How can we mitigate against the phase out of cookies and changes to iOS?

June 28, 2022

How can we mitigate against the phase out of cookies and changes to iOS?

What is the issue? 

Earlier this year, Google announced that Chrome would no longer support third-party cookies from the start of 2024, and Apple has released the option for users to block identifiers for advertisers by default in iOS14. These issues are already having an impact on tracking and will lower return on advertising spend (ROAS) for non-profit organisations which are fundraising through digital channels once cookies disappear if mitigations aren’t put in place now. This increases the need for organisations to maximise the way they store and tag CRM data to build as full a picture of current donors as possible to give the organisation more chance to be able to find people like them to recruit in the future. 

What are the possible mitigations currently in play? 

Technically, even if third party cookies are being removed, all major ad networks still use first party cookies – providing safer and more compliant visitor tracking. The knowledge of advertising audiences or visitors is not lost. In some cases, it can even be improved thanks to smarter AI resolution. In addition, the digital advertising industry is trying to minimise the impacts as it’s in our interests. Solutions like Unified ID 2.0 attempt to replace third party cookies with an alternative identifier that’s tied to hashed and encrypted email addresses. This may or may not work, but many other solutions are vying for pole position currently. However, non-profit organisations aren’t in control of this, so it makes sense to proactively mitigate risks in case all of these proposed solutions fail. 

What can your organisation do? 

  • Build the current donor base as much as is possible, perhaps accepting a lower ROAS. 
  • Focus on regular givers will also help build a stronger, more resilient programme. 
  • The issue of tracking, due to Apple’s changes, is less of a fundamental problem as cookie switch off, as you still get the donations, you just can’t track them in Facebook. However, this has and will impact ROAS as it is no longer as easy to scale spend with incomplete data in Facebook Business Manager. The mitigation here is to learn what ROAS within Facebook means a good ROAS overall and build your own logic and tools to manage the scaling issue. 
  • Maximise the data you collect and store this in your CRM in a way that is actionable in improving your marketing efforts. This means developing your unique playbook for improving data capture, integration, analytics, and insights for targeting and offer personalization for conversion. 
  • Use techniques such as social listening to get a deeper understanding of what the sorts of people who are likely to support you are talking about and how you can make your messaging more relevant to where they are at that specific moment and what sorts of language they use.
  • Start to use AI, which has a crucial role to play at the point of transaction using factors such as time of day, location of visitor and any other information we are allowed to factor in to build logic in the giving experience to maximise revenue without the need for cookies.

To find out more  

If you’d like to find out more about how we’re working with non-profits to help them build their donor bases and mitigate against the cookies and iOS changes, contact us – contact@thinkds.org.


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