How data-rich and data-poor brands can prepare for the inevitable death of the third-party cookie

Following several delays, Google will finally phase out the use of third-party cookie tracking systems in 2023. In doing so it will join the ranks of other browsers already committed to the change. However, as a global total of 65% of users rely on Google, this shift will have a much greater impact on the market than any other, and businesses, ad agencies, and publishers will have to react accordingly.

The change heralds a move towards reliance on first-party cookies, which promise rich, reliable, and more importantly, consensual consumer insights. This means we are moving into an era of first-party data ownership, with a significant split between brands that are data-rich versus those that are data-poor. According to a recent survey, 78% of UK-based senior marketing professionals believe that the loss of the third-party cookies will have a positive impact on advertising strategies. However, there is still some ambiguity around available options for brands at either end of the data spectrum.

The question is, how will businesses manage this data revolution?Data-poor brands will have to turn to consortium-based data taxonomies. That means consumer privacy-based initiatives, such as Google’s FLoC, will aggregate user data into different groups, or cohorts, of similar profiles. While this approach does not affect Google’s ability to identify individuals, it does reduce the amount of tracking control brands have. It also decreases the amount and quality of data brands can collect to measure the success of their advertising campaigns, and any information relating to exposed users will be limited to that which can be gathered across their own digital properties.

When it comes to businesses that are fortunate enough to have a deep trove of customer insights, unified data management platforms, such as the Customer Data Platform (CDPs) have emerged as the technological solution to replace third-party cookies. CDPs assemble data into thorough and inclusive customer profiles that promote seamless communication between brands and their audiences. This level of awareness around consumer habits strengthens a company’s ability to build strong relationships across multiple channels. Brands using CDPs also benefit from Return on Ad Spend tracking and measurement tools through inbuilt industry-approved identifier systems, facilitating continuous campaign and strategy optimisation.

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CDPs are both an immediate and long-term solution for suitable businesses. Consent management and data sharing agreement tools mean they do not infringe on customer confidentiality, staying in line with increasing privacy regulations around the world. In general, all brands — no matter the size — that want to stay relevant need to be aware of how they gather data, and in particular, which data regulations apply across regions and localities, taking into account cross-border requirements where relevant.

Customer relationship management, through contact centre communications, and strong loyalty programmes, will be essential throughout the journey of improving methods of first-party data collection. Businesses that rely on the services provided by big tech companies — the current governors of the adtech world — will only lose out if they do not start holding direct and transparent conversations with their consumers. In a time of continuous and rapid technological advancement, companies need to do all that they can to keep up with stiff competition. Finding efficient methods for data collection (such as CDPs), staying on top of evolving privacy laws, and keeping communication lines with their audiences open, are the building blocks to do so.

For more information about how Audiencerate’s solutions and identity hub helps marketers navigate third-party cookie deprecation, activate first-party data and bolster efficiency, get in touch with us here

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