Every marketer is aware that third party cookies are coming to an end. This may have caused some marketers to feel confused about how they can target consumers and get them to move forward. However, third party cookies weren’t a catalyst for long-term growth and were more of an obstacle than a help when developing effective campaigns.
Marketers need to focus on the entire funnel in order to sustain a pipeline of future sales, and while third-party cookies allow marketers to connect consumers’ journeys and experiences, they limit marketers from knowing specific information about individual buyers or how that information changes over time. It can result in marketers creating generic messaging that only resonates with a subset of their customers. That’s a problem, since 90% of U.S. consumers respond positively to marketing personalization.
Marketers can improve the way they source and use their first-party data to better understand customers and be able to provide personalized services.
First-party data enables marketers to develop sharper messaging
Collecting customer data directly—such as through a brand’s app or a shopper’s purchasing history—better allows marketers to create more specific advertisements than what they could achieve using external sources. This change might be difficult for marketers who have relied on third party cookies in order to guide their marketing efforts. Fortunately, they don’t have to collect and analyze first-party data entirely on their own.
Marketing can leverage analytics systems to help them understand consumer behaviours and determine which activations are working. For example, do consumers click through a certain ad more often when it’s displayed as a paid social post or as an in-stream ad? With this visibility into the audience journey, marketers can avoid putting dollars against tactics that don’t compel buyers to act.
Marketing professionals can now monitor these data more closely in order to understand how cultural trends and macro-level events are impacting consumer behavior and preference. They can then address their audiences with relevant and timely messages. Based on changing consumer needs, messaging that was successful one week could not work the next. For example, while consumers’ receptiveness toward COVID-19-centric ads has waned over the past year-plus, SME research found that 90% of Americans still express favorability toward companies that prioritize well-being in their messaging. Marketers need to be able to catch these changes in audiences’ receptiveness quickly and pull outdated campaigns before audiences think a brand is out of touch.
Third-party cookies can be used by marketers to build a prospect list, but not for the purpose of nurturing those leads. With advanced analytics tools, marketers can build profiles on their buyers and use those individuals’ histories with the brand to tailor future messaging to fit their unique wants and needs. By doing this, it is possible to track the evolution of individual buyers.
Prioritize shoppers’ privacy concerns
When marketing is done well, it functions as an open dialogue between consumers and brands. A campaign’s interaction with its audience can provide insight about their lifestyle and shopping preferences. Marketers then have the opportunity to respond with fresh offerings. Consumers can also give their personal data to marketers to get more targeted service. The exchange could be beneficial for both parties.
But, some people aren’t willing to take part in this transaction because they worry about the use of their personal information. Forty percent of U.S. consumers admit they’re not comfortable sharing data with brands. With consumers concerned over whether their information will be used responsibly, it’s critical that marketers articulate how a consumer’s data will be used to improve their experience with the brand, as well as what measures the brand is taking to protect that data. Showing consumers how they will benefit from this (e.g., they’ll receive personalized product recommendations) increases the odds they’re willing to share their information.
Although third-cookies will not disappear until the end of 2023, marketers who take advantage of the first-party data opportunity can shift strategies and overcome challenges. Marketers will be able to provide more meaningful and impactful communications to their customers if they have a plan for collecting and analysing first-party data. This will increase their brand’s interest and secure their future business.
Original publication: MarTech series.