What should enterprise bite into in a cookieless world?

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Enterprises who are digital savvy and progressive have been grappling with cookieless aspects as it affects diverse aspects of digital marketing—from audience targeting, engagement, personalisation and measurement to privacy policy and consent management.

There’s been an unusual amount of talk about cookies in the world of marketing. Unfortunately, it has got nothing to do with sweet treats. In the coming years, several major web browsers will have phased out third-party cookies in response to the growing scrutiny around data privacy. And while the timelines and approaches have been unpredictable, the move is set to turn digital marketing on its head.

Enterprises who are digital savvy and progressive have been grappling with cookieless aspects as it affects diverse aspects of digital marketing—from audience targeting, engagement, personalisation and measurement to privacy policy and consent management. What will differentiate these enterprises is their readiness for robust first-party data strategy and know-how to transition to cookieless marketing, much before the age of cookies and third-party data comes to an end.

While marketers prioritise and take a focused approach, here are some fundamentals enterprises need to think through:

Personalise for impact

Organisations that have a strong first-party data strategy are actually better positioned to deliver personalised, engaging experiences, especially when third-party cookies have never really been that reliable. According to comScore, 35% of cookie-based demographic targeting is inaccurate. First-party data, on the other hand, allows you to know who your users are, letting you build rich customer profiles to orchestrate their journey with your brand.

With the demise of third-party cookies, organisations should veer towards using first-party cookies and first-party app identifiers to generate customer data and insights to create real-time customer data profiles. Real-time machine learning on the edge can help pick the next best experience in a scalable way that rules-based logic cannot.

Re-set & Re-tool

Adjusting to a cookieless world will require you to move away from your dependence on third-party cookies. And this would mean replacing your legacy tools and systems with infrastructure that helps you build a comprehensive consumer data platform to connect various data sources throughout the customer journey.

With no third-party cookies, the only profiles you are going to be able to use in an anonymous session are built entirely from first-party cookies. And segmentation will need to work in milliseconds to affect an experience.

Stat from ComScore Cookie Deletion Analysis - "35% of cookie-based demographic targeting is inaccurate."

Put CX front and center

First-party data is consent-driven. Customers want you to personalise their experience at every click, but they don’t want to be chased everywhere once they drop off. But if you get their information before every click, you have the data to orchestrate their journey that builds loyalty from the start.

Also, first-party data is omnichannel and not online-only. When you collect data about your prospects from all touchpoints, you can identify and market to them better, leading to better conversions.

Start small for quick wins

Third-party cookies gave marketers a false sense of security as they could launch and activate campaigns at short notice with readily accessible customer data. However, ROI in most cases has been questionable due to lack of context, identity concerns, and timeliness. comScore research found 55% of cookie-based measurement to be overstated.

Launching campaigns based on first-party data will give you a lot more accuracy and predictability, but it does require upfront planning and investment. The best way to start would be to keep customers at the centre of your marketing strategy and carefully pick the most relevant use cases to activate.

Keep privacy in mind

With the abundance of information and hyper personalisation coming a customer’s way, they have become increasingly aware of the tactics and tools used by organisations to get data. According to a study, 72% consumers claimed to know how cookies work. This has led them to become guarded about their privacy and digital footprint. However, they do want meaningful experiences with brands.

To put it simply, customers want to be targeted with the right offer with a brand they trust. They, however, do not want over-targeting or re-targeting with offers they don’t care for. Build your customer’s identity by asking for data and stating the purpose for which it will be used. That will not only build trust but also a satisfying experience for the customer.

Act now and be inclusive

The key for enterprise leaders is to get the ball rolling now. While these changes may seem far away, it’s never too early to reassess your approach to data. Bring your teams together to invest in building a solution that allows you to deliver a customised offer to each of your customers, no matter where they are in their journey.

Winning tips

Providing real-time personalisation using first-party data would require you to invest in your people, process, and technology.

We may not have been ready for a future without third-party cookies, but it is what the consumer wanted. And the future of marketing lies in respecting the privacy of our customers while providing them world-class, real-time, personalised experiences.

Original article published on CIO, here.