Would he exist? The perfect website? In this blog series we are looking for the answer. And with the abolition of the cookies, the main topic of number 9 in the series is finding the user's consent. 


The cookies in the context

As useful as cookies are for business, they ultimately violate privacy in a way that is perceived as too intrusive. Another consideration by governments to abolish the cookie was that too often shady companies and departments were involved that did not attach great importance to the interests of the citizen.

The development is forcing data collectors, from smaller startups to the big tech giants to come up with new ways of data collection. This forced innovation gives us new avenues to the consumer that may even prove to be more effective over time than the cookie. The magic word here is 'context'. 

The data collectors are busy creating profiles of websites and their larger target groups - not individuals - that fit in a certain context. That may seem less effective at first, but the opposite may turn out to be true. The problem with cookies is that you never know why someone is looking for something. Let's discuss a funny example. 


Reversing the process

A while ago, one of us two undersigned (Rogier) was planning to sell his boat. He therefore entered the words 'buy a boat' on all kinds of search engines and websites, because he wanted to compare prices of similar boats. The following months he was shown all kinds of advertisements with 'buy a boat' ... while he had just entered it to get an idea of the sale price!

With contextual targeting, as with the new Google Floc, the data collectors are reversing this process. They look at what is being searched for in a context by large groups of people, which gives them an idea of how areas of interest form, and which search terms are used. Crucially, it is no longer about an individual's data, but about areas of interest themselves, linked to the web environment. 

After all, demographic profiles of consumers are not sacred. Remember that two exactly the same people in their cookie profile can usually be wildly different in real life! And sometimes someone you don't expect demographically has suddenly come into the field of surfing, for example. That person will look for solutions themselves (pull marketing), instead of you having to chase this person (push marketing). 

And because you don't know why this person is looking for surf articles (maybe it is just a gift for someone else), as a marketer you want to be where this person is looking. So you are going to advertise on the interesting place or medium instead of on the personal profile. In a way, classic advertising, but with a better twist: you don't have to shoot with hail. You are already in the right context.


Companies & cookies

The tech companies have now started researching websites and categorizing them into profiles. Not only Google, but also Microsoft with LinkedIn, Amazon of course and especially Apple are doing very well there. Small detail, but Facebook is lagging behind in this respect.

Consumers will soon be able to give their own consent on all major platforms, and it is expected that they will say 'no' to sharing their data with parties they do not trust. Facebook is extremely poorly trusted. But Apple, for example, where privacy is so important to us that it doesn't even help the police, will gain a lot. So expect some new service products from Apple in the coming period! 

So you will soon be purchasing advertising space based on the profile of a web environment, or clusters of web environments. The web environment itself thus becomes the guiding principle for advertising, and no longer the individual. So yes, you have less personalized data. But you also make fewer mistakes than targeting one person! Why? Simply because you are already in the area of interest. The idea is that the advantages outweigh the disadvantages.  


Tips to improve your search

Because as a marketer you will no longer see the cookies (or very limited because the browsers no longer keep them for long), all this forces marketers to become better at a number of things themselves. The best tip is to look at your own database first (see our article on the perfect funnel) and to dare to dive into certain niches (see our article on perfect niches). Based on your own data, you then create a first profile that you can match with the data collectors. 

A second tip is to take a good look at your mix. Secretly, we have all become quite lazy, of course, by always outsourcing it to the tech giants and doing a lot of push marketing. But the market is now heading permission based marketing. Does the medium you are using now still fit with that? Believe us, if you now make the move to more permission based, such as with email marketing, or via branded content, your marketing will automatically become more effective. 

And the last tip may be the best; shake off the idea that the cookie is the best form of marketing. Marketing is still about interest and emotional experience. The cookie was a nice indication, but not always perfect. And in marketing it is still more effective to generate pull than push. 


Sander Baas is boss of Baas & Baas and web construction and marketing expert. Rogier van Kralingen is a writer at The Whole Story and co-author of Media storm.