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Is the Cookieless Future the End of Digital?

When we first learned of the cookieless world and that Apple (opt-in option) and Google (Chrome shutdown) would be removing personal identifies (known as cookies), the tech world was in shock. Now that the dust has settled, it may not be a doomsday event for digital marketing. In fact, it may be just what marketing needed.

HTTP CookiesFor many, iOS 14 and Google’s changes will be a move toward privacy. It is a disruption in a disrupted space. The iOS 14 requires iPhone users to opt in to share their unique Identifier for Advertisers or IDFA. Even with the opt-in function, many estimate the rate will only be as high as 5% for US users.

While it is not yet known how all this will impact the effectiveness of digital marketing, what is known is that the automictic, programmatic buyers will experience a dramatic loss because their approach was totally driven by cookies. For digital planning organizations such as my firm, AMPERAGE Marketing and Fundraising, the impact is expected to be much less pronounced.

What we will need is more research to develop smart audiences in the future. No more guessing what your audience wants or needs from marketing. The move to privacy will require better research, better creative and better testing.

It also means that the advertiser may need to keep detailed databases of its own research. The large brands (such as P&G) already have been keeping track of key information. Brand tracking surveys are also seeing a resurgence.

This is a return to thinking about brands and what a brand means to an audience. For me, removing cookies is just like when we researched direct mail and found the majority of it ends in the trash. It’s a return to creativity in the digital space.

Written by:

Mark wrote his first direct-mail fundraising letter in 1981 for the University of Iowa Center for Advancement. The effort raised a few million dollars in undiscovered wills and legacy gifts. From that day forward Mark discovered a love of the big idea that moves the needle.

With that kind of experience, after working at KWWL for 12 years, Mark became one of the founding partners of ME&V and, subsequently, AMPERAGE. Today, he leads the AMPERAGE creative teams, including video production, graphic design, public relations, writing and web development.

He is creatively ambidextrous — son of an artist and engineer — and famous for distilling complex ideas down to a few words and a few visuals. Mark is a writer. When he found that many nonprofits struggled with complex branding puzzles, he wrote the book, “NonProfit-NonMarketing .” He also wrote a novel called “Reenactment.”

Mark is an active blogger OneMinuteMarketer® with nearly 1,000 readers each week on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter. One of his most popular YouTube videos is on “How to Look Good on Zoom.”

One of Mark’s fondest business memories was being named to INC 500 two times and attending the INC 500 conference with other winners. Mark is considered by some a Civil War expert (and that explains his novel). Mark also served as an adjunct professor in the business and in the communications departments at Wartburg College.

Mark is a graduate of the University of Iowa and is currently vice president of the University of Iowa Journalism and Mass Communications Advisory Board.

Mark is married to state Sen. Liz Mathis, and the two love to travel, even when it means being trapped by a volcano in the Czech Republic for three weeks.