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The death of 3rd party cookies doesn't mean the death of personalization


Customer data is your organization’s most strategic personalization tool – so what do you do when access to the dataset that fuels it goes away?

It’s no secret that Google will be deprecating all third-party cookies by 2023, but the broader reality is that third-party cookies and their associated data will soon be obsolete due to evolving compliance regulations and legislation. Does this get your palms sweating? You’re not alone – over 80% of marketers think these changes will make it more difficult to personalize ads and prove marketing effectiveness. And multiple studies show that marketers and data analysts feel the loss of third-party identifiers (3PIDs) will be a bigger issue than GDPR or CCPA than GDPR or CCPA.

Although this causes sleepless nights for some, it shouldn’t – it’s actually a good thing!

Third-party data and traditional, tag-based solutions can’t provide the depth of knowledge needed to truly understand your customers and provide personalized experiences. There are three fatal flaws to this outdated approach – it’s limited to your current knowledge (you don’t know what you don’t know!), it relies on approval of cookies, and it can’t identify people over time.

So, what’s the solution to calm your personalization fears?

First party data.

Immune to browser restrictions and cookie deprecation, first-party data and the customer data platforms (CDPs) that collect and activate it are unaffected by new regulations and industry challenges.

By eliminating the risk of data blindness caused by blocked cookies, first-party CDPs can persist customer profiles for anonymous visitors and merge this with known profiles once the visitor becomes a known identity.

They can also understand and remember sessions (both anonymous and known) to persist identity across multiple sessions. Every customer interaction can be used to inform and enhance other customer interactions, so your marketing is relevant, timely, and makes sense to your customer.

Even without the impending death of third-party cookies, first-party data is a clear winner in the quest to provide dynamic, hyper-personalized customer experiences in real-time.

If it’s not now, it’s too late

Capturing, contextualizing, and actioning real-time data is equally critical to personalization. As the number of first-time and anonymous users increases, you’ll need a scalable method to influence visitors in-the-moment. With complete, timely, accurate, and actionable data from an enterprise CDP you can inspire conversions and drive revenue.

Outdated third-party cookie-based solutions typically provide batch data, creating major delays between collecting the data and having that data formatted and delivered to an actionable platform. True real-time, moments-based marketing requires data be captured, connected, and actioned in milliseconds. A modern, first-party-focused enterprise CDP will deliver just that.

We understand third-party cookie deprecation and increased compliance regulations can cause friction, but the best way to alleviate it is to get ahead of it.

How can you capitalize on the death of third-party cookies?

  1. Maximize collection and activation of first-party data

Strong first-party data enables you to maximize your efforts with partners and customers to build stronger, more targeted acquisition strategies. Mastering the use of first-party data and interactions is the first step to shining in a post-cookie world. Always consider the customer-first approach and ensure you’re still complying with privacy and compliance expectations.

  1. Enlist an enterprise customer data platform (CDP)

A first-party, enterprise CDP will help you build a single view of your customers to power cross-channel hyper-personalization, at scale. By seamlessly combining data from multiple sources, a CDP will provide countless opportunities for targeted 1-to-1 messaging with comprehensive customer profiles. This is critical to truly understanding your customers and knowing what motivates them, so you can deploy effective, real-time personalization that drives conversions and revenue.

  1. Tie first-party data to marketing investments

Accurate, granular data can provide massive value when connected to your marketing investments. Using first-party tracking, you can see which channels and campaigns drive traffic to your site and lead to conversions. You also have accurate insight into the number of touches to conversion, and can eliminate the double counting that third-party cookie strategies inevitably deliver.

Using a third-party system may lead you to think online banner ads are a waste of money because inadequate conversion reporting based on their cookie-based, last-click approach doesn’t show any conversions. With first-party tracking you have full visibility into the customer journey and can see that customers who view banner ads typically visit the site multiple times before converting – and the actual conversion rate is very high. Based on greater data insight, you can allocate marketing spend in the most efficient and beneficial way, where you may have otherwise lost a major revenue stream.

Hint: This really happened – view the customer story!

  1. Incorporate AI and machine learning

Pairing 1st party data and detailed customer profiles with advanced analytics and machine learning enables marketers to better understand their customers at an individual level. Think of your CDP as the brain that analyzes the data to help you make smart customer engagement decisions such as next best action. The customer journey is constantly evolving with each interaction with your brand. Machine learning instantly adapts strategy and actions based on every new piece of insight, delivering precise decisions in the moment. Machine learning and AI applications provide valuable context to detect intent signals and inform your decisioning and analytics solutions.

  1. Build a strong identity graph to power actions

Developing comprehensive identity profiles to feed decisioning engines is vital to shining in a post third-party cookie world. Identity resolution provides a holistic view of the customer across channels and interactions, combining your brand’s data with external sources. A CDP that incorporates a first-party, real-time identity graph to build detailed profiles and persist identities across channels, devices, and time is essential. This valuable behavior and interaction data is the key to enabling you to make smarter decisions in real-time, with segmentation capabilities that solve your most pressing advertising challenges.

Delivering hyper-personalized experiences in real-time based on live user behavior and choices is the ultimate in personalization – meeting your customer’s needs in-the-moment. Activating your real-time data with enterprise marketing solutions lets you deliver moments-based marketing like in-session retargeting, perfectly timed offers, and optimized customized experiences.

  1. Ensure privacy and data compliance

Last, you MUST ensure that the systems and processes you’re using comply with data and privacy regulations. There are many ways to gather consent and ensure compliance in your marketing efforts. An enterprise CDP can help you manage privacy consent across the customer journey to maintain compliance while still informing your activation and measurement activities.

We understand the uncertainty that comes with change, especially when that change is all about restrictions and taking away tools we've come to rely on. But you can leverage this change to embrace first-party data and all the benefits that come with it to truly stand out from the competition and provide exceptional customer experiences. 

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