Preparing for cookie-less marketing and working with first party data
In a move to improve transparency in the digital world, Google will be blocking third party cookies by the end of 2023. To understand the effects of this on targeting potential customers online, it is important to understand what cookies are and what they are used for.
What are cookies?
According to Google’s Privacy and Terms page, Cookies are “small pieces of text sent to your browser by a website you visit. They help that website remember information about your visit, which can both make it easier to visit the site again and make the site more useful to you.”
Cookies can be useful, making the browsing experience more personalised to your preferences. For example they can remember what language you like to browse in, your preferred screen configurations and playback settings. There are also cookies which help keep you safe and secure online, such as the “SID” and “HSID” cookies which contain records of your most recent sign-in time, which allows Google to detect suspicious sign-in attempts from potentially malicious hackers.
Perhaps most importantly for marketeers, are cookies used for advertising purposes. Cookies are used for serving ads, personalising ads, limiting the number of times an ad is shown to the same user, and measuring campaign performance by monitoring whether a user who clicked on an ad went on to take action on the site, such as making a purchase or submitting an enquiry form.
Most browsers allow you to manage your cookies by allowing or blocking specific cookies or clearing them from your browser, which will also clear your previous data including preferences and personalisation. But the fact is, most users do not pay much attention to their cookies and tend to opt-in to allowing cookies on their browser without much thought. In fact, we have become so used to receiving such a personalised and convenient experience online that we must strike a balance between providing a personalised browsing solution, whilst prioritising user privacy.
Without cookies, it becomes much harder to reach a specific target demographic with adverts, thus potentially making advertising more expensive and less effective.
We predict that the onus will fall onto two strategies; providing engaging and high-quality content and utilising first party data.
What is first party data?
First-party data is data that you collect directly from your customers, which is owned by your business. It could come from purchase data, newsletter sign-ups, email marketing campaigns, social media activity or call centre/customer service interactions.
The main challenge that your business will face in a cookie-less world, is knowing how to centrally collate this data, segment it, analyse it and use it to personalise appropriate campaigns to your customers at the right time.
To prepare for a cookie-less world, make sure your website is optimised to collect first-party data (with consent, of course) and identify all of your potential data sources and create a plan for bringing these data sources together. There are purpose built tools and software that can pull different data streams together, which we are happy to advise on.
In a cookie-less world, there will still be ways to target users online with ad campaigns. Contextual targeting involves placing an ad beside relevant content. For example you might place an advert for an airline on a travel blog or a hotel price-comparison website. This allows you to bypass the need for gathering data on a user’s browsing history as you can assume that if someone is browsing hotels in another country, they are likely to require flights.
In publisher targeting, you reach out to a specific website which you know to be relevant to your target market, and place an ad on their website, thus utilising their audience data. For example, if you offer a service in a local area you may want to place an online ad on the local newspaper.
In summary, a cookie-less world will change the way in which businesses reach and engage with their target market, and the way that users browse the internet and find products and services online.
It is important to be aware of how important first-party data will become so that you can start collecting meaningful data and collate and organise your data from multiple steams in a way that is usable. It is also vital to provide highly relevant and useful content to internet users to help drive organic traffic to your website and engage and retain these potential customers when they arrive.
There are opportunities to this new age of privacy and transparency, if you are able to pivot your in-house systems and your marketing strategy. TUSK digital can help future-proof your business and prepare a cookie-less advertising strategy utilising content creation, collecting and using first party data and preparing campaigns which target customers without the need for cookies.
Get in touch for a free consultation today.