Google’s new cookie policy is big, but savvy marketers can still thrive

Earlier this month, Google made sweeping changes to its Chrome browser, which could dramatically change the way online marketers gather customer data. Essentially, the update places strict limitations on third-party cookies with a view to eliminating them entirely by 2022. 

By Tanja Lategan, CEO, Enlight Strategic 

Marketers around the globe are railing against the change and pundits are suggesting it could see a massive shift to alternative browsers, such as Firefox, as the changes may render some websites unusable. 

Any resistance to change, however, is a little like screaming at the ocean in the hopes that it will stop being wet. 

Marketers should instead focus on ensuring that they have everything in place to take ownership of their customer data. It’s also critical that organisations start collecting this data now in order to build up historical databases before the three-year period has lapsed. 

Understanding cookies

In order to understand how big a change this really is, it’s important to remind ourselves how big a role cookies play in digital marketing. 

For the uninitiated, cookies are essentially pieces of text placed by websites on the hard drives of people visiting those websites. In doing so, they allow marketers to track which websites consumers have visited. As a result, they’ve formed the backbone of programmatic advertising, remarketing and ad targeting.

But they’ve also become controversial in the wake of Brexit and the 2016 US election, where they were used to build profiles of potential voters and target them accordingly. 

There is, therefore, more pressure to give users control over their own data, or at least be seen to be curbing the practices which gave rise to those issues. 

Google isn’t the first company to restrict cookies – Apple’s Safari and Mozilla’s Firefox have done so for some time. Google’s dominance of the browser market (Chrome accounts for 68% of desktop and 40% of mobile browser traffic) means that it doing so has a much greater impact. 

Is your business ready for transformation? Take our 5-minute Digital Maturity Assessment to find out and get a FREE report.

The future of marketing 

For anyone heavily invested in the current system, Google’s decision to ditch cookies can feel catastrophic. Certainly some marketing tech companies  took a hit in the wake of the news. 

But even if circumstances had been different, chances are marketers would’ve had to move on from cookies anyway. They are a legacy technology from a time when most people’s interaction with the internet was via the desktop-based web.   

Thanks to the near ubiquity of the smartphone, that world has been disappearing for some time now.  And, with the rise of connected TVs, smart speakers, and other technologies will make third-party cookies increasingly irrelevant. 

Savvy marketers have been preparing for that change for some time and are investing in new identification technologies. 

Groups of marketing technologists and digital publishers, for example, are working on Shared ID solutions which allow for a greater degree of privacy on the user side without compromising on the ability to provide relevant, targeted advertising to those who consent to it. 

Adapt and enhance 

That said, it’s important that marketers who currently rely on the third-party cookie ecosystem remember that they do have time to adapt. What they cannot afford to do is pretend that everything will be fine if the status quo is maintained. 

Even those who are ahead of the curve right now will have to adapt again in the future. This is the nature of marketing in a constantly-changing digital world. 

While that can sometimes feel intimidating, there is no reason for a marketer with the right partnerships in place to be overwhelmed and swept aside by change. 

Make sure that you have the right tools and technology in place to own your data starting today. Not sure where to start? Speak to a consulting partner like Enlight Strategic to future proof your business. 

Is your business ready for transformation? Take our 5-minute Digital Maturity Assessment to find out and get a FREE report.

Tanja is the CEO and co-founder of Enlight Strategic. She has more than a decade’s worth of experience as a senior executive in the digital publishing and agency space and is passionate about the role technology can play in transforming businesses. 

SA jobs outlook underlines need to embrace digital transformation

Given the state of the economy, today’s announcement by the ManpowerGroup that South Africa’s employment outlook is at its weakest in five years should hardly be surprising. Buried in the numbers, however, are indicators of how beneficial digital transformation can be.

According to the ManpowerGroup Employment Outlook Survey, opportunities for job seekers are expected to be strongest in the Finance, Insurance, Real Estate & Business Services sectors, where the net employment outlook is +9%.

“These are all industries that have faced massive digital disruption over the past decade,” Tanja Lategan, CEO of digital transformation consultancy Enlight Strategic, points out. “That they’ve come through that period and are experiencing job growth is an encouraging sign.”

“It shows that, far from destroying industries, technology can aid in their overall growth resulting in increased job opportunities,” she adds.

This is supported by research from Gartner, which shows that by 2020, artificial intelligence will be a positive net job motivator, creating 2.3-million jobs worldwide while only eliminating 1.8-million jobs.

While sluggish economic growth, spurred by the ongoing energy crisis and policy uncertainty, will have an ongoing impact on the employment outlook, Lategan believes that other sectors can learn from those experiencing an uptick in hiring.

“By embracing digital transformation, organisations can improve their overall efficiency, thereby reducing costs and creating a buffer against some of the worst external economic factors,” she says.

“Whatever issues a specific industry faces, the companies that will be most resilient are those which adapt to the changing world and embrace the opportunities offered by technology to better utilise and support their employees.”

“While organisations might not be able to change government policy or end load-shedding, they can embrace digital transformation and position themselves to contribute positively to the economy and the employment rate,” she concludes.

Enlight Strategic signs exclusive partnership with analytics tool Oribi

Cape Town, October 2019 — Enlight Strategic, the digital transformation consultancy founded by former Primedia Digital and Creative Spark CEO Tanja Lategan, has inked an exclusive partnership with data analytics tool Oribi Analytics.

Founded in 2016 by Israeli entrepreneur Iris Shoor, Oribi is behavioural analytics software aimed at marketers and business owners looking to understand the performance of their websites and marketing campaigns through tracking events, conversions, correlations and user behaviour.

Under the terms of the partnership, Enlight Strategic is the exclusive representative of Oribi in South Africa.

Unlike Google Analytics, which simply tracks website data, Oribi provides businesses with the actual insights and trends they need to turn data into action. Oribi automatically picks up custom Google and Facebook event tracking installed on your website as “Custom Events”, so data from these events can be viewed and integrated into Oribi reporting.

“Given South Africa’s tough economic circumstances, businesses are under more pressure than ever to deliver increased returns at reduced cost,” says Lategan. “Their best hope of doing so is to embrace digital transformation in their marketing departments.”

“Doing so with the traditionally available tools, however, has generally meant hiring additional expertise,” she adds. “With Oribi, businesses not only have the data they need to embrace this kind of transformation, but also the insights required to turn that data into profit.”

For its part, Oribi is eager to add some South African entities to the global list of companies it already counts as clients, which include Sony, Audi, and Aon.

“South Africa is a key African market, with businesses eager to compete at an international level,” says Shoor. “We’re confident Oribi can help them do so by unlocking the true potential of their digital properties.”

“We’re excited to be working with Enlight Strategic when it comes to spreading the Oribi brand in South Africa,” she adds. “Their first-hand knowledge of, and passion for, the platform makes them the ideal partners to have on the ground here.”

Oribi has both monthly and annual packages tailored to startups, agencies, and enterprise-scale companies.

If you don’t like wasting time on complicated reports click here to sign up for free:

Former Primedia and Creative Spark agency heavyweight launches digital transformation consultancy

Cape Town, September 2019 — Tanja Lategan, the former CEO of Primedia Online and MD of full service digital agency Creative Spark, has launched Enlight Strategic (Pty) Ltd.

Labelling itself as a digital transformation consultancy, Enlight Strategic aims to help corporates navigate the changing business landscape, with a particular focus on marketing technologies and tools.

“There is a clear appetite for digital transformation services in South Africa,” says Lategan. “Digital Transformation is no longer a choice; it simply has to be done if an organisation wants to remain competitive”

Until now, however, most digital transformation efforts have been led by the IT department and tend to focus only on back end systems, IT infrastructure and processes. 

“As a result,” Lategan points out, “most companies end up only partially transformed. In order for full transformation to take place, every part of the business has to be involved.”

That includes marketing, an area of the business which is often allowed to operate in a silo, with many competencies outsourced to digital agencies and media buyers.

Enter Enlight Strategic. It understands that for holistic digital transformation to take place, marketing services have to transform as well.

As a first step, the consultancy takes its clients through a digital maturity audit, allowing it to see how it compares with its competitors and which areas are lagging behind digital market trends, as well as what action needs to be taken not just to correct this but also to leapfrog their competitors.

“Based on the audit, we can help clients internally build up any skills they may lack and provide them with the tools and technology they need to become fully transformed,” explains Lategan.

Another thing that sets Enlight Strategic apart is that it provides clients with access to platforms and tools that are otherwise unavailable in South Africa. Enlight Strategic works with many technology suppliers to ensure that the best solutions are selected to meet the needs of a specific project or programme.

“Using these tools, our clients can collect, store, analyse and predict customer behaviour to ensure that marketing budgets are spent strategically, with a marked increase in conversion rates,” says Lategan.

“Our tools also allow for identity resolution, collecting and cleaning data from multiple touch points to create a single 360 view of each customer profile,” she adds. “This will enable more accurate targeting with a very high success rate and ensure that efforts aren’t duplicated, resulting in increased ROI and a substantial reduction in cost.” 

Lategan has already recruited a diverse, experienced leadership team, two things that she  believed were vital from the get-go.

“When it came to hiring, we wanted to ensure that we gave our clients access to the best possible knowledge,” says Lategan. “By hiring at senior levels, we’ve been able to do that from day one.”

Ultimately, Lategan says that Enlight Strategic’s measure for success will be the degree to which it’s able to increase its clients’ revenues, reduce cost, and overall organisational efficiency.

“We’re not here to sell clients pie-in-the-sky solutions, or burden them with vague long term retainers,” she concludes. “We implement programmes with an end goal and will strictly provide clients with the skill-sets and tools that they need. Our aim is to empower our clients, and set up the structures and capabilities they require internally to be self-sufficient in a digital world. At the end of the day, we’ll judge ourselves on how the client’s business has been transformed and, even more critically, is able to continue on this new path once the engagement has concluded.”

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About Enlight Strategic

Enlight Strategic (Pty) Ltd is a company that provides Strategic Digital Solutions to large enterprises, aimed at driving business efficiencies and digital transformation through developing holistic digital strategies and providing tools and platforms focused on Big data, Automation and AI solutions.