Marketing's Opportunities As The Cookie Chaos Continues

June 24, 2021
Nicole Felix

Google’s latest announcement delaying the phase out of third-party cookies until late 2023 has bought the industry more time to reimagine how we connect with healthcare audiences and to develop new and additional solutions for a post-cookie world.

While this extension provides some short-term relief, it’s still all too easy to get caught up in anxiety about what the loss will mean for marketing. But, PulsePoint’s Vice President of Product Jason Scheller, says it makes more sense to view the change as something that will drive advertising into the future. “It’s an opportunity to reinvent programmatic with consumer privacy really at the heart and, ironically, consumer identity at the center of it,” he said in a recent Q&A with clients.

Sure, with third-party cookies out of the picture, marketers and their ad tech partners will have to adjust. But new and expanded solutions are already under way. And PulsePoint is embracing the diversity of emerging options.


Identifying individuals will shift from being an opt-out to an opt-in phenomenon in that consumers will be asked to voluntarily share that information with publishers. This type of data can be rich and very useful, but without the option to map it more broadly in the programmatic space, there’s a potential issue of scale. 

Scheller notes that for publishers, figuring out how to transact identity for content may take some experimentation. Right now, we can access most content without a formal login, but that could change in the near future. We are seeing publishers try fees, mandatory logins, and more. Fortunately, dozens of companies are building ID solutions.

Anticipating that different solutions will each come with their own strengths, PulsePoint plans to work with multiple identity partners, especially at the outset.  


Contextual advertising foregoes the focus on individual consumers and hones in on content. The approach isn’t new—in fact PulsePoint has been at the forefront of its application to health marketing. But, without third-party cookies, it’s likely to be more important than ever. And because of that, it needs to evolve. 

Traditional contextual marketing has rested on keyword targeting, which can miss the true meaning of a piece of content. Health Pages, PulsePoint’s advanced approach, already takes things to the next level, using the entire NIH taxonomy of diagnosable conditions to actually understand the core message of an article or webpage. 

Going forward, contextual marketing efforts will develop even further. Scheller envisions more use of intelligent geographic targeting, and PulsePoint is already building solutions that go beyond text to analyze and target based on video and audio content.


Cohorts provide a way to target people without knowing individual identities. Rather, this approach involves grouping people with similar characteristics or interests. Cohorts have considerable potential, although they are not yet available for the industry at large to evaluate.

Part of the challenge, Scheller says, has been deciding who defines a cohort and how? Browsers could be a viable mechanism to store and manage the cohort database, but cohorts could also be used to approach data already available. For example, with PulsePoint’s HCP365, NPI reporting may shift from one-to-one analytics to cohort based, separating providers into groups according to practice, specialty, and more.

As 2023 approaches, PulsePoint is building new partnerships to develop novel solutions for identity, contextual, and cohort-driven marketing. And Scheller recommends that brand marketers similarly embrace the variety. “There’s not a one-size-fits-all approach,” he told PulsePoint clients. “My biggest recommendation is to make sure you’re diversifying, learning how to use all of these solutions, running trials, and understanding them for your brand. Then, you can figure out how to focus.” Learn more about how PulsePoint is preparing our clients for success in a future without third-party cookies.

To help health marketers navigate these future changes together, we’ve also put together a comprehensive playbook: How to Succeed in a Post Third-Party Cookie World. 

This guide, which covers the background on third-party cookies and what’s changing, also dives deeper into these winning strategies to help you prepare for a cookieless world. 

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