August 12, 2021

Burned cookies imprinted with the logos of the major web browsers


You just moved to a new apartment and are finishing filling the space by searching for sheets, a chair, and some shelving units online. As you go to work the next day and open a browser to check your email, you get an ad promoting the very sheets you had been looking at on your phone. You send a text to your friend about how creepy the ad is and make a mental note not to buy sheets from that company. 

It’s a scene that plays out in one way or another for users across the country every day since the start of hyper-targeted ads. Even as people working in the industry, creating and promoting ads of our own, we still wonder how this one specifically got to us. Or, even feel a bit spooked by how accurately Google guesses what we were going to search.

Well, Apple and Google are raring up to change all of that... 


When we as marketers sit down to find our target audience, the more information we have about them, the better we know where we can reach them and what messaging will connect with them.

Previously, the data available was just sex, age, and what the most viewed televised events were. Now, we can more specifically target people based on increasingly sophisticated data such as where they live, likes and dislikes, who their friends are, their political beliefs, things they’ve searched online, and base ads on the number of times they’ve already visited our website. It’s really been a dream (both for strategists and creatives). But, for the everyday web users (which even us marketers still are after 5 p.m.), ads that seemingly know us so well provoke 1984-esq nightmares. 

So we have one question for you: If you could change that, would you?


illustration showing the components that go into finding your target market

The loss of cookies will make it more challenging for advertisers to reach their target, making it even more important to deliver relevant, useful messaging.



Both Google and Apple have recently made announcements that they’ll be removing the ability to track users across the Internet and share their cookies as third-party companies. While creating a privacy-first stance, they’ll be forcing drastic changes for digital advertisers. And, even though Google has pushed this transition back to 2023, the change is on the horizon.

But, when we lose a lot of that information with Google and Apple removing cookie-tracking, will we still be able to successfully market our products and services? Or is our job about to become near impossible? 

We can say this much, it’s best to get a head start on your testing. Not only will cookies be disappearing from sites, but Apple is adding a feature that will prevent tracking on open and click-thru rates in email. So, if you’re looking to A/B test a new button or finally see if emojis are worth the hype in a subject line, you might want to jump on it now. 

But how are we going to appeal to our target audience without the tracking we’ve gotten used to? 


A study published this year going over data provided by the GlobalWebIndex (GWI) shows what consumers actually want (and don’t want!) from their ads.

Not surprisingly, the study included questions concerning our scenario above. And, as it turns out, only three out of 10 wanted ads to be relevant to them. More specifically, one out of five (20.3%) said ads that were too targeted to them had a negative impact on their perception of that brand. The reason? That creepiness factor of a brand following them around the Internet. 

Instead of extreme targeting, consumers said what they want in an ad is: 

  • new product information (49.7%) 
  • to learn something new (33.3%) 
  • to be entertained (38.6%)

All of these things should still be achievable by a great team without adding that creepy factor.


Changing technologies will always inspire new solutions. Losing cookies will be no different in the digital and ad industries. But the great news that’s hidden in the uproar and chaos: We can still deliver what consumers want from brands with or without the use of cookies. 

As an industry, we may even be forced to refocus on the consumer instead of the brands we work for (and believe in). 

At 6AM, we constantly work to balance our focus between our clients’ wants and needs and those of the consumer. We’ll need to readjust some tactics in the coming years to make way for change, but the thing that never changes is our dedication to good work. If you’re looking for an agency to wake up your brand, let’s make some great work together

Plus, we know that when it comes to digital ads, despite good intentions of making meaningful sales, no one wants to be that salesperson who can’t take no for an answer. If they didn’t click on the ad the first three times they see it, why would they the 10th or 20th time? And why am I still getting the same ad for sheets a month later?

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