Jan 24 2024
Megan Reschke

Cookieless Advertising for B2B Marketers


Over the past several years, digital advertisers have grappled with widespread signal loss due to a variety of factors, including Apple’s App Transparency, new digital advertising regulations, and increased privacy demands from consumers. Now, after numerous delays, third-party cookie deprecation in Google Chrome has officially begun, making the challenge of adapting to signal loss even more urgent.

Though it’s happening in phases—with only 1% of Chrome users having cookies disabled in Q1 2024—the total third-party phaseout slated for later this year will be here before we know it. For B2B companies, who are already navigating the complexities of a rapid shift from traditional to digital advertising channels, this transition poses additional challenges.

To help B2B teams amidst this transition, we turned to Natalie Lowe, Basis Technologies’ VP of Integrated Client Solutions, for her top recommendations on how B2B advertisers can navigate signal loss and continue to connect with the right businesses, on the right channels, with the right message.

What are the top considerations for B2B advertisers as we move towards a cookieless future?

Natalie Lowe: For B2B advertisers, it can feel like everything is changing at a whirlwind pace. There’s already been a huge shift from traditional to digital channels over the past several years, and as investment in digital has grown, so too has reliance on third-party cookies and their attribution capabilities. So, within the B2B space, there’s been a lot of uneasiness and unrest as we’ve encountered signal loss and started to approach the cookieless future.

That said, we’re starting to see a shift now, and B2B marketers and brands have begun to reframe and rethink their advertising strategies in the context of this larger signal loss. Teams are realizing that there’s an opportunity to lean more deeply into connections with target audiences, and to focus on quality of leads over quantity of leads (which is, admittedly, a hard shift to make). B2B teams often already have a relatively narrow audience they’re trying to connect with, since B2B software and service offerings are quite specific. Within the context of third-party cookie deprecation in Chrome and the larger signal loss taking place throughout the advertising industry, it’s going to become even more critical to lean into first-party data, ensure that data is collected and organized in a clean way, and then segment that data to create personalized advertising experiences for the most qualified leads.

What cookieless marketing solutions are particularly useful for B2B advertisers?

NL: When it comes to targeting, contextual relevance will be key. Getting ads placed alongside other content that B2B brands know their key audiences are consuming will be crucial for ensuring their message is reaching the right people when they are in the right mindset. Additionally, leveraging first-party data to get customized messages in front of the right audience is going to be critical. Finally, B2B marketers can lean on using others’ first-party data (aka, second-party data)—for instance, by tapping into social media sites or premium publishers that have proprietary targeting capabilities based on user-entered information. In the cookieless future, B2B marketing teams are going to need to strike a balance between using second-party data and building up their own first-party data.

Attribution, on the other hand, is a whole different ballgame. If B2B marketers don’t already have lead generation on their website, now’s the time to set that up so they can collect that info. Beyond that, there’s going to have to be a shift in mindset and an acceptance that attribution isn’t going to be as precise as it once was. Third-party lift analyses can help measure things like brand awareness, and for companies that have loads of data, media-mix modeling can be useful, but B2B brands and marketing teams will need to recognize that attribution is going to look different and adjust KPIs to this new cookieless landscape.

Could you provide some specific examples for how B2B advertisers might approach the cookieless future?

NL: Sure! Let’s take, for example, a SMB (small or midsize business). If they’re starting a campaign focused on awareness, they might decide to tap into LinkedIn to make the most of the growing trend of using social media to capture the attention of audiences in a personalized way. On LinkedIn, they can use the platform’s proprietary data to do job title/description targeting. They can also take advantage of the brand lift studies that LinkedIn offers to measure the impact of their ads.

Or perhaps there’s a software company focusing on collecting first-party data. They could consider a content-based strategy where they publish a whitepaper on a relevant topic, use contextual targeting to market that whitepaper in relevant places, and then require a form-fill to download the content, meaning each person that downloads it is another de-anonymized lead for future marketing efforts.

Wrapping Up: Cookieless Advertising for B2B Marketers

Navigating signal loss poses challenges for all marketers, and is likely to prove especially tricky for advertisers in the B2B space. However, by homing in on first-party data collection, leveraging cookieless targeting approaches like contextual, and resetting expectations around attribution, B2B companies can find success in the (rapidly approaching) cookieless future.

Want to learn more about the state of identity in 2024? We surveyed over 200 marketing and advertising professionals to discover how they’re navigating signal loss, third-party cookie deprecation, and the shift towards privacy-first digital advertising. Check out all the latest data and insights in our in-depth report.

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