The founder of one of the nation’s first digital-marketing agencies, Ciceron in St. Paul, has a message: Third-party cookies on websites are going away — and with them a fairly standard method companies have used to target their ads.
Ciceron will be helping its clients come up with new strategies as it transitions to new leadership and an updated strategy for itself, said Twin Cities agency veteran Tina White, who in December succeeded Andrew Eklund as CEO, heading a leadership team that is 90% women.
The third-party cookies — digital identifiers advertisers use to track website visitors around the internet and send them targeted ads — have been standard for Google and other big players.
But Google, citing rising consumer privacy concerns, plans to remove the cookies from its Chrome browser, years after competing browsers including Firefox and Safari took action.
But such a move on Chrome, with nearly 63% of the worldwide browser market, could “decimate the advertising industry with no solution in place,” Eklund said.
Now, players like Ciceron will need to work with clients to build a new digital-advertising structure.
The metaverse is where White would like to host the innovation lab that Ciceron is launching this year to test new concepts for brands. Eklund sees the lab tapping into his global network of “thinkers and doers and planners” in everything from the blockchain and cryptocurrency to virtual reality, genetics, entrepreneurship and investing.
Creating experiences — perhaps app-based, in-store, virtual reality or 3-D — that drive more intimate interaction may get consumers to opt in, Eklund said. Or brands could offer a form of equity — digital tokens, perhaps — that might increase in value as the company becomes more successful. Consumers then could trade these for goods or services, premium packages or access.
“That’s a really revolutionary thought, right?” Eklund said. “Will it happen? I don’t know. But the building blocks are all there or are beginning to be there. An agency like ours, that has always ridden this line between technology innovation and consumer behavior, we just think that there’s a wide open field of opportunity for us that may or may not look anything like advertising.”
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