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, and control the number of times they see the ad.

A pixel is a block of code placed on an advertiser's 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 a code placed on a user’s browser by the website itself. A third-party cookie is a 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 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?

While campaign performance and reporting may be impacted, Sojern is confident in the ability of our cookieless and machine learning technologies to drive high-performing campaigns. Going forward, adopting a multi-identifier and channel approach will be more important than ever before for campaign success. We strongly suggest you contact your Sojern representative to discuss updating your pixels and adding channels available to you, particularly 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 Protected Audiences and Topics API.

It's worth noting that Google will still continue to allow the use of hashed email through some of its channels like Youtube, and that Sojern also partners with other DSPs like Xandr that support other identifiers.

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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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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 and in social channels like Facebook and Instagram. 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 supports consumers' privacy choices through a tool that ties the consumer’s preferences (opt-in / opt-out) to hashed emails and records those preferences for ad targeting. Sojern also participates in the DAA, EDAA, and DAAC opt-out platforms, which offer consumers choices to opt out of behavioral advertising.

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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 and device IDs, cross-device targeting becomes a deterministic opportunity because the unique identifiers are used across all devices to target consumers.

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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 Topics API, and through contextual / keyword targeting. However, a first-party cookie combined with anonymous identifiers 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, 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 a multi-channel strategy will be the best option to ensure the 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. Explain the benefits of providing an email or being logged in, e.g., receiving personalized experiences or offers. 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 to 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 to 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 web pages instead of targeting based on online behavior. 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, machine-learning lookalike audiences, contextual / keyword targeting, and cohort solutions, with a strong focus on programmatic, social, and video 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 anonymous identifiers will be limited. However, other DSPs that Sojern uses (e.g., Xandr) support anonymous identifier targeting, which will help fill the gap. It's also important to note that anonymous identifier targeting unlocks cross-device and cross-channel targeting, 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 of 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 different targetable IDs. How frequency capping will work for cohort and contextual targeting is still TBD.

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