DeepIntent: Healthcare Marketers Need to Prepare Now for the Cookieless Future

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As the Internet moves toward a future without third-party cookies, marketers need to start testing new solutions and considering their options, sooner rather than later. That was the key takeaway from a recent webinar featuring Chris Paquette, Founder and CEO of healthcare advertising platform DeepIntent, and Caitlin Borgman, Chief Commercial Officer at digital identity firm ID5.

Google announced in July that it planned to phase out third-party cookies on Chrome by the second half of 2024, pushing back its original target date for the second time. In April, Apple started prompting users to opt in or out of its Identifier for Advertisers (IDFA) and has already stopped using third-party cookies on its Safari browser. Mozilla Firefox also does not use third-party cookies. Together, Safari and Firefox represent 40% of Internet browser usage in the U.S., according to Statista. Chrome makes up 49%.

This change is important for healthcare marketers, because better campaign performance means educating more healthcare provider and patient audiences about conditions and treatment options, ultimately improving patient outcomes, according to DeepIntent. As a result, healthcare marketers need to start thinking now about the future and how to achieve similar or better results relying on first-party data, clean rooms, independent and universal IDs and other tools.

What's important going forward is to use identifiers that incorporate consent and that protect users' privacy.

Borgman noted that many publishers were early to adopt universal identifiers as a way of preserving their business. "On the buying community side, we're starting to experiment and run more test campaigns with universal IDs so that we can operate like this is a cookieless present," she said.

The arrival of Europe's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in 2018 forced many companies -- and particularly those that operate in Europe -- to make the switch. Companies such as ID5 already offer identifiers that comply with GDPR. Those standards are maintained regardless of the country in which ID5 is operating.

"DeepIntent has looked at GDPR as an indicator for what may happen here in the U.S.," said Paquette. The company works closely with legislators on data and privacy issues in California, a state that tends to lead the nation in these areas. California was the first state to introduce comprehensive privacy legislation, which goes into effect on January 1, 2023.

ID5 already has baked GDPR compliance into its identity product. "Any ID that we create is based on user consent," Borgman explained. "We encrypt the IDs to ensure that data associated with them is accessed only by authorized parties. We also comply with global privacy control, which is a technical specification for transmitting universal opt-out signals at the browser level. And lastly, we practice what we preach. We give users visibility on how user data is being used, and we allow them to opt out as well."

DeepIntent researched cookieless ID providers like ID5 as it sought to map consumer IDs that are embedded with offline data, for example, or with healthcare and medical claims data, said Paquette. "Doing that in a privacy-safe way is going to be, I think, the critical bridge to make sure that we're still able to power things like lookalike audiences or measurement or provider-level data on the [healthcare provider] side.

"We have to make sure that the fidelity and the veracity of those connections are true," he continued, "because what we would hate to have happen is something like 18 different people mapped to one ID or 18 IDs mapped to one individual. And then, all of a sudden, the data gets obfuscated, the models are bad, the measurement is off. The quality of data is most important for marketers."

Looking ahead, marketers should start testing campaigns using both third-party cookies and universal identifiers -- and soon. In addition, they should consider scalability, pricing, ROI, frequency capping and attribution models and think about how they are going to adjust their systems to get similar results in a cookieless world.

"2023 is going to be an important year for many reasons," said Paquette. "I think making sure that there's some testing going on -- and having a good understanding of the relative impact on ROI or other metrics that you're looking at -- will be really important so that you can make adjustments. By this time next year, you will have a really good sense of what 2024 will look like, which is when Google plans to deprecate the cookie."

In the end, the transition may be a challenge, but it should ultimately be for the best, he added. "I think the death of the cookie will be a net benefit for everybody. I think the entire Internet ecosystem will be cleaned up, with better quality of content and more accurate personalization that will ultimately lead to better results for everybody," Paquette concluded.

For more information, download DeepIntent and ID5's white paper on the transition to a cookieless future.

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