Cookieless Targeting and Identity Solutions

An audience-first approach or 1:1 marketing is something brands often strive for. As a digital marketing partner, it’s at the core of our mission. 

However, the ‘cookieless world’, the meanest curveball Google has thrown at the industry yet, is approaching – even if its arrival has been further delayed. With cookieless targeting, being ‘audience-first’ takes on a new definition. 

Targeting will no longer be as simple as building an audience persona and pressing “go” on pre-made data sets. Instead, it’s about really diving into the ethos of who your core consumer is and using that intel to guide your audience strategy.

We sat down with Coegi’s Account Strategy Director, Savannah Westbrock, to get her perspective and tips on how she’s helping clients prepare for cookieless targeting. The following article is an edited transcript of that interview.

It’s Time to Improve Your Audience Research

How should audience research change in light of the cookieless future?

There are three changes in audience research most marketers need to make to ensure the data tells an accurate story: 

  1. Understand the methodology: We rely on research every day to inform our media plans and marketing decision making. However, we often don’t peel back the curtain to understand how that data was collected and consider potential biases. In the cookieless future, it will be even more important to think critically and be selective with our data sourcing. 
  2. Exit the platform: Don’t rely solely on demand side platform information and forecasting for your planning. This data will be most affected by cookie deprecation. Instead, combine platform insights with external research that never relied on cookies. 
  3. Diversify your data sources: It’s time to get creative. Platform data and syndicated research will still hold value. But, you’ll need to layer it with non-syndicated data and first party data. Combine these tools to see a full picture. Even consider non-media data, such as macro-environmental trends, which may impact your audience’s behaviors and the industry at large. 

What types of cookieless data should brands be gathering to understand their audiences?

Pixel-based retargeting is essentially out of the picture. The best pivot brands can make is mining their own first-party data. But you don’t have to rely solely on your own data. Combine ‘hard’ data such as your website and platform analytics with ‘soft’ data such as social listening. Taking a more journalistic approach with these softer data sources can actually provide more meaningful insights and make your brand more authentic and trustworthy. 

Tip: Balance quantitative and qualitative data. Trust your instincts and use research to back up or refute as needed. 

How can marketers collect and expand their first-party data? 

First, you need to have systems in place to generate leads. Then, it’s all about what you do with that customer data to maximize results and become more strategic. 

Lead generation campaigns: Keep first-party data and zero-party data collection top of mind when planning campaigns. For example, promoting a useful downloadable with a lead form. This will help drive consideration and give you an opportunity to learn about your audience in exchange for shared value. 

Data enrichment: Once you collect and understand your first-party data, you can upload it to enrichment tools, such as consumer survey platforms. This helps you learn more about your audience’s interests, media consumption and day-to-day behaviors. 

Cookieless Audience Targeting Alternatives

Is contextual targeting an effective cookieless targeting strategy? 

If your audience research is thorough, you will know the channels your audience frequents, their preferred devices, favorite shows, and where they are most engaged. Pair this insight with contextual placements that make sense for your ads. 

Contextual strategies fell by the wayside in the late 2010s. Many brands focused on only reaching the “perfect” deterministic, addressable audience with cookie-based data. So some marketers may fear for impression waste by comparison. However, there are now many sophisticated contextual solutions that allow for hyper-customization and reach niche interest groups

For instance, Natural Language Processing (NLP) algorithms are beginning to better understand the actual context of ad placements using artificial intelligence. This allows marketers to implement positive sentiment targeting and smarter keyword targeting. Smart contextual offerings can optimize to real-time content trends, going beyond standard display. 

Are new user identity solutions direct replacements for cookies? 

Cookieless identity solutions such as Unified ID 2.0 and Liveramp’s IdentityLink will help reach high-value segments without wasting media dollars on the wrong audiences. But, there will still be gaps. Pre-made audiences and 1:1 third party targeting will not be the same. As cookie-based information is no longer shared across the web, we’ll need to tap a few different buying strategies. I also expect walled gardens will center in on themselves more, protecting their high value audience data. 

To overcome these challenges, marketers use all the data at your disposal to understand customers better, from channel-based information, survey data, CRM analysis, Google Analytics, and more. 

Cookieless Targeting Tips

What’s your best advice to brands preparing for a cookieless future?

There’s a lot to consider, but the two simple things brands should prioritize are: 

  1. Invest in first-party data collection
  2. Start testing now 

The most important thing you can do now is establish a baseline. Then you can conduct a true study comparing your performance with and without cookies. Cover these two bases and you will be ahead of many brands. From there, you can continue to refine and adjust your research, targeting and measurement strategies as the industry evolves. 

Our team at Coegi is actively testing cookieless solutions and brainstorming innovative cookieless media plans for our clients. For more strategic insights and tips on how to prepare your digital advertising for this change, listen to our full podcast episode on cookieless targeting here

2023 Video Advertising Trends and Best Practices

In our Social Media Trends Report, we highlighted that video content is king. Well, that trend is not just across social media, but across most digital channels: programmatic video, Connected TV, YouTube, programmatic out of home, etc. To capitalize on this, brands must approach video marketing with a strategic, omnichannel approach to reach target audiences wherever they are most engaged.

How Have Trends In Video Consumption And Ad Spend Changed?

Social Media Is An Untapped Market For Video Advertising

As a consumer, it feels like videos are everywhere. But as a marketer, video continues to be underutilized. In fact, across Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, video content comprises only 14%, 11%, and 5% of each network’s content, respectively. This is largely due to creative costs and misunderstanding about the ROI video offers. 

Social Media Video Marketing Trends For 2023

Social media video advertising spend is continuing to increase. Video ads are expected to account for nearly 35% of social ad spend in 2023

Digital channels overall are set to exceed 60% of global ad spend. Since half of social media users prefer video over other types of content and 85% of social media users want more videos from brands, the use of video in social media has never been more important. 

Ready to tap into the opportune video advertising market? Here are four tips for high-performing social video content marketing. 

1) Understand How Social Platforms Are Used

It’s important to keep in mind that social sites are used for different purposes. For example, Instagram is the top platform for viewing photos, Facebook is used most for sharing content, and LinkedIn is used mostly for professional networking. Consider how your brand and your creative messaging fits into the user experience on each platform. 

2) Lean Into Platform Prioritizations

Understanding which formats different platforms prioritize to optimize your ad types for maximum visibility. For example, Instagram stated they are going to “double-down on [their] focus on video and consolidate all video formats around Reels” as they try to keep pace with TikTok. Knowing this, Instagram Reels and Facebook overlay ads in Reels should be utilized for paid media marketing. 

3) Keep It Short And Simple

Videos must be short and to the point as consumers’ attention spans are ever-shortening. According to Vidyard, 60% of all online videos in 2020 were under two minutes long. In 2022, 58% of users indicated that they will watch the entirety of a business’s video if it’s less than 60 seconds long. Even six second advertisements that quickly showcase the brand’s value drive consumer consideration.

4) Always Use Captions

Videos with captions receive 40% more views and make viewers 80% more likely to watch until the end. We should never exclude audiences who are deaf or hard of hearing. Accessibility is key for video across all channels. 

So, Why Is Digital Video Advertising So Effective?

Video is an impactful medium in the art of storytelling, but there’s a deeper neurological reason that compels us to consume. According to research, the brain processes images 60,000 times faster than text. When you consider we can only process five words per second, and our attention span is roughly eight seconds long, it’s easy to understand the science behind video’s growing popularity. 

In fact, four times as many consumers would prefer to watch a video, rather than read about the same subject. And yes, it’s ironic that I’m writing about this topic.


Why You Should Incorporate Social Media Video Into An Agnostic Video Strategy

Despite social media’s massive popularity, putting all your efforts into Facebook video may cause your brand to miss out. Not everyone is active on social media and audiences are fragmented across many disparate social platforms. This is why we encourage our brands to incorporate both programmatic and social channels into an agnostic video advertising strategy. This ensures they are delivering this high-impact creative to their audiences regardless of where they are spending time. 

What Are The Benefits Of An Agnostic Video Marketing Strategy?

  • Ability to repurpose video advertising content across channels
  • Greater audience reach by not excluding certain channels 
  • Improve frequency by retargeting across channels
  • More accurate tracking and measurement capabilities 

Written by Julia Wold, Director of Operations and Anissa Reko, Senior Social Media Specialist

Additional Reading

3 Key Elements for Better Performing Video Content

Why Short Form Video is Critical For Your Brand’s Success

Creating Strategic Opportunities With Connected TV Advertising

3 Higher Education Marketing Strategies to Boost Enrollment

Choosing which college or university to attend is often one of the biggest decisions a young adult makes. Higher education institutions need to be in tune with what the potential new student and others in their support system value in order to be that school of choice. Creating higher education marketing strategies that support college enrollment presents several challenges:

  1. A complex targeting strategy: How do you reach rising juniors and seniors, parents and guardians, and adults seeking advanced degrees or just starting their education?
  2. The popularization of alternate schooling routes (e.g. trade schools or certifications)
  3. A long sales cycle: Influences on college decision making begin at a young age. When do you start marketing and how do you keep individuals engaged over the multi-year journey? 

Fortunately, having a strong digital marketing strategy can drive enrollments with agility and efficiency. 

Here are my top three higher education marketing strategies to help you get started:

1) Mix Targeting and Messaging to Reach Both Student and Guardian Audiences

Persuading parents

Start by reaching parents and guardians first, providing long-term education to these key decision makers. Parents are the longer term play and require a unique messaging and channel strategy.  Promote the value of a degree from your university or program five years after graduation. That’s what parents are typically thinking about and value most – how will your school set their child up for success? 

Persuading students

With young students, you want to persuade them with their hearts. Communicate the experiential benefits of your school and how they will become part of the community. Capture the campus life vibrantly to show what makes your college or university special. Lastly, help them see how your school will prepare them for the future, while offering a safety net to learn and grow.

Persuading non-traditional students

Don’t forget your non-traditional students. Showcase benefits like flexibility to forge their own education path. Highlight programs with online options, night classes, or part-time schedules, allowing students to create custom experiences for their individual needs. Additionally, create personalized marketing campaigns to promote the value of advanced degrees. 

2) Select Channels that Resonate with Your Key Demographics


Video offers a solid foundation for higher education marketing strategies. The medium naturally lends itself to strong engagement, and offers a more personal view into day-to-day life on campus. Videoed student testimonials are a great way to build relatable content for students. Similarly, videos of professors can instill confidence that students will thrive in the school’s learning environment. Complement the video with a QR code or landing page to a PDF or brochure that reinforces the video content.  

Placing these videos on more premium channels such as Connected TV (CTV) and YouTube is a great place to start. YouTube is a channel people go to for advice, perhaps looking for content such as “top 10 universities for engineering.” CTV offers the non-skippable, large-screen format to establish brand trust and recognition across the household (with greater flexibility than traditional cable TV). 

Social Media

Social media is a huge part of decision making for students thinking about next steps in their lives. Content on social is a major source of influence and inspiration. Video marketing ties in very well with a paid social media strategy, especially on TikTok, Instagram, and Snapchat. 

We’re currently seeing high engagement on TikTok ads with our higher education clients. When done well, higher education institutions are able to reach stakeholders in a way that feels more organic. People inherently use the platform to search for valuable information, not just to seek entertainment. So it’s great for building intent, beyond awareness

With paid social creative strategy, the key is communicating your value authentically. Don’t try to be deceptive and act as if your ad isn’t an ad. But do be natural and avoid over-curation which sticks out and can cause more harm than good. Think of social media as a way to initiate a conversation, not just create demand.  

Paid Search

These individuals have lives outside of social media. Sure, they’re likely spending several hours a day on social media. But, you need to reach them across various touchpoints. Video advertising across programmatic and social channels starts to drive education and consideration of various programs you offer. Then, look into mid-bottom funnel tactics to start supporting conversions.

This is a great time to introduce paid search – a very reliable conversion driver for higher education brands. Use insights from your awareness campaigns to inform the keyword and audience targeting strategy on this channel. Paid search can be a vehicle to promote downloadable educational materials or even applications now that your audience is at a higher intent phase. 

3) Use Lifecycle Messaging to Keep Decision Makers Engaged

Understand the multiyear cycle of a collegiate decision making process. Lifecycle messaging engages students and influential decision makers from initial awareness to application. 


Start the cycle by investing in broad awareness early on. Focus on reaching parents first, then students, placing your school on the map as an option for their future. Use compelling video and other visual content to create a memorable impact. In this stage, use messaging to evoke positive emotions while making audiences aware of the higher education options you provide. 


Work to establish yourself in the consideration set – those top 5 -10 higher education institutions. Shift to more conversion-based tactics, such as lead generation display ads or swipe-up campaigns on social media to gather prospective student information. In this phase, offer more details about the value of your programs, the campus experience, and the differentiators making your school special. 

Application & Enrollment

Once a new semester is approaching, how do you get interested students to take the leap and apply? Use data and insights to find audiences who are ready to take action. Then, drive conversions using tactics like paid search, email marketing, social, and SMS ads with the call-to-action of “Apply Now.” 

If you need a marketing partner to create your custom higher education marketing strategies, contact Coegi today to learn more. 

We’ll guide you through the process of in-depth research to identify your ideal target audience and how you can reach them. Then, we’ll partner with your team to activate a strategic, omnichannel media plan based on your core business goals. 

The OTT/CTV Advertising Opportunity | Webinar

OTT/CTV advertising has officially met the reach of broadcast television. Streaming and connected TV devices exploded in 2020 as more consumers stayed home and cut the cord. In 2021, there were nearly 214 million connected television users, and that number is projected to increase to 230 million by 2025.

If streaming TV ads are new to you, you likely have many questions about the landscape. 

  • How are users consuming television today? 
  • Who is streaming versus watching cable? 
  • How do you address cross-device streaming? 
  • How do you measure and test connected TV ad performance? 

You’re not alone. These questions are top of mind for many marketers. CTV is constantly changing and capabilities evolve seemingly overnight. To clear up some of that uncertainty, we answer these and many more questions in this webinar. 

Coegi partners with leading industry experts from TheTradeDesk, Magnite, and iSpot.TV. In this webinar, the panelists clearly explain the immense opportunity available to advertisers in streaming TV. You’ll come away from this webinar with a much stronger understanding of the advertising opportunity on CTV and how to leverage it for maximum marketing ROI. 

In addition, you’ll learn: 

  • The latest trends in OTT/CTV advertising for brands and consumers
  • Ways to strategically incorporate premium CTV inventory into your campaigns
  • Recommendations on how to effectively measure CTV

For more resources, download our free CTV Advertising Guide.

The Drum – Automated Buying Strategies Need to Change

It’s time to challenge the status quo for audience targeting and measurement.

Many marketers have become highly dependent on the comfort of retargeting and the convenience of cookie-based ‘deterministic’ audiences. As a result, they readily accept the standard reports that claim that their ads are being served in the proper places (and not to bots).

But vanity metrics will be exposed, requiring marketers to abandon the ‘easy’ option and put in the work to determine what strategic changes must occur to drive growth for their brands.

Marketers need new ways to effectively reach audiences and drive results. That means testing new measurement partners, activating more private marketplaces and direct buys, and using technology to expand measurement capabilities beyond historical defaults. Brands must test and learn, benchmarking performance with cookies versus cookieless, to stay ahead of the competition.

The Drum – Four Tools for Creating Successful Agency-Client Relationships

Things are moving at top speed, and clients’ 2022 goals are no exception. It can feel like a rat race as you re-evaluate budget, implement new tactics, reconstruct messages, tweak creative – doing ‘all the things.’

Being agile and pivoting for every single client whim will keep you on the roster today, but is that the partnership you anticipated when you first began? Coegi’s account strategy director Danielle Wesolowski has four tools to help you build the relationships you envisioned.

The Drum – What We Can Learn from Movie Marketing

What can the industry learn from the ways movies themselves are marketed – an area of the industry that sees some of its most creative cut-through work?

Savannah Westbrock, account strategy director at Coegi recommends: tailor assets to maximize excitement

All marketers can take cues from how the film industry has tweaked its standard playbook to bring digital and creative strategy together for the best customer experience and brand storytelling.

Consumer attention started to noticeably decline in the 2010s, and theater owners quickly caught on. They started pushing movie trailers to follow the same advice digital buyers give creative teams: shorten your videos. 2.5 minute trailers can be frustrating to sit through; and putting the same on various platforms can fatigue audiences. Thankfully, film marketers have started to improve their playbook and curate messaging for digital platforms.

Shorter ‘teaser’ trailers before the full trailer are becoming the norm; blockbusters now have multiple trailers introducing new footage to excite audiences over time. These strategies can be applied to any brand’s video strategy. For example, use six-second social media placements to tease standard ads. Or adapt your primary ad to digital video placements across social media and YouTube. Consider using sequential messaging to bring the audience through the full campaign story.

The Drum – Travel’s Return Voyage

Travel was hit hard by the pandemic. Lockdowns and other restrictions decimated business for airlines, accommodation providers and countless businesses downstream of the travel industry. Recovery has been slow in the pandemic’s long tail, with continued trepidation now exacerbated by inflation and cost-of-living crises. Many marketers have been closely involved in travel clients’ pivots, survival strategies and (now) regrowth plans.

We asked five experts from The Drum Network: what should marketers be thinking of during travel’s return voyage?

Thomas O’Malley, senior account manager, Coegi: use the right data in the right way

Travel brands have faced what have, at times, felt like insurmountable challenges during the pandemic. Our team had to be adaptable for our tourism clients, balancing creative ways to meet their goals while maintaining important public health considerations. We began using non-media data to assess consumer reception (and safety) to travel in certain areas.

The Drum – Future of TV Panel

Still grappling with the evolution of TV and what it means for brands and consumers alike? Then this session is for you. We’ll be covering the evolving television landscape: bundling (and un-bundling), the future of on-demand, and how traditional broadcast TV is keeping up. You’ll leave with a clear view of how brands can take advantage of the best of both worlds – both streaming and linear.

The Drum – The Key to Breaking Into International Markets

Launching a brand in a new international market is no easy feat. Thankfully Ryan Green, vice-president of marketing and innovation at Coegi, shares some of the key challenges and considerations to make the transition as seamless as possible.

From a technical standpoint, you have to consider possible language barriers, time zone differences, dynamic advertising regulations, platform preference and availability, and more.

From a cultural perspective, there’s even more to unpack. What’s considered funny in the United States could be completely misunderstood, or even offensive, elsewhere. Holidays and lifestyles are likely to vary dramatically. The consumers’ day-to-day behaviors and perspectives are, simply put, nuanced and distinct. Because of this, the most important component of an international marketing strategy is cultural relevance.

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