Digital marketers are no strangers to disruption, yet the industry is about to be shaken to its core. Is it a global pandemic? Is it an energy crisis? No, it’s the death of third-party cookies.
Organisations have long relied on third-party cookies, a web-based tool which collects customer data and enables personalised experiences. But, since advertising technology providers Apple and Google have announced their bid to increase customer control over their own data, the use of third-party cookies is becoming more limited and could soon be obsolete.
Apple users will already be aware that they have to opt-in to be tracked by apps. And Google has said it won’t be building alternate identifiers to track individuals in their products due to rising customer expectations and growing regulatory restrictions.
So that’s the background, but what does this mean for brands:
- They stand to lose access to most third-party data
- They will be blind to many of the behavioural and demographic insights that currently drive customer targeting and web advertising
- They need to rely more heavily on their own, or ‘first-party’ data to drive their campaigns
While this sounds like a huge pivot, it isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Yes, the
business imperative for marketers to build new data strategies is time critical, but third-party cookies were never a perfect solution in the first place. They are limited in their ability to engage customers. The information can be inaccurate or even untrustworthy. Therefore, brands can only stand to benefit from improving their owned data resources.
Not only that, but companies must be reticent to that fact that the consumer focus on privacy is climbing in line with increased regulation and show a duty of care over customer data.
The future of targeting will no doubt be driven by a brand’s ability to source, manage and leverage first-party, accurate, clean customer data from one ‘single source of truth’. So, there’s no better time than now to begin developing an owned data strategy as the third-party cookie continues to crumble into insignificance.
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