Moving on From Cookies to First Party Data
- Data shift. Prioritize first-party data for enriched audience profiling.
- Third-party cookie challenge. Navigate identity gaps post third-party cookie deprecation.
- Holistic engagement focus. Adopt holistic strategies for effective customer engagement.
Recently, Advertising Week 2023 brought together attendees and speakers from every faction of the Madtech ecosystem to explore the challenges (third -party cookie deprecation) and opportunities (AI-powered everything) du jour.
What crystalized from the conference is that despite the noisy crosstalk on the patchwork of solutions, we are no closer to having an answer to the cookie conundrum: the resulting identity and re-targeting gaps left in the wake of retiring the third-party cookie. And we might not for quite a while. Many marketers are still trying to crack the code on relevant, privacy-friendly personalization 20 years into the capability.
Let’s take a look at moving beyond third-party data to first-party data.
Rethinking Beyond Third-Party Cookies to First-Party Data
Advertisers and marketers will need to get creative to achieve accurate cross-channel identification for their audiences upon cookie deactivation. This is not a bad thing. Cookies have far too long been a crutch in the absence of a similarly priced, more accurate alternative. Safari has already deprecated cookies on 30% of internet traffic and mobile identifiers are being phased out.
One thing communicated loud and clear at Advertising Week is that the time has passed for brands to begin testing new solutions to personalize interactions and augment identity capabilities with other methods. If you haven’t already started, it’s time to get up to speed and do so fast.
Related Article: What Google Privacy Sandbox Means to Marketing Data and Analytics Strategy
Revolutionizing Engagement with Holistic Strategies
It’s time to holistically think outside the box. There isn’t one queen to rule them all, so it’s time to get creative with first-party data, alternate identifiers and new measurement best practices.
You’ll want to think about the whole lifecycle of an engagement to drive new strategies, from data to technology to channels. Here are some ways to do so:
1. Prioritize Obtaining Data
Prioritize obtaining as much first-party data as possible as well as looking for alternatives to plug the identity gaps left by cookies. A common concern for brands is that they have data all over their organization, but those sources haven’t been integrated into their stack because they aren’t connected in a meaningful way. Figure out what customer interactions you aren’t capturing or which interactions you’ve captured and aren’t activating across channels and add signals to create richer audience profiles.
2. Consider Interoperability
Consider interoperability and technologies that reduce the number of vendors you need to make linkages in your identity strategy to increase accuracy. Our martech stacks are more bloated than ever, while at the same time, we’re using less of the technology within them. This approach also decreases the amount of waste we generate in both budget and energy when we don’t have technologies duplicating efforts.
3. New Testing
Spoiler alert: they found highly varied levels of accuracy depending on the provider. Without the sometimes-accurate identity linkages from third-party cookies, click-through rates as a KPI become even more meaningless. Start looking at KPIs that tie your marketing efforts to desired behaviors, and capture growth and impact on revenue like customer lifetime value (CLV). CLV is more of a measurement of the total customer journey, and using this KPI improves the accuracy of audience profiling because you can profile based on things like profitability, customer needs, preferences or behavior.
Related Article: The Lowdown on AI, Customer Loyalty & the Cookieless Future
4. Counteract Poor Performance
Counteract poor performance and lack of tracking on long tail paid media ads with additional tactics to drive visitors to owned properties like influencer marketing, blogging and affiliate marketing. Once on your channels, use AI-powered decisioning to create more intelligent experiences for visitors. For initial visitors, the power of session-based decisioning, which can incorporate the context of a single session and re-decision within that session, is another key way to more effectively treat early visitors intelligently and dynamically. Context is a highly valuable data signal, one that’s overlooked frequently by marketers and is best analyzed by AI.
Final Thoughts on Moving Beyond Third-Party Cookies
There are many proposed solutions to make our marketing and personalization efforts more effective as we wean ourselves off of the third-party cookie and on to first-party data. It can often feel like being in a room full of crosstalk: you don’t know where to look or how to process what you are hearing.
There isn’t just one solution to this problem, we need to do what we do best as marketers and that’s get creative, use what’s in front of us in new ways and be open to the opportunities that a cookie-less future creates.
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