We have seen our privacy commercialize over the past 20 years. Until now, users have had to accept the collection and processing of their data grudgingly. On December 10, 2020, six European countries filed a complaint against the data protection authorities’ use and sale. These lawsuits are by no means isolated initiatives. Instead, they reflect the widespread demand for an Internet that is no longer based on third-party cookies – and remains free of charge. The complaints indicate a general trend: For some years now, there has been an increasing number of initiatives against collecting and managing personal data.
Legislation is increasingly meeting consumer demands for more data protection, as the introduction of the GDPR shows. So far, the regulations have revolved around data protection. Now the tech giants have gone one step further and have restricted cross-site tracking: Google by eliminating third-party cookies and Apple through updates to ITP. From now on, digital actors are forced to adapt to a world with non-identifiable users and to operate their targeting without access to user data.
Marketing in e-commerce: a world without cookies
In any case, cookie advertising has many disadvantages for e-commerce. It is expensive because many intermediaries and sites need to set up consent pop-ups for cookies. 63 percent of Germans are annoyed by the many cookie messages on websites or feel restricted when surfing online. This resulted from a representative survey on behalf of Germany’s largest e-mail providers Web.de and GMX. The result: annoyed users who are not in the mood to buy. Ultimately, this shift in digital advertising is an opportunity to think about more innovative, more user-friendly advertising.
Whether you want it or not: web players will have to do without third-party cookies. Will this revolution call into question the original principle of free access to the web? How can we survive without the revenue from targeted advertising on a gratification-based Internet when users are used to freeing content and want it to stay that way? The end of cookies will force all web players to find new ways of marketing e-commerce to reach internet users.
Contextual advertising: transparent, interest-centered and completely without cookies
The solution is: contextual advertising. More and more website operators are choosing to implement context-sensitive advertising on their pages. This type of advertising is no longer based on personal data. It is based on the content of the respective article and thus delivers a better return on investment. The jeans brand Levis, for example, provides proof. To introduce a new sustainable jeans line, the company wanted to increase brand awareness among female shoppers.
With the help of specially developed AI technology, SeedtagIdentify popular content that matched the target audience’s interests. Thus, they enabled the brand to integrate their advertising messages into relevant and engaging content fully. The Contextual Engagement Display solution was applied to the entire Fashion Content area to ensure that the content is displayed to precisely the right users at precisely the right time without relying on third-party cookies. After launching the campaign, Levis increased its ad recall rate by 41 percent.
In the future, contextual advertising will replace traditional target group targeting because it offers consumers transparently and without cookies. Contextual targeting is more sophisticated than ever. Contextual AI can interpret an article’s tonality, mood, and emotions with an almost human-like understanding. This allows advertisers to operate more effectively and better targeted digital marketing in e-commerce. With the help of the algorithm based on machine learning, retailers can optimize their content on the one hand and collect more extensive data on the interactions of users with their content on the other.
Marketing in e-commerce has to be more intelligent, faster, and more agile
The pandemic has shown that e-commerce marketing has to be smarter, faster, and more agile than ever. While consumer behavior and consumption change rapidly, the proven effectiveness of contextual measures remains constant. Hyper-relevant advertisements that grab consumers’ attention and guide them automatically make them more loyal customers through their online journey.
Now that the attention span of users has hit rock bottom, it is essential to place advertising where it can have a positive impact on brand perception. Contextual advertising can do just that. The significant advances in AI and predictive analytics mean that in-depth, real-time contextual analytics can go hand in hand with data protection compliance.
These challenges represent an excellent opportunity for innovation in marketing in e-commerce. We now have the chance to get advertising back on track. That means delivering appealing and relevant advertising that offers a great user experience and is supported by new technologies and strategies. Studies consistently show that consumers are willing to accept useful advertising in exchange for free content.
The key to success in 2021 will be to work with partners who use intelligent technology to deliver interest-centric rather than user-data-centric advertising. Only in this way can it be remembered, trigger a positive feeling, and benefit everyone.