Meet the Mindstreamer – Chandler Swanner

Chandler Swanner’s interest in advertising dates back to her childhood. Her mother (and role model in life) was a Media Buyer and later a Media Director for 25 years. All her friends were also in the business and hearing how much they loved the industry inspired Chandler to follow in her mother’s footsteps.

For the last 6 months she’s been doing just that. As an Associate Media Buyer in our Dallas headquarters, Chandler has been eagerly learning the media buying ropes and forging new relationships with vendor reps. Her responsibilities include daily reconciliation of discrepancies and make goods for radio, TV and cable as well as gathering details to produce weekly television post logs for her buyers in each of their markets as requested by the client. She also enters out-of-home orders and handles traffic for radio and television advertising.

Fueled by her desire to learn and network in an evolving, ever-changing industry, Chandler says, “I enjoy learning the various steps as they relate to the buying process and interacting with the reps. I also enjoy tackling new challenges and problems and finding a resolution. I continue to learn something new from my superiors each week and am excited about the possibility of learning more and advancing in my career.”

The pandemic created a hurdle for launching her career, but Chandler’s dedication has helped her clear it. She even earned a nomination for Agency Rising Star by the Alliance for Women in Media DFW. Chandler says, “As a recent college grad just starting in the media industry, the biggest challenge I faced has been learning everything virtually and adjusting to being alone in a room 8 hours a day. I had to practice patience with myself, ask lots of questions, and admit when I did not understand something. Another challenge was being a new hire and having to learn about my co-workers and superiors via Teams [Mindstream’s business communication platform]. Communicating via email or Teams allowed me to get to know each individual but I wasn’t able to see the relationships between people and how they interact in an office setting.”

Her advice for someone wanting to pursue a career in this industry? “Be prepared to listen, learn and ask lots of questions. Many daily tasks are part of a bigger picture, so be patient and learn and understand each piece.”

When she’s not busy soaking up media industry knowledge, Chandler enjoys cooking, working out, going to concerts and festivals and hanging out with friends. Fun fact, she’s fluent in sign language.

An enormous part of what makes Mindstream Media Group successful is the collective talent and collaboration of its employees across the country. While we as an agency love to share stories about client successes, industry news and product updates on our MMG Blog, we also want to feature the actual people behind the work we are doing to grow client business.

 Our recent video series, Fast-Forward the Conversation, discusses the HOW behind supporting client growth through media strategy, with topics like shopper marketing, franchise work, QSR challenges, agency partnerships and more.

 We’re also now featuring a Mindstreamer (as we like to call ourselves) periodically to share their stories and celebrate the diverse people, backgrounds, interests and qualities that make us unique.

Third-Party Cookie Phase-Out: What Marketers Need to Know

Cookies are an essential part of internet usage, allowing websites to remember you and provide a more personalized experience. This browser-based technology can be used to identify a device or a specific user. Although primarily designed to streamline a user’s web experience, cookies also play an integral role in digital marketing. Tracking activity across the web like websites frequently visited, interests shown and purchases made gives marketers insight into consumer behaviors that can be used to build robust visitor profiles to improve ad targeting relevancy.

Cookies were never really meant to do as much work or contain and share as much information as they currently do. As a result, consumers have grown increasingly concerned about the privacy of their personal information and are demanding greater transparency, choice and control over how their data is used. This has become a driving force behind major players like Apple, Mozilla and Google modifying their support of the tracking technology, creating a need for digital advertisers to adapt with innovative solutions that do not rely on cookies.

But not all cookies are going away. First-party cookies will remain (at least for now). Potentially troubling third-party cookies are what will soon become obsolete. There is no reprieve. It’s coming and is unavoidable. The technology that provides the foundation for online marketing as we know it today will cease. So, what exactly does that mean for the advertising industry and your brand’s digital campaigns?

First-Party Cookies vs. Third-Party Cookies

Let’s start with a quick refresher on the difference between first-party cookies and third-party cookies. A first-party cookie is code generated by the website being used. In general, these are considered safe and allow the site to gather basic analytics about the user’s visit(s). The data is limited to the user’s behavior on that website; their activity on other websites not affiliated with that domain is not shared.

Third-party cookies are placed by another website that is not the website the user is browsing (hence the name third-party). These cookies track a visitor’s activity as they browse the web collecting information like sites visited and even potentially contact information like name, email address, street address and phone number.

This data is used to help understand a user’s interests, preferences and traits allowing brands to target more effectively based on that information. Third-party cookies also enhance attribution capabilities by providing a more holistic view of what goes into a conversion which facilitates campaign optimization.

Data Privacy Concerns

Until recently, most users didn’t realize they were being tracked by third parties and the depth of information collected. In an effort to promote data privacy, major browsers either already are or will soon significantly limit both the persistence and utilization of third-party cookies.

A series of laws and government regulations designed to protect user information have evolved over time as well. The two most significant policies worldwide are the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA). GDPR was designed to protect the personal information of users in the European Union (EU) and European Economic Area (EEA) while CCPA gives consumers in California more control over the personal information a business collects about them. Voters recently approved Proposition 24, the California Privacy Rights and Enforcement Act (CPRA). It amends key elements of the CCPA and will replace it effective 2023.

As a result, some companies have chosen to implement permission-based third-party cookies, while others have begun to phase them out completely and are seeking new solutions. Regardless, third-party cookies are living on borrowed time challenging marketers to find an alternative that balances consumer privacy and personalization.

Third-Party Cookie Phase-Out

Apple Safari and Mozilla Firefox already block all third-party cookie tracking on their browsers. Although Google has now postponed removing support of third-party cookies on Chrome, the three-month phase-out period is expected to be complete by late 2023.

As of Q2 2020, the top three desktop web browsers, Chrome, Safari and Firefox held 68.3 percent, 9.3 percent and 8.9 percent of the market share respectively. In terms of mobile browser traffic, Chrome held 61.9 percent and Safari held 26.9 percent of the market share as of June 2020. Consequently, Chrome’s removal of third-party cookies will have the strongest impact on the advertising industry to date.

Then there’s the mobile app world where IDFA (Identifier for Advertisers) is used to track user behavior. This randomly generated and generally anonymous identifier enables addressable advertising and conversion tracking online. Apple dealt a crushing blow to this technology with its iOS 14.5 launch in April 2021 by disabling it by default. Originally scheduled to go into effect with the release of iOS 14 in September 2020, the delay gave partners a brief reprieve. However, users are now required to opt-in before apps can collect and share data using the device identifier. Despite an ad campaign in defense of the personalization enabled by this tracking, Facebook was forced to comply and request permission to track user activity beyond the app.

Since the iOS 14.5 release, users can configure data privacy settings with one tap.

Advertising Implications

So, what does this mean for your brand’s digital advertising campaigns? It’s an end to current cookie-based targeting and measurement across the digital ecosystem that provides insight into which channels, creative, messages and placements deliver the best ROI. Although the loss of third-party cookies doesn’t mean this ability is gone forever, it does make tracking and performance measurement more challenging.

It’s important to note the change will have a limited impact on advertising within large platforms like Google, Facebook, Microsoft and Pinterest. These walled gardens where users log in to accounts and accept detailed terms and conditions around data usage can still collect data from users and easily advertise within their own domain without much restriction. However, once a visitor navigates off these platforms, standard privacy restrictions apply.

A Replacement for Third-Party Cookies

Discussions are underway among various industry bodies such as the IAB and key stakeholders to develop new technical standards and guidelines. Although independent ad tech firms are working feverishly to develop their own solutions, all eyes are on Google for a new standardized replacement.

Google has, in fact, has been working on an alternative solution called the Privacy Sandbox that would curtail improper tracking while continuing to allow ad targeting within the Chrome browser. It seeks to strike a balance between personalization and privacy by anonymously aggregating user information and keeping more of it on the device itself rather than storing it in the cloud. As a Google Premier Partner, Mindstream Media Group has access to resources to keep us on top of developments like this that will impact our clients’ current and future campaigns.

Source:  Google

Apple has a solution as well that was actually released in 2018 and is now experiencing increased adoption since iOS 14.5. The SKAdNetwork, or simply “ad network API,” is an integration between advertising platforms and Apple’s App Store that attributes mobile app installations and post-install activity to advertising campaigns in a privacy-compliant manner. However, it comes with its own challenges – namely, it aggregates users and is not delivered in real-time, complicating attribution and optimization.

Facebook has released an updated version of the Facebook SDK to provide support for Apple’s SKAdNetwork API. However, because of its heavy dependence on app advertising, these changes have had a significant impact on Facebook’s Audience Network.

Targeting Alternatives

Although third-party cookies have become a pillar for behavioral targeting, it’s important to remember that is just one targeting option. Viable alternatives include the following:

  1. Focus on first-party data.

Leverage your brand’s customer data platform (CDP) to get to know who your customers really are and target them directly. Because the data collected is more personalized than third-party cookies, this option can generate even better sales and conversions.

  1. Establish a direct partnership with publishers.

“As third-party data disappears with cookies and GDPR compliance, publisher audience knowledge is now being seen as a viable data source for segmentation and targeting and deeper insights in audience and brand engagement,” says Damon Reeve, CEO at The Ozone Project.

  1. Optimize retargeting and owned media.

Upload your own contact list to a platform such as a social media network or search engine to enable targeting to those contacts or a mirror audience that shares similar demographics. Owned media, such as websites and social platforms, should also be strengthened to engage visitors tapped through retargeting efforts.

  1. Utilize contextual targeting.

Contextual methods that reach consumers at key moments of research and inspiration will not be affected since they broadly target device type, brand, operating system or mobile carrier. This option also provides control over the type of content the ad will run adjacent to such as Health, News or Sports and includes parameters for geography and time of day.

The ability to track, measure and target across sites, screens and channels is imperative to crafting efficient and effective media strategies. Although a radical shift, the phase-out of third-party cookies could open the door to entirely new methods we have yet to imagine and create a more engaging, fraud-limited environment.

We view this change as an opportunity to reach an audience that chooses to see our clients’ ads by the nature of opting-in to tracking within apps they find valuable and trustworthy. The publishers and apps we partner with can distribute – and limit – content, features and ads based on an individual’s opt-in settings, involving the user in an unprecedented tracking relationship, a deeper level of trust and an enhanced online advertising experience.

Now more than ever, agile marketing strategies are a must. Connect with us to learn how we can Fast-Forward Your Business and deliver meaningful progress on your goals amidst the continual evolution of digital media.

Editor’s Note:  This post was originally published in February 2021 and has been updated for freshness and accuracy.

Meet the Mindstreamer – Kaya Bucarile

She plans and oversees media strategy for agency clients, working closely with project and platform managers to ensure that we are recommending the best tactics and strategies to keep business moving forward. After just four months with our team, she has become a valuable strategic advisor in client media planning and showcases her talent to help develop regional market advertising plans and introduce new store openings.

Meet Kaya Bucarile, Manager, Media Strategy based in Mindstream Media Group’s Dallas headquarters.

Kaya always had an interest in the ever-changing field of advertising and decided in college to pursue her passion. After studying Journalism in addition to taking TV, radio and theater production courses, Kaya knew that a career in advertising was in her future. Born and raised in Manila, Philippines, she graduated Cum Laude from one of the most prestigious universities there and came to the U.S. soon after to launch her career in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, following her heart to the advertising industry. Eventually, Kaya moved to Dallas and gained experience at another agency before joining the Mindstream team—and hasn’t looked back.

When she’s not cooking, traveling or working out, one might find Kaya gardening. After all, she’s a plant mom to over 40 house plants that are a mix of uncommon and rare tropical plants. She also claims a dog and a cat as family.

An interesting change that Kaya finds noteworthy in the industry involves the continuous rise of influencers and how that trend has given advertisers and brands more marketing resources. “These influencers can instantly affect the way consumers see, think or feel about a product after simply posting about it.”


Long term, Kaya predicts that influencer marketing is here to stay. She shares, “There are so many ways advertisers can work with influencers and I definitely think influencer campaigns need to be included in media plans. The challenge is executing them in a way that looks, sounds and feels authentic—not too much like an ad.”

Regarding “hot topics” within the media industry, Kaya notes how increasing awareness of digital privacy is widely affecting how advertisers are being able to target consumers. “Data has become a very strategic asset to the point that it is now being referred to as ‘the new oil.’ As data collection becomes more regulated, with people opting out of being tracked by apps, etc., the more challenging it is for advertisers to precisely target an audience.”

In closing, Kaya offers this piece of advice to anyone wanting to pursue a career in this industry, “Especially to women and women of color, do not be afraid to occupy space. Be proactive and always try your best to stay informed.”

An enormous part of what makes Mindstream Media Group successful is the collective talent and collaboration of its employees across the country. While we as an agency love to share stories about client successes, industry news and product updates on our MMG Blog, we also want to feature the actual people behind the work we are doing to grow client business.

 Our recent video series, Fast-Forward the Conversation, discusses the HOW behind supporting client growth through media strategy, with topics like shopper marketing, franchise work, QSR challenges, agency partnerships and more.

We’re also now featuring a Mindstreamer (as we like to call ourselves) periodically to share their stories and celebrate the diverse people, backgrounds, interests and qualities that make us unique.

Advertising to Teens: How Brands Can Connect with a Generation that’s Always on Their Phones

Ask any parent and they’ll tell you, teens are almost always on their phones. According to Common Sense Media, 78 percent of teens check their devices at least once an hour. The question marketers need to be asking is, “What are teens doing while on their phones?”

To try to figure that out, let’s look at the basic usage numbers and the primary things teens are using their phones for.

(A quick clarification: Some reports call teens Gen Z. Some refer to them as teens. For clarity in this article, we will use the term “teens” for anyone ages 12 to 17.)

Smartphone adoption

The latest report from eMarketer estimates that 86.5 percent of U.S. teens will use a smartphone this year. That’s comparable to the overall adult population, which is estimated at 74 percent; and slightly less than 18-24-year-olds, who are at 97.4 percent, due in part to the tendency for younger teens to not have smartphones yet.

Basically, the older the teen, the more likely they are to have, and regularly be on, a smartphone. They’re using social media, apps, games and messaging services. And, important for marketers, they have buying power. From games to clothes to electronics, teens are buying (or getting their parents to buy) a lot of stuff. Here are some tips to get them to pay attention to your advertising and buy your products and services.

Social media usage

TikTok has seen explosive growth in the last year and has become a serious competitor among social media platforms in terms of both usage and time spent. In fact, it has now surpassed Facebook in time spent among users and by the end of the year will have more Gen Z users in the U.S. than Instagram. This shows the rise in popularity of short video that’s well suited to a short attention span and can be consumed quickly and easily.

TikTok is closing the gap on Snapchat too, however, Snapchat is predicted to remain the leading social network among U.S. teens for at least the next four years.

Social media advertising

Although teens dislike advertising, YouGov data shows that 39 percent of American youth say advertising on platforms such as TikTok and Instagram grabs their attention.

Thanks in part to its less intrusive nature, influencer marketing has become a particularly impactful way to reach teens. By incorporating brand, product and service messages into the social content teens consume, influencer marketing provides a less disruptive advertising experience that resonates with teens. In fact, 70 percent of teens trust influencers more than celebrities and 6 out of 10 teens follow their advice.

Although they’re not yet old enough to vote, marketers shouldn’t doubt the online buying power of teens. An estimated 85 percent of Gen Z uses social media to learn about new products. They’re also shopping. An eMarketer May 2021 report shows that 62.8 percent of 14–17-year-olds have made at least one purchase via a digital channel (including mobile, online and tablet).

What’s next?

The data tells us that teens tend to switch their online habits. A lot. The social media platform that is No. 1 today may not be six months from now. They adapt to new technologies and trends and aren’t loyal to any one site. As marketers, we need to continuously monitor where teens are spending their time online and how they prefer ads to be delivered to them. Just because there’s a hot new app, doesn’t mean an influx of ads on that app is going to sit well with teens that liked the feeling of being an early adopter of a new site. It also doesn’t mean the hot new app will have staying power. Keep your eyes on things that may be taking off, but don’t jump in before it’s proven itself.

If teens are your target demographic, be willing to test, to research and to adapt quickly. They’re always on the move so you need to be able to do the same.

Editor’s Note:  This post was originally published in September 2017 and has been updated for freshness and accuracy.