Marketers' solution to the demise of third-party data

Despite the hype during the past year, the demise of third-party cookies has not arrived. It is, however, on the horizon and unquestionably inevitable. Therefore, marketers are showing concern over what will replace those cookies or what can replace them.

It’s okay to feel uneasy about these massive changes. But it’s more productive to act on proven marketing instruments that reliably fill their void. By dissecting marketing attribution and knowing what’s working with existing customers, marketers can forgo broad approaches to reaching segments of prospective customers and, instead, refocus energies and resources to put powerful first-party data to use.

Change is inevitable


Third-party cookies aren’t usual marketing campaign bedfellows. But they’re inescapably linked by regularly repeated consumer demands for more control over their individual data and by regulators and service providers who’ve chosen to listen and act on those concerns.

Google’s maneuver to eliminate third-party cookies is already outpaced by browser competitors Firefox and Safari. Apple also requires apps working on its devices to receive user consent before personal data is shared.

So marketers should remain optimistic that they’ll survive the removal of third-party cookie data and do it successfully. Because existing tools and methods already in use can obtain and leverage first-party data and help marketers to really know their customers.

First-party rules

First-party data is gold. Customer lists, email lists, purchasing habits, loyalty programs and every other piece of intelligence help create targeted ads. Even if it adds some costs, there are savings by excluding customers whose buying tendencies don’t support some campaigns.

Less is more

Review and remove keywords, ads and landing pages that fail to draw profit. As importantly, include negative keywords to end poor-quality searches and ensure that ads reach only the target audience.

Test and tweak

Keep campaigns, ad copy and messaging fresh. Test them regularly, review data and be ready to tweak where necessary to avoid stale returns.

Refresh retargeting

Retarget visitors based on activity with your site. Treat someone who’s downloaded content differently from those who viewed purchasing pages or those who only visited. Make ad copy more personalized. Retarget on searches, too, and bid higher for return visitors.

Web Browser Settings precision

Make certain that settings consistently capture ad copy, keywords and messaging across all campaigns. Be deliberate, with each setting chosen with purpose. Never have these been more important as the data they’ll compile is indispensable.

Be Bid Savvy

Make doubly sure the price per click fits the budget. And know whether improving the site’s quality score will result in a higher ranking and be done without increasing costs. Examine keyword bidding to determine where it will achieve the return on investment goal or if less expensive secondary words are the way to go.

Engage with intent

First-party data has never been more critical, so measuring leads that help build the data is just as crucial. Since first-party data will be marketers’ lifeblood, keep it healthy and robust. This comes by engaging with customers and prospects the moment they’re identified and throughout the sales funnel. A healthy business life depends on it.

By all indications, consumer privacy is not just trending. It’s the new normal. The ability of individuals to have more control over their data will increase, especially online, where the major service providers are scrambling to build trust among a highly critical public and their lawmakers.

So marketers and their businesses must hone their collective talents at connecting with customers and prospects on the individual level. Strive to become more personalized more frequently. Engage with visitors in every step of the customer journey and hone these skills now, as third-party cookies dissolve into the past.

Photo Credit: gcpics/Shutterstock

Rick Ruth is director of product management and carrier relations at CallTrackingMetrics with more than 20 years of experience in telecommunications sales, marketing and management. He focuses on innovative technologies that benefit efficiency and customer experience. On LinkedIn.

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