The privacy changes initiated by Apple and the changes in user-level tracking introduced by Facebook and Google will lead to a decline in the third-party cookie. Over the next few years, as these privacy-minded companies become more prevalent, many of the old marketing avenues will disappear. One of these significant and immediate changes is the decline of third-party cookies.
Throughout their careers, many marketers have relied upon digital-based marketing attribution models as the be-all and end-all of marketing measurement. But with every change in technology, they're left scrambling to keep up. Right now, only 11 per cent of marketers are considered to be "excellent" at tracking marketing performance in the unique landscape of granular data and consumers that respect privacy.
Despite the changes in the digital marketing industry, opportunities exist. Marketers who proactively create a strategy to prepare for an advertiser's inability to target with cookies and hyper-targeting will be rewarded in the future. However, before we dive into strategies for this future, let's first understand why marketers are scrambling for solutions.
What are cookies?
There are two different types of cookies. First-party cookies let the website know that you've already been to a particular page and also let you save data on your browsing like your preferences or password. Third-party cookies are becoming obsolete, but first-party ones are just as important now and always have been.
"In a privacy-first world, having multiple sources of truth for measurement will be critical"
– Source: Think with Google
First-party cookies are set by and sent to the domain of the website you're on.
First-party cookies, the type typically used to improve a user's browsing experience, are not shared with third-party advertisers. These are often seen in the form of autofill, which lets users quickly fill out forms or enter their login credentials. With these cookies, only the user and the website have access to them - outside advertisers cannot get access.
Recently, Google reassured internet users everywhere that they have no beef with first-party cookies because these convenient data stores are here to stay for a long time.
Third Parties Cookies
They are used primarily by advertisers to better understand user activity and make relevant advertising decisions. When a consumer visits a site, they get a cookie from the website and often the website will share them with advertisers. In this way, advertisers can gain an in-depth view of the online activity of their consumers. Information like where they've been recently and what they've done on that site becomes available to help marketers make better decisions about their ad campaign effectiveness.
As consumer awareness around data privacy continues to grow, it is predicted that third-party cookies will become obsolete. A major factor in this prediction is the continued adoption of features like "Do Not Track" by web browsers, including Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Edge, and Brave. It's important for marketers to make adjustments soon to stay relevant.
Implementing Cookieless Entry & Tracking
The move from cookies to cookieless will require more than a few minor changes to your strategy. It requires you to think about the future and how to transform your strategy in order to become more compliant with the multitude of privacy changes that are taking place. It might be time for you to consider one of these options...
First-party data is a great way to deeply understand your customer.
To collect first-party data, all you have to do is ask customers to share their information in exchange for a reward. Giving users free shipping for every email they give, for example, is an easy way to incentivize your customers into signing up.
However, before you ask your consumers to share their personal data, make sure that the data is high-quality. More isn't always better - ask yourself these questions: How will the data provide value? What risks are involved in storing the data? Do you have methods to securely share the data within your organization? If you can answer all easy questions confidently, it's worth asking for personal data.
PRO Tips – So, if you hypothesize that women over 35 like your product more than the general population, you could launch two campaigns in a similar geographic area – one for women over 35 and another untargeted campaign – and see whether or not your prediction is true. From there, you can invest your marketing funds accordingly. This method doesn’t require much in the way of personal information, making it ideal for a cookieless future.
Use Customer Data Platform
A Customer Data Platform (also known as a DMP) will help you aggregate data to connect it to your customer's demographic traits. For example, if 25% of your recent media traffic has primarily come from millennial women in the Eastern US who own bikes, data de-aggregation would show that these individuals are the target audience for a bike company. This context is critical for marketers who will soon lose access to third-party cookies, meaning they'll have no way of knowing how many impressions they're receiving from individual customers.
Researchers found that marketers who run multiple tests see up to 30% higher ad performance.
– source: Think with Google
The cookieless and other privacy developments are likely to make it more difficult to track users across many different platforms. We need to start thinking about how to adapt marketing strategies based on data and first-party cookies.
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