The cookie has long been crumbling, and Google’s announcement to move the industry towards a cookieless future should come as no surprise. While it may seem like brand marketers and advertisers have been preparing for this moment for years (pre-pandemic, even!), are UK businesses really ready for the road ahead?
Contrary to popular belief, it’s not necessarily all about “future-proofing” marketing efforts, and it’s even less about preparing clients for alternate solutions. What the cookieless future is about is capitalising on the data that brands and companies have long had in their arsenals to safely and best understand what matters most: the customer.
As Tim Berners-Lee rightfully pointed out some time ago: “Data is a precious thing and will last longer than the systems themselves.”
First-party data is the ultimate lifeline – possibly even the holy grail – for the future of marketing in a cookieless world.
Here, we take a look at three proactive and viable steps that marketers can take to ease the seismic shift to a cookieless world, while continuing to also maximise performance and ROI.
Improve first-party owned data collection
First-party data is becoming King. In today’s marketing landscape, the first-party information that companies collect on owned platforms, such as name, email address or demographics, are of greater value. As this is the most relevant information to gain consumer insight, there will be an increased need to prioritise control over data collection. Now more than ever, marketers must ensure their companies implement and improve data collection capabilities on owned platforms. By integrating comprehensive data management tools, marketers will be in a better position to continue to actively target and build out robust consumer experiences.
Furthermore, mounting privacy concerns mean closing the gap that will occur in the absence of cookies is imperative. Supporting initiatives like Unified ID, which allows companies to focus on a privacy-first approach, will pave the way among the open internet for the application of interoperable solutions to preserve first-parta data. Marketers can, and should, be optimistic about the opportunity to pivot and utilise new and existing alternatives.
Focus on behavioural analysis
Honing in on consumer behaviours and sentiments are key elements to brand success. Incorporating behavioural analysis within a marketing strategy allows marketers to actively observe how consumers interact with their brands. These observations can be leveraged to understand influencing indicators. Ultimately, this will prove crucial to increasing campaign efficiency. Owning the opportunity to build out consumer behavioural data sets can be an effective way to align with target markets. This will enable brands to identify strengths, problem areas, and opportunities to develop an impactful strategy.
And just how does a brand marketer tap into the pulse of the consumer and effectively track, and measure, shifting consumer sentiments? Through ResTech. Research Technology (ResTech) – which enables market research, brand lift, and media measurement in order to identify shifting sentiments and help marketers accurately capture how their target demographics are feeling at any given moment. It is a comprehensive term for the software and tools that help platforms, agencies, and brands target, deliver, and analyse their insights initiatives. Typically through targeted survey analysis, it can help marketers understand what makes their target consumers tick — a practice that is quite literally invaluable at a time when opinions seem unpredictable and are changing rapidly.
Remember to embrace authenticity
Change is good. It is a reminder for all marketers that authenticity is paramount, and the consumer should always be top of mind, and top priority, when building and executing a marketing strategy. The decreased use of third-party cookies opens up a valuable opportunity for marketers to re-establish trust with their target consumers. Marketers must leverage their first-party data and other actionable consumer insights to create authentic messaging that they know will resonate with their intended audience, because they’ve done their homework. They’ve tapped into those shifting consumer sentiments, they understand what’s most important to their target customer, and they’re adjusting their messaging and tactics, accordingly.
The cookieless future doesn’t have to be as scary and overwhelming as some may initially feel. The technology innovation and development we are seeing unfold at speed continues to arm today’s marketers with the right tools and the right data to overcome this seemingly daunting task. And by nurturing strategies that help with audience identification and retention, and leveraging actionable consumer insights, brands will create, curate, and deliver messaging that better resonates with their target consumers. This, in turn, will lead to those higher conversion rates all marketers always strive to attain. The key to cookieless marketing has been in our hands the whole time; it is to actively listen to the customer.
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