We are at a crossroads in marketing history, with not one but three major changes impacting marketers. Read on to learn how to prepare for cookie deprecation by building a solid first-party data foundation.
1. THE END OF COOKIES
We are nearing the end of third-party cookies. Historically, third-party cookies have been key to digital measurement, so their exit will drastically change how we track and understand consumer data. Marketers will need to be innovative to cultivate growth and prevent revenue loss from cookie-reliant marketing.
2. CHANGES IN REGULATION
Regulatory changes brought by GDPR, CCPA* have redefined how consumer data is handled, introducing new requirements for how certain data is collected, stored, and utilized. In light of this regulation, it’s more important than ever for marketers to gain consent when capturing and applying consumer data.
3. CHANGES IN WEB BROWSERS
Web browsers are entering the privacy fold. Developers are creating new tools built into browsers that limit the data that websites and devices can capture from us. Leading the way is Mozilla Firefox, with a more forceful privacy push than its competitors. Safari has recently followed suit in upgrading its privacy features. In addition, Google Chrome has announced that it too will implement greater protections for data sharing on behalf of its billion-plus users.
IS IT ALL DOOM AND GLOOM ON THE MARKETING FRONT?
The short answer is: no. This change is an opportunity for marketers to re-examine our practices and the value we bring to the companies we work with. We need to evaluate how we treat the growing volume of data that customers give us. It’s time to innovate, to further our clients’ and employers’ ambitions, while respecting the privacy of the audiences with whom we engage.
Giving people power over their data is a welcome and necessary development in the digital economy
Giving people power over their own data strongly aligns with our own commitment to modernizing media in a privacy focused way. It is still possible for companies to market and measure data effectively – so not all is lost. In the midst of these changes, it’s important to remember that being respectful of privacy and effective marketing are not mutually exclusive concepts. There are still great opportunities to enhance marketing efforts through clever use of technology and to drive greater return on marketing investments.
Where should you focus as you prepare for cookie deprecation? A good place to start is developing a roadmap for a first-party data driven approach. Focus on building a first-party data pipeline that will enable you to continue to collect the important information needed to fuel media and marketing efforts.
Build processes and implement solutions that enable you to move swiftly and pivot as the market and landscape evolves
- Real-time data
Set up your data collection so it’s ‘always-on’. This allows you to react effectively when high-value actions are taken
Be open with your customers about what data you are collecting, how you intend to use it, and what benefits they can expect from the value-exchange. This is a great way to build loyalty, trust and brand integrity
Unsure where to start? You’re not alone. Fortunately, Conversion APIs could put marketers on the path to developing an effective pipeline. Google (specifically Google Ads, YouTube, and Search Ads 360 in a closed alpha), Facebook Meta, and Snap have each created a Conversion API (CAPI) that lets companies privately collect and match their personally identifiable information (PII) directly to a conversion. The data is one-way hashed before being transmitted to the vendors and is delivered via a server-side API connection, meaning the data can be transferred securely and legally.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS?
- Firstly, CAPIs future-proof your measurement practices This method doesn’t rely on third-party cookies, and is built on an infrastructure that brings additional benefits, such as continually improving features and integrations
- Secondly, it brings overall improvements to your measurement The confluence of changes in third-party cookies, privacy regulations and browser updates has resulted in a reduced ability to measure. Using CAPIs provides an uplift in tracked conversions by mitigating signal loss and allowing conversions to be measured consistently.
WHAT MEASURABLE IMPROVEMENTS CAN YOU EXPECT WHEN USING CAPI?
At the initial launch of Google’s eCAPI (now called Enhanced Conversions), Google conservatively estimated a 5% increase in conversion rates in search, and 12% in YouTube conversion rates. This doesn’t necessarily mean more money, but it points to better tracking. The benefit is that with a deeper understanding of the performance of your media through better tracking, you can make more informed buying and bidding decisions.
5% increase in search conversion rates
These benefits include the ability to analyze media performance and gain greater insight into what types of customers are converting.
12% increase in YouTube conversion rates
This, in turn, allows you to make vital changes to bidding, spend, placement and more. And all of this increases the revenue your company is getting from your media performance.
Preparation is key for the changes ahead. Marketers must build a solid foundation for first-party data collection now, in order to have a strong data pipeline in the absence of cookies. CAPIs can help you start building this foundation and pipeline by offering the ability to:
- Future-proof measurement
- Gain a complete picture of media performance
- Understand data and insights better
- Make more profitable decisions on bidding, spend and placement
- Enhance data activation capabilities while respecting audience privacy
However, CAPIs are just one way that marketers can continue to drive growth and value. To maximize success in a post-cookie world, marketers must also consistently innovate and explore new ways of achieving their goals while respecting the privacy of the audiences they engage with.
Footer: General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) protects personal information collected and used without their consent in the UK and Europe either online or in person. The California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) is a state-wide data privacy law that regulates how businesses all over the world are allowed to handle the personal information of California residents.