Guest blog: Digital Marketing and the Death of the Cookie

Guest Blog, Partner Content, Technology | Fri 11 Jun | Author – Business & Finance

Rob Pryce, Chief Revenue Officer at Xtremepush, on first-party data strategies for customer engagement in the post-cookie era.

Digital marketing is on the cusp of a new era.  By 2022, third-party cookies will be gone from Google Chrome. Chrome is not the first web browser to do away with third-party cookies.  Safari and Mozilla Firefox have already phased them out.  Chrome is by far the largest in terms of ad-spend, however. So, what will this mean for the future of digital marketing? In short, a seismic shift in how we approach customer acquisition.

Targeted advertising, fuelled by anonymous user-tracking, is being dismantled piece-by-piece. In just a few short months, online advertisers will no longer have access to data about potential customers who have never visited their website or downloaded their app.

At the same time, targeting new audiences through the “walled gardens” of social media will become more expensive. Without the means to find lookalike audiences in the wild, targeted marketing on social media platforms will likely cost more. With the price of Facebook ads and promoted tweets set to rise, companies will need to find new ways to reach customers online.

First-Party Friends

That’s where first-party data comes in.  In the post-Cookie era, first-party data will be your new best friend. At Xtremepush, we reckon the demise of cookies isn’t the great disaster some marketers fear.  Sizeable saved marketing resources can now go towards enhancing understanding of, and engagement with, known visitors – instead of worrying if the ‘lookalikes’ really do look-alike.

But, before you can use first-party data to your brand or business advantage, you’ll need to gather it.  One way to do this is by gate-keeping content behind an incentivised log-in event. This might include offering customers wish-lists, for example, bookmarked content or saved payment details for smoother transactions, in return for logging in to their own unique account. Your customers will get a personalised and optimised experience.  You, in turn, will be able to use their account, whether they’re on desktop, mobile or a new device. 

In short, you’ll have your own first-party data.  So, what should you do with it? Above all, you don’t want it to go to waste. This means having a reliable profile unification solution within your ecosystem — the all-important “Single Customer View.” This capability alone is one of the main reasons Customer Data Platforms are now so popular. Businesses are investing in technology to collect, unify, and activate their own customer data. CPDs are built to ingest data from all sources, clean it, and assign behavioural events and attributes to each individual user.

Our platforms go one step further at Xtremepush.   For each new visitor to your website or app downloaded, we assign a unique and anonymous ID at device level.  This means you can measure each visitor’s behaviour, and personalise future interactions, even before you know who they are. When the time comes for these visitors to create an account, or they become a paying customer, we make sure this early data is stitched into the overall picture.

So, the message to brands right now is simple: start building your own walled garden. For a fraction of your monthly, never-ending ad spend, you can develop new ways to acquire, engage and influence customers through your own channels. Nothing will ever be as powerful, or as cost-effective in the long run, as a strategy built around first-party data, collected openly on your own website and app. Do it transparently, go at it in manageable sprints. Work towards it with your customers. Above all else, start as soon as possible.