Third-party cookies have been an essential building block of personalized advertising for decades, helping ad networks provide increasingly fine-grained audience segmenting and attribution. By the end of 2022, however, no major web browser will support third-party cookies, following increased ad fatigue from consumers and tighter regulation from governments. This shift represents a once-in-a-generation opportunity to not just change how brands connect with customers and leads, but to strengthen those connections.
As trust and transparency grow, likely so will consumer willingness to share more data with the brands they love too—giving brands more nuanced opportunities to treat people as people through intuitive, ideally timed engagement, while providing consistent and respectful brand experiences across touch points.
The potential benefit to consumers cannot be understated.
In a post third-party cookie world, consent-driven engagement and personalization can lead to a more effective consumer experience. So, how can you make your data work smarter for you? By focusing on three key initiatives:
- Own your data: Given evolving customer privacy and third-party data availability, it’s crucial to invest in and master your first-party customer data while earning trust and loyalty.
- Lean into walled gardens: Amplify the targeting, measurement, and advanced analytics of walled gardens (controlled access content) and data ecosystems.
- Move critical engagement functions in-house: Choosing the desired team and staying up to date on the most viable strategies can reduce extra waste, cost, and running into analytics and attribution hurdles.
As third-party cookies phase out, the messaging that remains can help forge a human connection with new customers by getting relevant first, then getting personal. Even without third-party cookies, there are three types of third-party data that can be leveraged:
- Environmental data: Location and season-based information such as weather, traffic, holidays, etc.
- Trend data: Broad-based topics such as popular TV shows, memes, hit songs, etc.
- Contextual data: Information related to the specific context of engagement such as article keywords on a news website, sports scores on a news app, etc.
Getting creative with data in context can add value, build trust, and inform your brand’s messaging with a more personalized focus—minus the third-party cookies.
Going from tracking to trust requires transparency. Giving consumers full control over the data you collect about them helps to establish trust with new prospects and grow the value of existing customers. Approaching data privacy by giving informed consent regarding its usage, sharing, sale, and transfer can create a relationship of openness and collaboration.
This means asking for the right data, in the right way, and focusing on the types and quantities you accumulate:
- Only collect what’s meaningful, knowing you may be required to disclose that individual data. And be sure to explain to your customers why the collected data is meaningful and can create value for them.
- Stop collecting data from people who aren’t your audience, knowing you can’t provide them with personalized experiences, and they won’t contribute to revenue growth.
- Focus on delivering improved content and experiences, knowing that this can help more effectively build trust and engagement than tracking. Iterative experiences that are genuine and authentic build trust and brand affinity. People want to do business with brands they trust and have their best interest in mind.
- Use consumer identity to connect the data, integrating interactions like mobile applications and web applications with systems of engagement that make decisions to encourage engagement.
- Incorporate design principles for privacy and consent that explain how data is to be used shared and aggregated. Demonstrating sensitivity for private data and connecting the data with value the customer receives can not only build trust but encourage long term brand affinity.
As brands move toward a future without third-party cookies, it’s important to develop a thorough understanding of how to connect your data, evolve your privacy practices, and provide messaging that improves the human experience for your customers.
Are you ready for a world without third-party cookies? See how brands can use this opportunity to build better customer experiences.