Marketers love cookies. For years, they’ve used these tiny text files with small pieces of data to collect information about their audiences to provide more personalized web experiences.
In light of Google’s big changes for Chrome data tracking, some claim the death of third-party cookies is imminent. But in reality, cookies aren’t going anywhere anytime soon — they just won’t be nearly as reliable.
Now, the search for data is at an all-time high. And as it increases, developing an understanding of your audiences will only get more complicated.
What You Need to Know About the Disruption
Cookies weren’t always used for marketers to collect as much input as possible. They were actually created in 1994 by Netscape to preserve already submitted information, such as login details. That way, you wouldn’t have to log in every time you went to a new page.
But the amount of information being stored grew to the point that businesses knew things like how long a user was on their site and their physical location. But as these capabilities expanded, so did those of hackers, as they increasingly broke into websites and stole sensitive information from all the users who engaged with them.
So lawmakers have recently stepped in, and as a result, major efforts have been made to protect user privacy and anonymity online — efforts that will have a major impact on the marketing world.
Google’s announcement will focus primarily on first-party relationships, meaning the data you do obtain from a website must be anonymous. Google also isn’t replacing third-party cookies with new individual user tracking, and it won’t continue to support third-party cookies either. That means the personalization of ads and monetization of web pages will be nearly impossible if this is your only source of data.
So what can you expect? An opportunity for real innovation and growth. With all marketers facing the same challenges, it’s time to flex those creative muscles and pivot to all new solutions. To help you navigate the transition, here are five things you can do to prepare now:
- Invest in a First-Party Data Strategy
With the cookies crumbling, your first-party data will be invaluable and the good news is your audience will appreciate you for it too. By ditching third-party data sources and investing in much stronger first-party strategies, you can learn more about your audiences while staying compliant with GDPR laws.
Start now by encouraging users to create logins for your website or sign up and provide emails for subscription-based content. Focus on just the essential information you need to minimize any worry for your users.
- Be as Transparent as Ever
You don’t technically have to phase out cookies at all if you’re being completely honest and upfront about the information you’re taking from the user and how you’ll use it. For example, you can prompt new users to accept cookies or provide some sort of a cookie statement that better informs users of your intentions with their info.
In a world crowded with digital content, being fully transparent is the new way to stand out, and build trust and confidence in your audience.
- Create More — and Better — Content
Content is king, and the cookie disruption is not changing that. In fact, it’s making quality content even more valuable. Think about it: websites that collect and sell user info through cookies rely on how much traffic they receive. But this need for user data often led to what we know as “clickbait,” or misleading and inaccurate headlines.
So the obvious solution to encourage users to view your content is to make it great. Write articles and branded materials that are relevant, compelling, and valuable. Ditch the targeted ads that rely on third-parties and serve ones that are related to the content you’re creating. Another great way to gain trust and loyalty.
- Prioritize Customer Experience
Everything you do as a marketer should center on the customer experience — your campaigns, website, communications, and engagement. And as we enter a world where customers expect and demand more from businesses than ever before, that carries even more weight. Similar to the focus of tip #3, how you deliver on the promises you’re making to your audience is going to be paramount to leveraging your brand.
Customer satisfaction is everything, and it can help you define new touchpoints in your strategy. The content and messaging that resonates most with your current customers can help you evaluate your prospective audience. Learn more about them with surveys and questions, and use that information to create a scalable online environment that aligns with their goals.
- Get More Tech Savvy
Obviously, big tech platforms like Facebook and Google have no intention of limiting their future revenue with the new cookie disruption. So it pays to get a little tech-smart. Understanding how collected data can impact your new marketing strategies is a good place to start. Grasping the impact will help you navigate different tech solutions and identify new opportunities. If you want to play it safe, consider rudimentary strategies like hyper-targeted ads and PPC campaigns. To get your marketing on the right track for the big changes coming in 2022, contact shyft to help you shyft your perspective.