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  • Writer's pictureMichael Burns

Goodbye Cookies, Hello Privacy: The Future of Smarter, Safer Ads

The Big Change in Online Ads: What's Next Without Those Cookies?

Imagine the internet as a giant mall, where until now, shops could follow you around, noting what you liked, didn't like, and what you bought. They used this info to figure out what to sell you next. This was possible because of something called third-party cookies. But soon, this is all going to change. Big names like Firefox, Safari, and even Google have decided it's time to stop this practice to keep our online shopping trips private.

So, what's the big deal? Well, a lot of marketers – about 75% of them – really depended on these cookies to figure out how to sell stuff online. Some of them even spent half of their budget on this kind of advertising. But with cookies going away, they need to find new ways to figure out what you might like to buy, without being too nosy.

New Ways to Show You Ads Without Being Creepy

Two main ideas are popping up as the next big thing for online ads:

1. Ads That Match What You're Reading About

First up, we've got something called "contextual advertising." This is a fancy way of saying ads will match the content you're already looking at. If you're reading about guitars, you might see ads for guitar strings or music lessons. This isn't really new, but it's getting better thanks to smart technology that can really get what the article or video is about.

2. Using Info You Choose to Share

The other big idea is using what's called "first-party data." This is just a technical term for information that you've directly shared with websites by doing things like signing up for newsletters or buying something from them. This info is like gold for marketers because it's stuff you've chosen to share, making it easier for them to figure out what you might like without guessing.

Mixing It Up for the Best of Both Worlds

What if we could mix these two ideas together? By taking the info that websites already have about you (with your permission) and combining it with ads that make sense for what you're currently interested in, marketers can create ads that are both helpful and not too intrusive. This means ads for things you might actually want to see, like special deals for your favorite products or news about something you're interested in.

What This Means for You

So, what's all this mean for you? Well, online shopping and browsing are going to get a lot less creepy and a lot more relevant. Instead of ads that follow you around based on what you looked at last week, you'll see ads that fit what you're interested in right now. And because these ads use info you've chosen to share, they're more likely to be about stuff you actually want to know about.

As we say goodbye to third-party cookies, we're not just making the internet a more private place; we're also making ads smarter and more related to what you like. It's all about finding new ways to connect you with products and ideas you'll love, without making you feel like you're being watched.

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