Havas and IPG unveil ad tools to replace cookie tracking

cookie 2Agency groups are vying for a slice of the post-cookie market, with both Havas and IPG-owned businesses launching new platforms just days after Google finally started to switch-off third-party ad tracking.

Google’s withdrawal of cookies was first announced as far back as February 2020 – and there have been three stays of execution since – but last week the tech giant said it had activated the system for a random 1% of those who use Chrome, or about 30 million people.

The change means selected users will see a notification when they start Chrome asking them if they want to “browse with more privacy” using a feature called Tracking Protection.

First out of the blocks is Havas Media Network UK, which has unveiled an AI-powered marketing engagement solution, Converged, which it claims will allow advertisers to make smarter, more audience-led media decisions in a cookieless future.

The agency claims it is the first media shop to build a transparent cross-platform solution that provides advertisers with a unified view from planning through to dynamic activation and audience reporting at scale.

Havas maintains that Converged is a solution to the disconnect between planning and buying audiences accelerated by the depreciation of the cookie, signal loss and emergence of new channels and technology.

It offers full cross-platform transparency, handing control of campaign performance, media outcomes and business growth back to digital media advertisers.

This approach works without the need for new technology providers, first party data permissions or ID resolution providers.

Converged links over 35,000 audience insights from the geographic, demographic, attitudinal, behavioural, purchasing and consumption data of over half a million individuals.

Harnessing the latest developments in AI, Converged is designed to offer strategic insights into the individuals, categories and markets that will deliver optimum campaign performance which is then fed back into digital media activation decisioning in real-time.

In development for two years, Havas has been testing the tool with a number of brands, including Homebase. It says that 93% of campaigns in testing have delivered a minimum uplift of 10% improvement and a 45% average improvement in campaign performance, including in sectors as diverse as auto (89%), home and retail (43%) and fashion (32%). These performance improvements are against agreed KPIs across VTR, CPM, CPL, CPC and CPV.

Havas Media Network UK chief data and product officer Laura Kell said, “We believe people are more than IDs. We can’t understand people properly by tracking what they do, what they buy and why, and the demise of the cookie means this is ending anyway. A strength for a particular type of client can be a weakness for another vertical, country or region. With Converged, we are eliminating that one-size-fits-all approach.

“Advertisers are regaining control of the emerging digital ecosystem by improving audience targeting, insight and control and better still, we are under-writing performance without compromise.”

Meanwhile, IPG-owned Acxiom has signed a partnership with customer data infrastructure specialist MetaRouter to implement its solutions, aimed at helping advertisers better define their first-party data strategies without cookies.

The two companies claim that by working together they will be able help brands refine first-party data strategies and develop effective customised marketing technology stacks.

They maintain this approach empowers clients to fully harness their owned data, resulting in more informed decision-making, precise marketing reach, and increased customer trust and return on investment.

Acxiom and MetaRouter are already working with a number of clients, although exact details have been kept under wraps.

Acxiom head of European partnerships Jason Skelton said: “As adtech and martech increasingly converge, we needed a partner who shared our belief in the value of first-party data and the vision to bring these two worlds together.

“By collaborating with MetaRouter, brands can leverage our customer intelligence cloud capabilities across advertising and marketing efforts, optimising first-party data strategies to drive those personalisation events that customers expect today. Through this partnership, we’re not just adapting to change – we’re shaping the future of customer engagement.”

Havas and IPG appear to have a large target for their new initiatives. According to research published last month, nearly two-thirds (63%) of UK marketers still have no clear strategy for personalisation in a cookieless world.

The survey, carried out by Optimizely, found that more than half (54%) also lack a clearly defined strategy for personalisation using first-party data.

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