Unless you have been living on Mars for the last couple of years, as a marketer you should be aware that third-party cookies are being phased out. Apple did it in April 2021 with its App Tracking Transparency (ATT) update, while Google is expected to carry it out sometime in mid-2023. This means the way marketers have been tracking and gaining insight into customer behaviour is going to change and marketers will need to pivot to new ways to obtain this information to be successful in this new cookie-less world.
What is a third-party cookie?
A cookie that is created and placed on a website by someone other than the owner and collects user data for this third party. They are mostly used to track users between websites and online-advertising purposes with the goal to serve more relevant ads based on what the user is either interested.
Removal of third-party cookies challenges
The main danger is that without relevant data, marketers might try to target everyone with the same message or ad. It is not a great strategy as little engagement information will be collected and will be harder to build user profiles.
The lack of performance data could also lead to higher costs for marketers and less personalisation for customers. While more privacy is not a bad thing, this would a be a worse situation for both sides of the equation.
It is not all doom and gloom. Marketers and companies can implement new ways of advertising, but they will have to act quickly to be ready for next year. While “privacy” is the key word here, customers still want to receive customised offers and ads that are relevant to them. This change will also usher a more transparent and trustworthy relationship between customers and advertisers. OUT with the “misuse” of personal information, IN with the mutually beneficial relationship for the good of both parties.
Before you spend more time and money, we have put together our top tips for marketing without the help of third-party cookies:
Top Tips for Marketing Without Third-Party Cookies:
Set Up Google Analytics 4
Google Analytics 4 is the successor to Universal Analytics. The property types are different, and you can use Google Analytics 4 to view different reports and check your ROI.
This new version can show you the entire life cycle of a customer. It measures events and compiles them to show you the activity of your customers on your website.
You can use it to better determine which parts of your marketing strategy are the most important. That way, you can use re-targeting campaigns without needing third-party cookies.
Do Some Market Research
Market research allows you to learn more about your ideal customers. You can figure out what problems they have and how your products and services can be a solution.
One way to do this is to review your competitors and see what works for them. Take a look at the gaps in the market and figure out how you can fill them with your offers and marketing strategy.
For example, you can track customer purchases to see which products are the most popular. If a customer ever tells you something, make a note of that as well.
Any information a customer gives you without you asking for it is zero-party data. It can help you decide how to market your business without relying on third-party cookies.
Collect First-Party Data
Along with more general market research, start collecting first-party data from your audience. You can do this by sending out a survey where you ask questions about your customer's problems and what they need or want.
Another excellent option is to use sign-up forms for a newsletter. If you're active on social media, such as Instagram, you can also use polls and other stickers in your stories.
Log all of the responses you get to surveys and polls. Then, you can get an idea of your audience, in general. However, you can also pay specific attention to each respondent to help to personalise your marketing messages.
Start Email Marketing
If you haven't already, you should implement email marketing for your business. This is a great way to collect first-party data because you can ask for someone's email address when they complete a survey.
You'll also be able to contact customers again without relying on cookies. Sending regular emails can also help you gather zero-party data based on customer interactions.
Whenever someone clicks on a link and buys something, you can track that. Then, you'll be able to determine which emails have the highest conversion rates.
You can also track when people unsubscribe, so you may learn that an email isn't performing well.
Market on Social Media
Social media marketing is another excellent option for cookie-less marketing. You can create a profile on one or more platforms to help connect with potential customers and build a community.
Posting good content can help convince people to follow you. Whenever you share a new post, your followers should be able to see it, depending on the algorithm of the specific platform.
On Instagram, you can ask that people go to your profile and choose to receive notifications. Then, you can reach your customers multiple times, and you won't need to worry about the platform's algorithm.
Make It Personal
When possible, personalise your marketing messages. For example, most email marketing programs let you use a simple piece of code to insert each recipient's name in the emails you send.
You can also set the email sender as the name of your business rather than the email you use to send the message. This may help create a more personal experience for your email subscribers.
If someone feels a greater connection, they may be more inclined to purchase from you. Personalising emails may also keep people from wanting to unsubscribe, so you can continue to contact people.
While you can't personalise social media that much, you can personalise direct messages. If a customer messages you with a question, use their name in your response to help build a connection.
Focus on Content
Another way to market your business without third-party cookies is to use content. This can include social media and website content, and both can work together.
By creating content, you have a chance to answer customer questions. It's also a great option for first-party data collection because you can encourage people to comment with any questions your content hasn't answered.
Then, you can come up with new content ideas, and you can get those people to come back for the answer. To get those initial views, you may want to use hashtags on social media or search engine optimisation (SEO) on your website.
After you get a few people to see your content, you can use other tactics to implement re-targeting campaigns.
Use Contextual Advertising
If you want to get into paid advertising, be sure to use contextual ads. You can set these up in Google Ads Manager so that your ads appear next to relevant content.
For example, if you sell coffee makers, you can choose to show your ads on a coffee review blog. Then, the people who see the ad will have a better chance of clicking on it and becoming a customer.
Even if they don't buy right away, they may join your email list or follow your business on social media. You'll be able to continue marketing your business to that person to hopefully convert them into a buyer.
Don't Fear the Loss of Third-Party Cookies
If you've used third-party cookies to help market your business, losing that can be devastating. Fortunately, business owners can do other things to help collect data on their customers.
You can use first-party or zero-party data to learn what your audience wants. Then, you can create profitable marketing campaigns to help grow your business.
To learn new topics and marketing tips, subscribe to our Marketing Sundae newsletter here.