Shafqat Islam
Shafqat Islam 6 June 2024
Categories B2B

A Cookieless World: What’s Next for Marketers?

Since January, Google has officially started phasing out third-party cookies. The move, which is part of Google’s Privacy Sandbox initiative to protect personal data online, is forcing marketers to re-evaluate their personalisation technologies. This isn’t something that can be solved overnight, but it does need to be addressed...and quickly.

Currently, almost two-thirds (63%) of marketers in the UK have no clear strategy for cookieless personalisation and stand to lose valuable consumer insights if they don’t act soon.

Without a solid approach to navigating a post-cookie world, brands are unlikely to be able to provide the level of personalised customer experiences that consumers demand, risking both lead generation and revenue.

It’s time for marketers to start thinking about what comes next, and utilising first- and zero-party data to deliver the digital experiences that customers have increasingly come to expect in 2024.

Creating a Value Exchange

Personalisation has become common practice over the last decade, causing many methods to now be overused and ineffective. In fact, 74% of marketers in the UK have expressed concerns over how out-of-date some current personalisation technology is, and a staggering 83% feel that many personalisation efforts are actually based on assumptions rather than data-driven insights.

With third-party data on its way out, marketers need to look at building campaigns and strategies around the data that consumers are actively sharing – zero- and first-party data.

Zero-party data — information that a customer freely provides to a company — and first-party data, data that marketers can collect from consumer activity on their brand websites, are key ways that marketers can adjust to the post-cookie world.

Generally, customers are more willing to intentionally and proactively share data if it means that their customer experiences will be tailored to their individual needs. It’s all about creating a value exchange But this is only effective when using the right technologies to transform this data into a meaningful, customised experiences.

A Single Platform Approach

Relying on third-party cookies has always been a bit like relying on gossip. Marketers should instead focus on the information they’ve received or witnessed directly to curate online experiences.

By adopting a single platform approach and bringing data in from each owned brand channel, marketers can create, manage, deliver, and optimise content all in one place. They can take real-time insights, create content-driven digital experiences, and analyse performance in order to continually optimise interactions with customers.

As I always say, “don't build your home on rented land.” Email and a brand’s website are the only two channels that a marketer truly owns. Everything else, from third-party websites to social media advertising, is rented.

So, making this move now, and mastering the new processes that come with it, ensures that brands will be prepared for a cookieless future and can build and deliver the digital experiences that customers have come to expect.

An experimentation strategy is also an important part of this process. By taking a test and learn approach to customer interactions, marketers can see how individuals respond to certain content and optimise curated touchpoints that maximise success.

While over two-thirds (70%) of marketers are already combining personalisation with experimentation, this number will continue to increase as post-cookies strategies evolve. The reason experimentation is so valuable is that it can help marketers quickly discover what works for their target audience, and what doesn’t, so they can develop effective approaches that are tailor-made with customers in mind.

A Cookieless Future

With the goalposts for what customers expect from their digital experiences constantly moving, marketers need to make adjustments to stay a step ahead as much as possible. For me, that means looking to integrate strategies to create personalised experiences from zero- and first-party data as soon as possible.

While marketers will have to rethink how they collect and utilise data and insights from their audiences, I’m excited to see the creativity that will stem from this elevated approach to personalisation. Will your new personalisation strategy stand the test or will it crumble when cookies are officially phased out at year end?

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