Here’s How Marketing Can Thrive in the Cookieless Future

Here’s How Marketing Can Thrive in the Cookieless Future

Here’s How Marketing Can Thrive in the Cookieless Future

Marketers are in a bind since Google announced the deprecation of third-party cookies, and Apple announced changes that make IDs for advertisers (IDFAs) far less useful than they were in the past. Customers still expect personalization, but if your messaging isn’t relevant, it’s just noise. At the same time, customers demand privacy as well. With the gradual phasing out of third-party cookies addressing the latter concern, how can marketers still deliver the personalized experience customers crave?

But the end of third-party cookies doesn’t mean the end of personalization, it just means that priorities and practices need to change.

More Personalization, Less Tracking = Opportunities

For marketers, the situation initially looks bad. Customers are becoming more savvy about data privacy and increasingly concerned about security. Tech companies and legislators have taken up the cause of data privacy and continue to regulate collection of customer data. But marketers don’t have to see this movement as an “us versus them” scenario: Better security and privacy benefit everyone.

What Are the Alternatives to Third-party Cookies?

There are other ways to identify customers and leverage data without third-party cookies. Aggregated forms of measurement that don’t rely on personally identifiable information (PII) are feasible alternatives to cookies. A Treasure Data report about what advertisers are doing to end their reliance on third-party cookies revealed that more than half of advertisers will employ new metrics and KPIs for measurement as cookies are phased out. Furthermore, they are considering aggregated performance measures to capture more customer profile information. Here are a few first steps you can take to get started.

Prioritize First-party Data

Marketers know the value of first-party data and it will only become more essential as cookies and other tracking methods fall away. Aligning yourself to grow first-party data sources is one way to get ahead of the game. Concentrate on sources that incentivize customers to share their personal information and add to their customer profiles such as social media, brand apps, and loyalty programs. Focus efforts on maintaining existing first-party data sources and shop for solutions that can enrich and manage them.

Customer Profiles Without PII

How do you create customer profiles that don’t rely on PII? Integrating customer data across disparate data sources is a challenge for any business. Add in shifting regulations around data collection and the prospect gets even more thorny. Decentralized Identifiers (DID) are an alternative to consolidate and store individual customer profiles without disclosing PII.

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Brian Mullin, the founder and CEO of Karlsgate, spoke with Treasure Data about the future of customer profiles. Karlsgate has created an Identity Exchange that utilizes encrypted, single-use, pseudonymized tokens in place of PII. The Identity Exchange allows organizations to consolidate information about a particular individual using these tokens to flesh out customer profiles. Mullin explains that Karlsgate’s solution solves a number of critical challenges including:

  • Maintaining data custody: Distributed processing ensures organizations never lose control of customer identities, because it never leaves their environment.
  • Protecting customer privacy: Single-use pseudonymized tokens guarantee no identity disclosure, retention, persistency, or re-identification.
  • Streamlining data sharing: [Karlsgate’s] collaborative portal allows complete control and transparency removing the need for lengthy testing agreements and processes.

Data Consolidation

Making use of the data you have can be difficult when data sources are varied and disconnected. In order to have current, accurate, and complete data, consolidation is necessary. Customer Data Platforms (CDPs) are especially good at this task and can centralize and consolidate data from dozens of sources.

Treasure Data’s Jonathan Von Abo spoke with Jason Skelton, Head of EU Platforms at Acxiom about the future of customer data without cookies. Skelton explained:

“It can be a confusing and sometimes scary marketing landscape out there, but marketers have a variety of solutions available to use in their tech stack, and it is critical they’re integrated with CDPs and other data enhancement technologies. It’s still possible to deliver superior insights and personalized customer experiences—all while handling customer data preferences sensitively—with the right martech choices.”

How to Build Customer Trust

Personal data collection and tracking don’t have to be dirty words to your customers. It is possible to build customer trust and continue to collect customer data.

Let the Customer Lead

Personalization can be a mutually beneficial transaction if done right. The customer offers personal data in exchange for personalized experiences.

The best way to balance personalization and privacy concerns is to offer customers to decide which data they would like to divulge. Show your customers how sharing their personal data will benefit them and then let them decide if it is worth it. The simplest form of this is an email list. The customer gives an email address in exchange for a coupon or notifications about products and promotions. It is a simple transaction where both parties get something. Giving your customers opt in and opt out choices increases their trust and may entice them to share more data.

Be Transparent

It is important to be upfront and clear about how you collect, store, use, and secure customer data. This information shouldn’t be difficult to find or understand. The more plain spoken and transparent your data policies are, the less likely the customer is to be wary of your data practices.

Keep Up with Privacy Settings

CDPs aren’t only for customer data consolidation, they can also be used to manage privacy preferences and offer meaningful privacy options to customers. CDPs are key when it comes to making sure that each customer’s privacy selections are being honored. This is especially important in environments where privacy preferences can vary from channel to channel and customers can change them at any time. Using real time data and consolidated customer profiles, CDPs keep privacy settings up to date on every channel.

Say Goodbye Now to Third-party Cookies

Don’t wait until the conversion away from current forms of customer tracking is complete: Start testing and implementing new ways to gather customer data now. With the right martech and a focus on first-party data, your business can be ready for the future right now. Learn more about how to prepare for marketing without third-party cookies.

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Tom Treanor
Tom Treanor
Tom Treanor was head of marketing at Treasure Data. He focuses on marketing, martech, CDPs, and digital marketing. Follow him on Twitter @RtMixMktg.
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