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Developing digital marketing strategies without third-party cookies

Updated: Jun 8

Cookies – the Internet kind – had a humble start in the digital world. These small bits of data stored in your computer’s browser keep you from having to type text, such as your user name, into a site over and over again. Today, however, cookies exist for more than your convenience; they are the fuel behind a whole wave of digital marketing tactics, and recently have become the target of data-privacy regulation.

With the GDPR in the European Union and the CCPA in California clamping down on the collection of consumer data, Google announced it will block third-party cookies from its Chrome browser starting in 2022, a step already taken by the makers of Safari and Firefox. This will put an end to companies’ ability to track user behavior on other web sites and collect data to customize experiences and personalize offers. For example, a website selling shoes will no longer be able to serve you ads for black boots after you’ve left the site without making a purchase, hoping to entice you to think twice. First-party cookies, which web sites use to collect visitor data only on their own sites, will not be impacted.

How will the demise of third-party cookies impact organizations? Given that so many Internet marketing strategies – from Google display ads to social media marketing and retargeting – rely on third-party cookies, companies will need to think about revamping their digital marketing strategies. But, as with other marketing tactics that have been curtailed by regulation in the name of customer privacy (think spam), smart organizations will find alternatives that work just as well – maybe even better.

Rethink the first impression

Some say the end of third-party cookies means organizations will have to take extra steps to engage site visitors from the start. Third-party cookies have allowed for a degree of complacency in marketing efforts, according to this Inc. article. “Now, companies will need to build out and better use their own customer lists and amp up their customer service efforts. They may also need to invest in good old-fashioned advertising again,” the article reads.

Indeed, knowing that they could track a visitor after leaving their sites and serve up targeted ads meant that maybe some companies weren’t trying hard enough to make a great impression in the first place. Taking a good hard look at your main web pages for enticing visuals, short and scannable copy, and simple navigation can go a long way to keeping visitors engaged.

Focus on content and the customer journey

Compelling content – whether it be how-to videos, customer testimonials, or narrative-based assets that take the customer’s point of view – is especially important these days, particularly in the B2B world. Give site visitors value in exchange for their information and focus on building a relationship with prospects and customers within the context of your website.

One way to achieve this is to plot out a customer journey of content – think about what assets the site visitor has already consumed and serve up the next logical piece of information. Did a visitor read an ebook about a new trend or emerging challenge in their industry? The next logical piece of information would explain how your offering takes advantage of the trend or helps overcomes the challenge.

These are just a few ways you can reshape your digital marketing strategies without having to rely on third-party cookies. To learn more about how we can help or to schedule a consultation visit our services page.

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