Cookieless FAQs: Overview of Marketing without Third-party Cookies

What are cookies and pixels?

A cookie is like a folder that collects all the information about a user’s actions on the advertiser’s website and stores it in the user’s browser. Pixels place cookies on the user’s browser. This allows Sojern’s servers to identify and target them with relevant ads, as well as control the number of times they see the ad.

A pixel is a block of code placed on an advertisers’ website in order to track a user's actions as they browse. When someone leaves their website without converting, that data is passed back to Sojern’s servers so we can target them with an ad and influence them to complete a booking on the advertisers’ site.

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What's the difference between first-party and third-party cookies?

A first-party cookie is code placed on a user’s browser by the website itself. A third-party cookie is code placed on a user's browser by someone other than the website owner (e.g. Sojern) when they visit the website.

  • First-party cookies are used to remember passwords and preferences to enhance user experience, track on-site actions, and collect analytical data. For example, when you visit a website, add items to your cart and return to purchase them later, first-party cookies are the technology that remembers what you wanted to purchase and keeps them them for you so that when you return, your path to purchase is smooth and efficient.
  • Third-party cookies are used to track web activity across various websites and are often created by ad tech vendors.
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How will a cookieless approach impact campaign performance?

Given the impact of COVID-19 on the travel industry, it's difficult to predict the impact a cookieless approach will have on campaign performance from 2024 onwards. However, we're confident in the ability of our cookieless and AI technologies in driving high-performing campaigns. Going forward, adopting a multi-channel approach will be more important than ever before for campaign success. We strongly suggest you contact your Sojern representative to discuss the additional channels available to you, in particular, SEM & Metasearch.

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How will Sojern work with Google’s DV360 now that Google announced they won’t support hashed emails?

Google has been a great partner of Sojern and we respect their decision to not build any alternate identifiers when third-party cookies are phased out. We will continue to partner with Google and test any new targeting methods, including Google FLoC.

It's worth noting that Google will still continue to allow the use of hashed email through its own channels like Youtube, and that Sojern also partners with other DSPs like Xandr and The Trade Desk that support hashed emails as an identifier.

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Does Sojern work with other DSPs besides Google DV360?

Yes. We are committed to providing the scale needed to help our clients drive direct bookings, which is why a multi-channel, multi-DSP strategy (Google, Xandr, The Trade Desk) is core to our business at Sojern.

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What is Google's FLoC solution and will Sojern support it?

Google’s Federated Learning of Cohorts (FLoC) solution is exclusively for the Chrome web browser, so it will not be supported by other web browsers or in mobile app environments. FLoC is composed of data on user behaviors within the Chrome web browser. As of June 2021, FloC has been recalled for further testing and refinement, and will not been released to developers until late 2022. As the first certified Google Marketing Partner in travel, Sojern will be among that first group of testers.

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Will Sojern support other industry initiatives like Universal ID 2.0 (UID2.0)?

Yes, we plan to be compatible with UID2.0 and other initiatives. The UID 2.0 relies on hashed emails as the foundation of the ID. We are able to future-proof our customer's digital marketing strategies because our approach will be interoperable with UID 2.0. Most of the industry’s alternative ID initiatives also use hashed email as a foundation, so we will be compatible with any new system that has hashed email at its core.

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Will Sojern still be able to use partner data for targeting in the cookieless world?

Yes. We will continue to use partner data on other DSPs like Xandr, The Trade Desk, Verizon, Amazon and in social channels like Facebook, TikTok, Snapchat, and Pinterest. We are working with data partners around the world to secure hashed email data and ensure a seamless transition.

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How will consumers opt-out of Sojern’s tracking?

Sojern will support consumer’s privacy choices through a tool that ties the consumer’s preferences (opt-in / opt-out) to hashed emails and record these preferences for ad targeting.

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How does this change affect cross-device tracking?

Today, cross-device targeting is not possible based solely on third party cookies. It requires combining multiple data sources in a probabilistic identity graph. Third-party cookies are one part of that data source.

With identifiers like hashed emails, cross-device targeting becomes a deterministic opportunity, because the unique identifiers are used across all devices to target consumers. Hashed emails now let us reach consumers across a variety of logged-in environments, in a more accurate way.

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Can Sojern only effectively target consumers that have already been to my website?

Not necessarily. For targeting, we can prospect audiences through Sojern partner data, Google’s FLoC, and through contextual / keyword targeting. However, a first-party cookie combined with hashed email will be required for site retargeting.

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How will this change affect Sojern's ability to retarget and what can I do to prepare? Are there other channels I should start exploring?

If travel marketers don’t prepare for the cookieless world, then there could be a performance dip in retargeting. Advertisers can start preparing for the cookieless world today by adopting a multi-channel approach. We believe that a multi-channel strategy will be the best option to ensure continuity of strong campaign performance. This includes expanding into new channels that don’t use cookies (like Facebook, Search, and Meta) and putting in place systems that will use cookie replacements (like hashed email).

Begin collecting the emails of consumers on your site today through a permissions-based approach. Encourage them to log in and opt-in for marketing by incentivizing them with special offers, discounts, and so on. If you don’t have first-party cookies on your site today, that is another step you can take now.

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What is Sojern's new cookieless targeting framework?

Sojern's traveler targeting framework includes several strategies to reach and convert audiences at scale, including:

  1. Addressable Targeting: This allows us target specific individuals we know something about. E.g. website retargeting. We believe that having a solid addressable targeting strategy is core to this cookieless world.
  2. Cohort Targeting: This lets us target a group of people we know something about, but doesn't allow us target specific individuals within that group. E.g. Google FLoC.
  3. Keyword / Contextual Targeting: This lets us target audiences based on keywords, content and topics of specific webpages, instead of targeting based on online behaviour. E.g. Native advertising / pre-roll video ads.
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How will this change impact on upper-funnel targeting?

Upper-funnel targeting in a cookieless world will be powered through Sojern partner data, AI audiences, contextual / keyword targeting and cohort solutions, with a strong focus on programmatic, social and CTV channels.

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Will the cookieless world have an impact on CPCs, CPMs, etc?

It's not totally clear how publisher CPMs will be impacted given all of the cookieless solutions coming to market. However, you can look at Safari as an indicator that there will be downward pressure on publisher CPMs. When Safari killed third party cookies, the cost of publisher inventory for those users dropped as fewer buyers were using valuable audience data to target.

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Considering the majority of authenticated traffic happens within walled gardens, does that means scale will be limited?

In comparison to what is available with 3rd party cookie targeting, yes, the scale with hashed email will be limited. However, other DSPs that Sojern uses (e.g. Xandr, The Trade Desk, etc.) all support hashed email targeting which will help fill the gap. Its also important to note that hashed email targeting unlocks cross-device & cross-channel targeting, something which is impossible via 3rd party cookies, which makes targeting users across their path to purchase a lot more powerful.

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How are frequency caps impacted?

We will still track and analyze the frequency and reach on users that are authenticated. Non-authenticated users will have other targeting restrictions in place to account for inefficiencies. For addressable targeting, frequency capping will work as it does today, just based on hashed email. It is still TBD how frequency capping will work for cohort and contextual targeting.

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