The future of cookies and how a CDP can help.
For many people, online advertisements feel more like digital stalking than building a healthy relationship with a brand or product. In many cases, the feeling of being overwhelmed by an advertiser can cause the opposite effect. In this perspective, it is not only inevitable but also healthy to have discussions about the rise of ad blockers and the fall of third-party cookies.
Internet users' awareness of privacy and personal data usage in the digital landscape has definitely impacted the regulations about how their information should be handled by companies, advertisers and big tech providers.
In January 2020, Google announced its plan to block third-party cookies from the Chrome browser by 2022. This project has been postponed to the end of 2023, due to the impact it has in the advertising industry.
Apple has recently introduced the option to make the Mobile Device ID (more known as the Identifier for Advertisers or IDFA) opt-in only, which means users need to give their permission to access the device's advertising identifier. This, and other initiatives, are bringing a lot of attention to cookies and the role they play in marketing strategies.
For this article we interviewed Bas Nieland, CEO and founder of Datatrics, to collect his thoughts and opinion about the future of cookies
To have everyone on the same page, let’s first recap some concepts around this topic.
What is a cookie?
Cookies are small pieces of data that track internet users' activities and store information about navigation behavior, such as websites visited, pages viewed, interactions with content, browsing time and other information that can be used by companies for strategic purposes.
Imagine you enter a store and you are browsing along the isles, adding products to your shopping cart and a sales clerk is there watching you and collecting information about your preferences. The cookies allow companies to collect this kind of information about user’s behavior in the online environment upon their consent.
How third-party cookies are being used and what is changing?
‘Third-parties’ such as advertisers or marketers collect data which they subsequently use to track the behaviour of customers.
With third-party data it is possible to, for example, improve website experiences, target specific groups with ads or even analyze what these consumers were checking on other websites. But this is going to change.
As we are going towards a (third-party) cookie-less future, several big pioneers in the tech-industry are banning (or already banned) these third-party cookies. As mentioned before, Google is planning to block third-party cookies from its browser by 2023. Firefox & Safari already blocked this by default and many will follow, or already took action. Consent management has become an important role within many companies.
So now marketers and advertisers face the challenge of reaching their audience without the third-party cookies handed over to them on a plate. It is imaginable that this had caused some panic. How do you target your audience in such a personalized and engaging way? It is safe to say that this question is not as big of a challenge as many might think.
What are Datatrics' main policies towards privacy?
At Datatrics, we keep the customer data analysis and privacy together. As our product processes and uses personal data of customers and visitors, we follow the rules regarding privacy regulations very strictly. Not only because we want to, but because these principles are laid out in the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
Our Customer Data Platform (CDP) offers advanced data management for marketing professionals and complies with privacy regulations. Our software automatically collects, cleans and presents all of your data in one place. If you, for example, remove a customer’s personal data at their request, this is automatically implemented across the entire system. This solves the problem of manually managing big data sets.
How does this affect businesses and digital advertising?
It is now necessary that businesses make the shift towards first-party data strategies in order to still create personal experiences during the customer journey. Important note is that solely depending on third-party cookies is not the most sustainable strategy to do your marketing activities. Having multiple sources of data is a must to gather qualitative and reliable information about customers.
The focus should be on having quality data internally, instead of relying on third-party data. Customers still presume a certain level of customization regarding ads which was previously made possible by third-party cookies. As a lot of businesses use a CRM system to reach out to their customers, this is something we believe needs some extra attention.
As CRM systems are built to give a clear overview of all collected customer data, it is not very useful in an era where real-time data is a must. CRM systems are great to use when all you need is just an overview of your current customers. But when you really need to know the behaviour of these specific customers, their interests and trigger points, a data-driven comprehensive tool like a Customer Data Platform (CDP) is the way to go.
How can a CDP be part of the solution?
So with third-party cookies fading away, the focus should shift to zero- and first-party data. This means businesses have to focus on their current customer database, which is data that they own. Zero party-data, the data that the customer explicitly gives to a website in order to receive a better purchase experience is consciously and ethically collected. The customer wants the company to have this information and this is therefore a reliable basis for a marketing strategy.
For some businesses it is quite a challenge to master all the data that is provided to them. They are experiencing a data overload which ends up in unorganized data. This is very unfortunate because a lot of business opportunities can get lost. What happens, as mentioned before, is that a lot of businesses rely on their CRM systems which are not designed to process and combine real-time data.
That is where a Customer Data Platform (CDP) comes in. With Datatrics, data is automatically collected and managed from different internal and external sources and brought together in one place.
The bar is set high when it comes to personalized customer experiences. Our CDP is able to create real-time, personalized customer profiles that enable you to meet buyers and prospects exactly where, when and how they want to be met, using first- and zero-party data. Our solution was designed for marketing professionals that need to manage a lot of data and deploy 1:1 personalized experiences without needing advanced IT skills.
The key is to leverage first-party data in a way that you, as a marketer, get insights that can help deliver 1-on-1 personalization to enrich the customer experience. A CDP can gather all these kinds of data both online and offline in order to deliver this kind of experience.
So, to make sure you will survive the new third-party cookieless era, it is crucial to manage first-party data, the data that you own, in an effective and successful way. At Datatrics we believe a solid Customer Data Platform is indispensable in this process.
We would love to tell you more about the possibilities with Datatrics.