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The Death of the Third-Party Cookie and What It Means for Your Business

Learn how cookies fail the entire industry and are not the best way to build a brand. We'll also explore what that means for advertisers and marketers and give specific examples of how they can adapt to changing consumer behavior while capitalizing on more modern data-driven marketing techniques.

The cookie is crumbling

The third-party cookie is crumbling. That's not news, but it's still a significant challenge for marketers who rely on third-party data to run campaigns on digital platforms and measure their effectiveness.

Third-party cookies have been in decline for years, and Google has led the way by planning to phase them out entirely in Chrome by 2023. Likewise, apple's Safari browser has long restricted third-party cookies, and Firefox followed suit last year.

The demise of third-party cookies will have a significant impact on digital advertising. They are the backbone of ad exchanges that allow buyers to bid for targeted audiences using large amounts of data collected from various websites. As a result, advertisers who use ad exchanges to extend their reach with highly targeted ads will be directly impacted as a revenue source.

So what are the options to fill the gap left by the impending end of third-party cookies?

Other ways to target consumers online

If you're using a platform like Google Ads, Facebook, or Instagram, you don't need to worry about the death of the third-party cookie. These platforms have built-in data models that have nothing to do with third-party cookies. Platforms like these offer alternative targeting options that can provide significant advantages. This is especially true for organizations using content to reach, engage and convert a high-value audience. Here are three key benefits:

1. Greater reach and brand awareness: This is an obvious one; you want as many people as possible to see your content. When you post something on your Facebook page, for example, all of your followers will see it in their news feed. But with paid Facebook advertising, you can also target people who aren't already following you based on their interests, age, location, and more.

2. A positive impact on SEO and Paid Search: Search engines like Google love websites with social components and include content from multiple platforms such as blog articles, images, and videos. The right keyword strategy will build the top of the funnel with the potential to tap into millions of consumers during the most basic search function.

3. Increased conversion rates: modern marketing helps increase conversion rates by bettering customer relations and creating more exposure for your business' products or services. The ability to pair content to the right target audience will dramatically increase conversion rates with the right target audience.

Modern Marketing with an Audience-First Approach

Audience-first marketing is a strategy that focuses on your target audience first rather than your product or service. It would help if you considered the important things to them to create content that they find relevant and valuable.

It seems pretty straightforward, right? But this approach has been lost in the shuffle of the digital age.

To successfully market to your audience, you must know your audience first. That means you need an in-depth understanding of their needs, challenges, motivations, and behaviors. The good news is that marketers have many options for getting the insights they need to create effective campaigns: focus groups, surveys, polls, social media listening, and more.

The most forward-looking strategy organizations can adopt is a Customer Data Platform (CDP). The primary benefit of a CDP is that it gives marketers more control to personalize marketing messages and advertising campaigns. In addition, CDPs are more secure than other forms of software, such as a CRM, because they enable companies to store data in one place and access it in real-time.

Key Takeaway: As we've seen, cookies are not the best way to build brands. Not only are cookies on their last legs from a consumer perspective, but they also add little value for advertisers beyond a cheap way to retarget.

Cookies have been declining steadily in their ability to identify users and devices. The value of the data they offer is questionable at best. The solution focuses on building a brand and fostering first-party customer data rather than targeting consumers with cookie-based ads. This is what the best-in-class marketers do and why they're building enduring brands that outlast the cookie era.

First-party customer data helps organizations better understand, engage, and learn from their customers. This data is typically collected through first-party channels, such as a brand's website or mobile app, and can be used to personalize marketing messages, create unique offers, and more.

The growth of first-party customer data has led many to question additional third-party customer data benefits. While there are many benefits to using third-party data — including increased reach, access to additional demographic info, etc. — it's often not as accurate or reliable as first-party customer data.

In the end, an integrated and 360° customer-centric first-party data strategy will build, grow and engage audiences in the manner that is built to last.

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