With the death of third-party cookies popping up in marketers’ minds, the industry is pushing for new solutions to help replace this data. However, there are already existing strategies marketers can take advantage of today that don’t require cookies for accurate targeting.
I sat down with Anthony Capano, Managing Director of North America at Rakuten Advertising, a leading ad technology company, for a chat about what marketers can expect with the death of third-party cookies and how affiliates can help provide them with a future-proof cookie. solution and much more.
Gary Drenik: With the death of third-party cookies on our doorstep, what do marketers need to do to be successful in the future?
Anthony Capano’s photo. We lose access to third-party cookies because we use them irresponsibly. Instead of using third-party cookies to create unique, personalized ads that enhance the consumer experience, we have turned to aggressive tactics that make them feel the ad is too annoying and intrusive.
As an industry, the loss of third-party cookies should be a wake-up call – authenticity is the only way to win over consumers. Marketers need to create ad experiences that take into account many nuances of their consumer profile, from their demographic and location to the context of the content they consume and what else they can do at the same time. This means doing more to truly understand who their consumers are – beyond what marketers can see at first glance.
For example, a nutritional supplement company may know they are targeting an athlete, but they will be most successful if they can uncover moments when that person is in the right mindset to be open to an ad. While the consumer is truly an athlete, he can also be a mother, a student, and a wine lover. He’s a great person to target on paper, but when he watches a YouTube video from his favorite fitness blogger, he’ll be more receptive to an additional ad than if he Googles his local wine tours. This also means that brands need to customize their digital marketing strategies to optimize the right channels, platforms and partners to reach consumers at the right time.
Affiliate marketing is a powerful strategy for addressing such nuances in digital targeting… It gives advertisers control over where their content appears and the context in which it is framed. Dynamic deployment also gives advertisers more leverage to drive targeted consumer behavior.
Investing in digital marketing strategies such as affiliate marketing will empower brands to engage in more complex targeting, as well as help them capitalize on the e-commerce surge that has come as a result of the pandemic. A recent Prosper Insights & Analytics study showed that nearly half (45%) of consumers believe their shopping habits will continue to improve throughout the pandemic. Marketers will be able to capitalize on this trend by investing in affiliate and have their wallet share in the long run.
Drain: What makes an affiliate a strategy for the future?
trap: Affiliate provides consumers with the real ad experiences they want, without relying on third-party cookies. Instead, affiliate marketing leverages strong publisher relationships and contextual targeting to reach consumers in the right moments and environments where they will be most receptive.
One of the most unique features of affiliate marketing is that it creates experiences that consumers proactively prefer. With the rise of privacy regulations over the last few years, consumers have demanded more control over their ad experience, and many have turned off tracking, which enables targeted advertising. But the data shows that consumers are actively looking for deals, compelling recommendations and even ads when they add value to their shopping experience. This is even more true depending on the category. A recent Prosper Insights & Analytics Survey shows that 38% of people are influenced by digital media when making a purchasing decision for electronics, and 32% claim the same for products in the clothing industry.
Because of the trusted relationship consumers have with publishers they turn to for reviews, recommendations, awards, and more, affiliate marketing is an effective way to reach and influence consumers in an environment that is not only open to advertising but also intentional. whether they are in the research or purchasing phase of their shopping journey.
By leveraging the affiliate, the same nutritional supplement company will be able to reach its target consumer in line with their priorities, interests and behaviors. When she reads a blog post about a high-performance diet from a trusted influencer, she’s likely to be open to an ad for nutritional supplements that will help her achieve her goals—especially if it comes in the form of a blogger’s recommendation. powered by an affiliate link. Beyond the contextual relevance, publishers like this have strong loyal readers who translate everything from general information, inspiration points, and more to them. This includes recommendations for new products to purchase.
Drain: How does an affiliate deliver better ad experiences for consumers?
trap: Advertisers’ control over contextual relevance in affiliate marketing is a key driver behind affiliate authenticity. Other advertising strategies that rely heavily on third-party cookie tracking are great for gaining brand awareness and reach. But beyond blacklisting and whitelisting sites and terminology, marketers have limited control over the mediums in which their ads appear. What sets an affiliate apart is the intimate experience it creates when ads align with the content the consumer is proactively looking for in a comfortable and familiar environment.
Affiliate marketing integrates content into environments that have proven effective, creating ads that complement the consumer’s online experience rather than being invasive and on point. This seamless integration is more authentic and native to the reader, leading to higher engagement levels and better ad performance.
Drain: How will advertisers and publishers need to work together next?
trap: One of the biggest changes in the advertising industry as a result of the loss of third-party cookies is the increasing demand for first-party publisher data. Publishers now find themselves in a powerful position as they hold the key to valuable consumer data that marketers previously had easy access to.
Marketers need to work more closely and build better relationships with publishers to have a truly equal partnership. Across the Rakuten Advertising network, we see publishers being more encouraged to share data with marketers who invest in building a fairer publisher/advertiser relationship. regardless of whether they made the last click or not.
Dynamic Deployment capabilities are not new to affiliate advertising, but last-click attribution still dominates. This shift in favor of publishers and the growing influence of content publishers and influencers should be a call to action – it’s time to adopt more diverse deployment strategies. Not only is it time to finally reward publishers for their full impact on the customer journey, but it’s also time to treat affiliate marketing as a dynamic channel that can deliver a variety of business goals. Conversion is a significant advantage, but affiliate can effectively increase awareness, encourage discovery and inspire loyalty; all of which ultimately work together to achieve greater ROI. A strategy as powerful as affiliate marketing isn’t used to its full potential today.
Drain: How does Rakuten Advertising help its customers navigate the post-cookie environment?
trap: At Rakuten Advertising, we are ready to ensure success for both our advertisers and publisher partners without relying on third-party cookies.
Within our affiliate network, we offer Rakuten Advertising Enterprise Web Services, a server-to-server tracking process that includes secure, reliable, flexible and real-time reporting – all completely unaffected by cookie blocking technology and third-party cookies.
Rakuten Advertising is also strongly positioned in the broad Rakuten ecosystem and has the benefit of accessing first-party data across all Rakuten properties, from OTT streaming platform Viki to online messaging app Viber, cashback leader Rakuten Rewards and beyond. We’ve been able to use this data to drive better ad performance on our owned media properties and offer personalized targeting capabilities to affiliate marketing.
Backed by decades of expertise and legacy knowledge, rich first-party data, and a large global publisher network, we are able to provide exceptional services to our advertising partners. In an environment where strong relationships with publishers are crucial to success, our value is unmatched.
Drain: Anthony, thank you for taking the time to chat about affiliate marketing in the post-cookie world.