world beyond the screen.

Some marketers assume that the heightened popularity of digital channels in the wake of the pandemic means that creating and measuring in-person interactions is less important. These same marketers are usually quick to point out the advantages of digital marketing vs. traditional marketing. But while it’s true that digital has become more important, consumer demand for in-person and in-store experiences certainly still exists.

A notable 78% of Gen Z consumers, who are often thought of as the first digital natives, still tend to make purchases in-store. Moreover, recent research from Forrester found that 30% to 40% of all consumers using click-and-collect buy additional items when they go to the store to pick up their purchases, further validating the need for marketers to create compelling experiences in physical spaces.

Consumers are constantly bombarded with digital ads. In-person experiences, on the other hand, offer a unique opportunity for brands to have memorable interactions with customers and drive greater brand recognition. And when they’re part of an omnichannel approach that also includes related and relevant digital tactics (for example, branded hashtags to encourage social sharing) their impact becomes even more significant, as well as more quantifiable.

Using Consumer Data Wisely

That ability to quantify and measure is the key to omnichannel success — and marketing success as a whole. Effective omnichannel marketing requires brands to collect and analyze first-party data, specifically. As a result, an omnichannel strategy must be designed thoughtfully, with a heavy emphasis on security and customer privacy. Marketers looking to implement omnichannel campaigns and strategies, improve the campaigns and strategies they already have in place, or mitigate the risk of a data breach should keep the following best practices in mind:

1. Don’t ask for consumer data you can’t secure.

The database you use to store customer information must be protected from external actors who might want to steal it, as well as potential internal threats. Make sure you have the appropriate firewalls, authorization and authentication protocols, and other measures in place before collecting any first-party data. Otherwise, you’re exposing your company and your customers to unacceptable levels of risk.

2. Be transparent about your intentions.

When asking customers to share personal information, be clear about how you intend to use it. Now more than ever, consumers want to understand what brands are doing with their data and how they might benefit from it. If you’re selling or buying data for advertising purposes, let them know, and be sure you’re working with trusted partners who keep safety and privacy at the forefront of their values.

3. Empower consumers to make decisions about their data.

First-party data can take many forms, and all of it is valuable. Let consumers decide what personal information they want to share — whether an email address, phone number, or something else — but don’t require them to divulge all of it. The more flexibility you offer, the greater your odds of acquiring the data you need to power your marketing efforts.

As data privacy becomes increasingly important, marketers have to ensure that compliance is a central focus of every initiative. To learn how Digilant can help you develop more secure omnichannel campaigns, get in touch today. 

4 Best Practices to Alleviate the Challenges of Measuring Marketing ROI

Results from a recent survey conducted by Econsultancy show that nearly two-thirds of CMOs are feeling pressure from their CEOs and brands to prove the value of marketing initiatives while working with steadily — and significantly — shrinking budgets.


They’re also increasingly faced with the task of optimizing budgets for a growing number of channels. Consumers’ attention is more fragmented than ever, often spanning multiple devices at once. As a result, diversifying media budgets to keep your brand in front of audiences everywhere is critical.


The CMO’s Chase for Perfection


In today’s environment, CMOs have to be nearly perfect when it comes to marketing spend management. They have to stay mindful of advertising ROI by medium to ensure future marketing investments are directed toward the most impactful initiatives while reducing channel and data silos to better understand total marketing ROI.


It’s a big ask, but it’s not impossible. By adhering to the four best practices below, marketing leaders can maximize ROI despite smaller budgets and achieve quantifiable results that satisfy C-suite demands.


1. Use evergreen campaigns to take advantage of proven channels and creative formats.


Evergreen content is messaging that stays relevant for the long term. It might focus on customer testimonials; enduring product benefits; and features, tutorials, or stories that are relatively easy to create and require little ongoing maintenance.


High-performing evergreen assets are valuable because they can be incorporated into advertising, websites, branding, and virtually any other marketing initiative. Evergreen content gives marketers a strong foundation on which to build their efforts. For those trying to allocate dollars wisely when creating a marketing budget, this ends up having a major impact.


2. Continually test new tactics.


Test-and-learn marketing is another approach that can lead to improved campaign performance through data-driven decision-making. It compares the effectiveness of existing and new media, channels, and tactics. In the case of the latter, marketers might introduce several new tactics on a relatively small scale and then gather data to gauge performance. When testing and learning, ensure the data exists in a closed feedback loop to eliminate biases during testing, and when needed, consider new advertising ROI metrics for measuring tactical performance.


To use test-and-learn marketing effectively, it’s key to continually apply the insights to strategy development, iterate and optimize, and implement tailored tactics during testing. In a world characterized by constantly changing consumer preferences, ongoing experimentation is a marketing imperative.


3. Prioritize customer experience metrics.


Measuring marketing ROI should always be done with metrics and KPIs that are directly tied to larger organizational objectives. For many companies, those objectives increasingly include winning the customer experience battle — and for good reason.


Research shows that the customer experience might soon eclipse price and product quality as the key driver of consumer purchase decisions. That means paying attention to the length of customer conversion cycles, the digital and offline channels favored by target audiences, and the language that resonates with them. By gathering these and other relevant insights, marketers can make smarter, faster decisions about where to direct their limited budgets.


4. Emphasize quality over quantity.


Marketers understandably feel pressure to grow their lead pools and increase consumer engagement, but capturing fragmented consumer attention with a tight media budget requires a deep understanding of the customer and the use of precise targeting capabilities to connect with them — not just certain numbers.


Vanity metrics like impressions or likes don’t always translate to an actual return on marketing investment. A gap between campaign engagement and conversions typically means that some aspect of the customer journey or campaign creative should be reevaluated. Simply put, marketers have to make sure their strategies and messaging are aligned with nuanced customer preferences and make sure that’s reflected in the results.


Future-Proofing Your Marketing Strategy


The role of the CMO will evolve in the coming years, but the pressure to prove and defend marketing performance will always be a part of it. Rise to the challenge by constantly working to bridge the gaps between offline and online metrics; creating customer experiences that drive sales, loyalty, and retention; balancing investments in technology and talent; and measuring marketing ROI. These steps will allow you to make the right marketing investments that will lead to the desired results.


At Digilant, our team of strategic thinkers, creative minds, and digital advertising experts has helped more than 500 brands achieve growth and see results. To learn more about how we can do the same for you, click here.

The Cookieless Future Is Inching Closer — Here’s What That Means for Advertisers

Digital advertisers won’t have to say goodbye to third-party cookies today or tomorrow, but that time will eventually come. The writing has been on the wall since early 2020, when Google first announced its intentions to phase out third-party trackers on Chrome browsers. After several delays, the company reiterated its commitment to the move this past spring, which is now set to take place in the latter half of 2023.

While Google’s phaseout of third-party cookies has been positioned as an attempt to meet growing consumer privacy concerns, its plans have created new issues for regulators, competitors, the digital advertising industry, and everyone else with a stake in the web’s evolution. The search giant has explicitly stated that it wouldn’t be “building alternate identifiers to track” individual web browsers, but it has proposed a new ad targeting standard that it claims will lead to similar results. Dubbed the “Federated Learning of Cohorts” (FLoC), this technology uses an algorithm to group browsers together based on overlapping browsing histories — providing an ostensibly more private consumer experience while still allowing for targeted ad delivery.

The only problem with FLoC? Virtually no one else is on board with it. Detractors say the technology could introduce a host of new problems that are just as pernicious as those it’s intended to solve. Regulators in the U.S. and Europe will also have questions, as will privacy-conscious Chrome users who realize they’re unwittingly involved in FLoC testing.

Regardless of whether Google’s proposal ultimately gains mass adoption or fizzles out, the use of third-party cookies for advertising is nearing its end — most browsers already block them. But given Chrome’s sizable lead in terms of overall browser market share, Google’s decision to further postpone the inevitable is significant for advertisers, who now have a little more time to prepare for a cookieless future.

Cookieless Advertising Is Already Possible

There are numerous cookieless alternatives for ad targeting — and cookieless identity and measurement solutions — immediately accessible to advertisers. They include inherently cookieless channels like Connected TV/OTT, streaming audio and podcasts, and content-based and contextual targeting solutions that let advertisers reach audiences engaging with highly relevant or intent-driven content.

We’ll likely see an uptick in testing and adoption of these alternatives in the coming months, along with a continued shift in the way advertisers use performance marketing. Historically viewed as an approach for driving hard sales, a growing number of brands across all categories are now deploying performance marketing tactics to build their pool of valuable first-party data. These brands incentivize audiences (usually in the top half of the marketing funnel) to trade their contact information in exchange for newsletter subscriptions, content downloads, exclusive promotions, or other offerings. This approach offers opportunities to build credibility and trust with prospects well before purchasing decisions.

As advertisers continue to search for ways to fill the void soon to be created by Google’s phaseout of third-party cookies, here are three principles they should keep in mind:

The best is yet to come for data-driven advertising.

Brands are sitting atop mountains of customer data, and most have yet to tap into it. As digital transformation accelerates across sectors, more companies will have the capabilities needed to do so, which means a new era of advertising is just around the corner. Third-party cookies have never been the proverbial “golden ticket” to consumer hearts and wallets, but it’s out there — advertisers just need to find it.

Personalization is still possible (and critical).

Consumers still want personalized experiences, and the brands that deliver them consistently through the responsible use of data will be rewarded with increased loyalty and engagement. As advertisers gradually turn their focus — and budgets — to inherently cookieless environments like OTT and streaming audio, many will realize that these largely untapped channels present incredible opportunities to reach target audiences in a highly personalized environment. The sooner advertisers incorporate these channels into their campaigns, the sooner they can leave cookies behind for good.

Metrics and KPIs will continue to evolve.

Many advertisers make the mistake of measuring campaign performance against indicators that don’t align with their chosen tactics or predefined objectives. This can lead to optimizations that aren’t improvements, reporting that’s not insightful, and brand messaging that’s confusing rather than compelling.

As technology enables new ways of reaching consumers, advertisers will have to adjust the strategies they use to gauge the effectiveness of their efforts. Investing in flexible analytics and measurement solutions can help, but a focus on workforce development should also be fruitful. Of course, optimal results are never guaranteed. But if you don’t have the tools and expertise needed to properly define success, they’ll be that much harder to achieve

At Digilant, we’re committed to keeping our clients informed on how best to prepare for the cookieless future. Stay up to date with all the latest changes and announcements on our future of third-party cookies content hub here.

Want to learn more about how you can navigate a cookieless future and future-proof your media investments? Contact us today.

Host-Read or Prerecorded Ads: What’s the Right Mix in Your Campaign?

In the spring of 2020, when the coronavirus pandemic first started, digital audio took a significant hit. Because people weren’t tuning in during their commutes to and from work and school, traditionally a primary source of streaming time, digital audio engagement and usage drastically decreased. Industry experts quickly predicted that this decline would continue throughout the year. However, the story soon shifted. 

In recent years, people have swarmed to TV streaming and social media (the timeframe in which digital audio saw the hit). However, as time went on, consumers began shifting and diversifying their media habits to include digital audio and gaming. As consumers started to adapt to their new routines, digital audio listening behavior and usage changed. People began listening to digital audio while working and going to school from home. So rather than digital audio usage decreasing, it simply changed. 

Spotify and Pandora, for example, saw time spent streaming audio during the day and on weekdays via smart speakers and smart TVs increase. There was also an unexpected spike in long-form audio. Overall, these consumer behavior changes netted the opposite of what experts initially predicted – rather than digital audio usage decreasing in 2020, the average time a consumer spent listening to digital audio increased 8.3%

As we reached the end of 2021, it was clear that this trend hadn’t slowed down. Instead, it was heralding a turning point in the world of audio. Just as TV streaming surpassed traditional cable viewing in the United States in 2021, digital audio has dethroned its traditional counterparts. 50.8% of US adults’ total audio time was spent listening via digital services – the first time it has surpassed traditional radio.  

So, even as life began to slowly resemble pre-pandemic behavior, the question remained: why hadn’t the usage of digital audio slowed or reversed?

In large part, this is due to the growing popularity of podcasts. By the end of 2021, the number of monthly US podcast listeners will increase by 10.1% year-over-year to 117.8 million. However, not only is the number of consumers listening to podcasts growing, the avid or regular podcast listeners are listening more frequently and for more extended periods. Over ⅓ of Americans listen to at least one podcast every month, and of those podcast listeners, 82.4% of them listen to podcasts for over 7 hours every week. All in all, this creates a great opportunity for podcast hosts and producers, which makes an excellent opportunity for advertisers. 

The Benefits of Podcast Advertising

As podcasts continue to grow in popularity, hosts and producers (“podcasters”) will look for ways to monetize their channels. In turn, advertisers have unique opportunities to reach listeners with ads embedded in the podcast content.

There are many benefits advertisers will see when investing in podcast advertising, including:

  1. Reach a younger audience. The average age of broadcast radio listeners is 47, whereas, for podcast listeners, that drops to 34. Additionally, in 2020, just under half of 12-34-year-olds listened to a podcast at least monthly. 
  2. Podcast listeners are receptive to ads. 54% of podcast “super listeners”* stated that hearing an ad while listening to a podcast makes them more likely to purchase a product.
  3. Podcast Listeners are engaged. These same super-listers said that they pay more attention to podcast advertisements than any other form of media. 

* The term “super listener” came from an Edison Study and is a group defined as respondents who listen to an average of five hours or more podcasts each week.

Finding the Best Podcast Ad Format for your brand

Podcast advertising offers unique benefits for brands; however, each creative ad format provides its respective benefits. With both host-read and prerecorded ads, advertisers can target listeners by genre, geographically, or device type. However, these two different formats offer a unique listening experience for consumers, and thus, it’s important to understand the differences, benefits, and drawbacks. 

Host-Read Ads

As the name indicates, host-read ads are live-read podcast ads read by the podcast host(s) during the recording of a podcast. The ad is often delivered without a script and becomes a permanent part of the podcast episode, therefore it is typically a bit longer than prerecorded spots because the host provides storytelling from their perspective.



  • Smaller reach since you are limited to the number of podcasts that can be played during. 
  • Less control over the content around your brand since you are relying on the host.

Prerecorded Ads

Pre-produced or prerecorded podcast ads are similar to a traditional radio spot. They are either sponsor-produced or host-read in advance using a script. These ads are then added to the podcast post-production. 


  • More control over brand or product messaging.
  • Ad placements are lower cost to produce.
  • Greater reach and performance transparency.


  • These ads tend to be more disruptive and don’t create as native of a listening experience.

If you need a refresher on the perks of host-read vs. prerecorded podcast ads, keep our “Podcast Ad Format Cheat Sheet” handy. Download it here. 

What is the right ad mix for your brand? 

As with all digital advertising initiatives, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to podcast advertising. When investing in this ad format, the ideal scenario would be to incorporate a mix of both host-read and prerecorded ads. Advertisers can run an A/B test to track performance to see which type resonates best with your audience. If you are offering a promotion or discount in your ad, designate different landing pages for the different formats to see which one has better engagement and conversions.

Many advertisers haven’t made the jump over to digital audio, or specifically, podcast advertising. So, if you know your consumers fall within podcast listener groups, you have a great opportunity to get ahead of the curve, and put your brand in front of a captive audience. 

Digilant’s Digital Audio Solutions

At Digilant, we offer digital audio advertising solutions across traditional, satellite, and streaming radios, as well as podcasts. We have partnerships with leading global audio providers such as Adswizz, which provides our clients a worldwide presence and relatively unlimited reach. We have access to thousands of premium stations that offer direct, programmatic, and marketplace buys. 

Additionally, as an omni-media digital advertising provider, we offer our clients unique solutions to enhance their digital audio advertising, such as: 

  • Creative services such as the production of audio spots
  • Sequential messaging to retarget audio listening with video, native, or display banners. 
  • Digital media, streaming, and audio advertising all run through the same platform.

Interested in learning more about the benefits of podcast advertising with Digilant? We’re interested in discussing how we can help you reach your goals. Let’s talk.

Sign up for our newsletter to learn more about Digilant.