It is time to consider what will replace your third-party cookie-based targeting strategies and assess how well new strategies will perform and assist with the transition. In general, the more direct your relationship is with your customer base, the less dependent you are on third-party cookies. Also, the more you focus on performance marketing versus brand awareness, the more your business will generally depend on third-party cookies.
Brands vary in how they collect and use first-party data; similarly, the extent to which they depend on third-party cookie-based strategies varies. During the transition period, experimentation is critical. Poor outcomes on tests now need not impact your campaigns while you can continue to rely on traditional targeting and measurement strategies. Failed experiments in 2024 will leave you with no reliable alternative.
Everyone knows that change can be hard, but marketing departments are living with the reality of preparing to lose the third-party cookie. To survive this upheaval, our partners Tealium present the steps required to build the foundation for the next decade of customer relationships:
1. Implement privacy by design into future campaigns
Tealium emphasizes the importance of building out first- and zero-party data assets. Start with an audit to understand how dependent your current media programs are on third-party cookies. Remember, not all third-party data will be lost: there will still be third-party data that you may legally use.
An audit of your digital media purchasing can be completed internally or with the assistance of agency partners such as e-CENS to determine your risk exposure. Having identified which programs are most at risk, a new data collection strategy may be created that is purposeful, controllable, and well-understood.
Across your organization, legal, product, and beyond must embed privacy compliance into the design of customer programs from their inception. This ensures that data collection and activation strategies are well thought out to accommodate privacy legislation requirements.
2. Build out first- and zero-party data assets
First-party data is the first data asset to reach for to close a portion of the data gap created by the sunsetting of the third-party cookie. The lesson from first-party data is that your best, existing customer relationships contain the seeds of knowledge that will help you win more customers; for example, with acquisition strategies such as lookalike targeting. However, to be useful first-party data requires building up your volume of consented, privacy-safe data.
While there is an active secondary market to buy third-party data or purchase someone else’s first-party data (for example, via walled gardens), the more you can leverage your own first-party, the smaller the budget you need to buy it from suppliers. It is, therefore, important to begin testing new strategies such as data clean rooms, Google’s Privacy Sandbox, contextual targeting, and third-party cookie replacements like UID 2.0.
3. Rethink identity
The paradigm is shifting. It is important to not be searching for a find/replace to the third-party cookie. Identity is changing. We have vendors offering their own universal IDs and identity graphs, while email addresses are more and more being used for interoperability. However, such identity solutions can be costly. This is why owning your own strategy with 90% effectiveness could be cheaper than one with 99% effectiveness purchased through a media vendor.
If you want to learn more, read the original 5 Steps for Transitioning to the Third Party Cookieless Future of Targeting Audiences for Acquisition and Retention direct from Tealium.