It’s been on the horizon for a long time, but the “cookie apocalypse” really is near.
Google intends to turn off third-party cookies for all Chrome users by 2024, while Apple’s Safari and Mozilla’s Firefox blocked third-party cookies years ago.
This creates a tipping point for marketers.
From anonymous to personal – again!
According to the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB), the move by Google will bring about a “default future state of digital media [that is] 100% anonymous, non-addressable to third-party vendors that support advertising-funded media and services today”.
What does this mean? In a nutshell, businesses need to be more reliant on their own first-party data.
Third-party cookies currently allow marketers to target consumers and prospects in an anonymised way across digital channels, based on their online behaviour. They are non-essential cookies that can track user behaviour across multiple website domains and devices.
Without them, we will see less advertising personalisation, decreased ability to retarget, and some believe a dramatic reduction in return on ad spend (ROAS).
Collect, care and curate YOUR data
So, what is first-party data and why should marketers refocus their efforts to ensure it is being effectively harnessed?
First-party data is the information that a business owns about its customers. It is collected directly from customers from channels such as web or mobile apps, in-store interactions, purchase history or loyalty programmes.
In the case of first-party cookies, they are directly stored by the website and allow businesses to collect analytics data, as well as remember preferences and settings that create a good user experience (UX).
Capture, analyse, act
But reliance on first-party data assumes that it’s in a good enough state to begin with. Often, this isn’t the case. Many organizations are at odds with the realities of building and implementing the systems needed to directly capture, analyse and act on first-party user data.
In fact, 60% of marketing leaders believe that collecting first-party customer data with an appropriate balance of customer value exchange and privacy will become more challenging in 2023, according to a survey by Gartner.
First party data accuracy
To maximise the potential output of first-party data, the input needs to consist of data that’s clean and uncompromised.
Systems and services provided by specialists such as AFD become essential tools to ensure that first party data is collected accurately and that existing first party data is cleansed.
Jonathan Stocks, Head of Sales & Marketing at AFD Software is clear: “The absence of third-party cookies is a huge opportunity for organisations to differentiate from competition.
The starting point for effective use of this richer approach is knowing the accurate physical address and its associated attributes, including for example, geodemographic and property characteristics.
Jonathan continues: “Our powerful services clean-up and normalise address data – and make it easy for consumers to provide it quickly and accurately in the first place.
Clean first party address data opens the door to deeper, stronger data insight, turning the cookie apocalypse into a way to standout in an era of email overload.”
Once the data is clean and compliant, there are several ways to utilise it to maximise the benefits for your marketing strategy. Herdify’s community insights tool is one such example.
Uncover actionable behavioural insights
Its AI technology takes a feed of information from a brand’s first-party data and analyses it to detect where brand communities are forming in the real world. This GDPR tool is solely reliant on data collected by the brand, and in turn, generates a series of location insights that can be fed back into any marketing channel.
Why is community detection so important for marketers looking to create a first-party strategy? “Only 8% of consumers buy without recommendation from someone they know and trust,” says Ed Barter, Herdify’s lead data scientist. “We rely on social learning and most individuals will copy those around them.”
Find and leverage hidden brand advocates
“As humans we are innately lazy, and we rely on our friends and family to do the product research for us. These brand recommendations take place in the real world, and the insights that detect where these conversations are hidden can be found in a brand’s own sales data.”
Herdify’s technology, backed by 15 years of research with Bristol and Cambridge universities, enables marketers to find these useful behavioural insights and apply them practically to their strategies, from digital targeting and micro-influencer selection to out-of-home (OOH) and door drop campaigns.