Third-party cookies will be a thing of the past by 2024, according to Google. With no third-party data to rely on, it will make it harder for advertisers to track the web activity of potential customers. This means virtually every brand must turn to first-party data for targeting information.
So what can we expect with this change, and how can businesses prepare themselves for the new data landscape? Here’s a breakdown of who will be most affected by the cookie change and what your business needs to do now to protect your business and customers better.
Why Third-Party Data is Going Away
Businesses get a bad rap for using consumer data to help them better market their products or services. Mainly because third-party data is sold to marketers without any consent or awareness from consumers, this has led to a bad reputation for businesses that don’t care about consumer privacy. Unfortunately, this tactic was nearly unavoidable since third-party cookies were the insight into targeting and understanding customer behaviors. It was the best option to incorporate the personalized experience we’ve all become accustomed to.
The problem with third-party data was it was often plagued with errors and gaps in data that led to marketers inheriting poorly defined data and audiences. Which led to wasted time, lower efficiency, and wasted dollars. In addition, using third-party data meant exposing your business to serious security and privacy risks that can compromise buyers’ trust. This all led to increased laws to dictate how you can acquire and use data. It also led Google and other big tech companies to saddle up and is set to stop the use of third-party cookies in their hugely popular browser, Chrome.
What is First-Party Data?
So how will you target your customers in a cookieless world? The good news is it’s not all gloom and doom. With no third-party cookies to rely on, businesses must collect their information through first-party data. First-party cookies are data directly collected and stored by the website (domain) you visit. It’s owned by that domain and not shared with other websites or advertising partners. In other words, you collect permissible information about your audience.
Because customers directly provide you with their information, the data will become more reliable for predicting and forecasting your audience’s behavioral trends. This will lead to more accurate marketing campaigns that better align with your consumers’ needs and preferences. This offers many benefits, including:
- Greater personalization and integration
- Targeting the right customers
- More accuracy and control
- Improved customer relationships
- Better compliance with privacy laws
- Greater transparency with customers
- Improved buying experience
- Fully owned data
How to Collect First-Party Data
Your business is in charge of collecting data about your consumers. How you go about it depends on what strategy works best for your business. Before you start, you’ll want to consider want information you want to gather from your consumers and the method to collect it. This can be done in several ways, such as:
- Your website or landing page
- Marketing tools such as Google Analytics
- CRM (Customer Relationship Management) and CDP (customer data platform)
- Social Media platforms
There are specific privacy regulations you must follow in collecting this information. For starters, you must make your customers aware of how you will use their information once you have it. You’ll also need to give them the option to opt-out if they don’t want their information stored. Beyond transparency, it’s essential to offer something valuable to the consumer in exchange for their email. Here are a few strategies:
- Email Marketing – Encourage users to sign up for a newsletter tailored to their specific interests. You can segment your audience into groups and create customized emails that are relevant to that specific group.
- Landing Pages & Paid Ads– Advertise an enticing offer that leads consumers directly to your landing page. Create different ads with different ad messaging. Then A/B test these ads using customer data to see which message resonates better with your audience.
- Social Media – Create tailored content in a variety of formats – blogs, videos, ebooks) that will speak to your audience segments. Incorporate both organic and paid social posts to track engagement.
- Loyalty Programs or Membership – Offering a rewards program in which people will get special deals and a bonus for signing up, such as early-bird access to sales and discounts.
- Offer Free Content – Create useable content such as ebooks, guides, or other online resources that you users can download for free in exchange for their information.
- Surveys – Create a questionnaire or survey on your website or through email, asking for feedback. Explain to the user that the questionnaire will be used to improve customer service and other areas of your business.
- Registration Forms – Create exclusive events or webinars where users can complete a registration form in order to secure their spot and attend. Add an incentive or special offer for early sign-ups.
- Create a Network of Leads – Social media is an excellent place to start a great network of B2B leads. Search out your key industries and work on building authentic and personalized content to target them. LinkedIn now offers lead gen forms directly on their platform to help collect information.
With the end of third-party data drawing near, there’s no time to waste in planning out your first-party marketing strategy. Integration is a crucial part of the plan, so now is the time to map out how you want to collect data from your customers so you can better target them. You should also look into zero-party data as a way to gain information that’s willing to be given by customers. Knowing more about your customers will improve your customer experience in every way, and first-party data could be the answer to that.
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