Rethinking Your Customer Data Strategy Without the Third-Party Cookie

 In Data Governance, first-party data, Insights and Analytics, Marketing Strategy

We’re projected to say a final farewell to third-party cookies by the end of 2023, and for many organizations, that means hello to a new data strategy. Many fear that the “death” of third-party cookies could create new challenges for marketers. And while this is in-part true, it also presents a unique opportunity to create meaningful marketing moments and develop deep customer relationships. 

Don’t worry, you don’t have to tackle this alone – Tealium is here to help! In our most recent masterclass series “Preparing for Life Beyond the Third-Party Cookie,” we dive into the nitty-gritty of it and provide actionable tips to deliver best-in-class digital CX in a post-cookie world. 

Keep reading for a full recap of the masterclass series or catch up on the on-demand sessions here.  

What is data deprecation and why should you care?

Three major changes for how brands use customer data are shaping the future of the data privacy landscape. These include third-party cookie loss, regulatory changes like GDPR and CCPA, and browser updates like heightened control on data collection. In other words, ‘data deprecation.’ Coined by Forrester, data deprecation is  the restriction of tracking and access to consumer data due to regulatory, browser, walled-garden, or consumer actions. What this really means is that in order to comply with evolving privacy legislations and consumer expectations, we all need to rethink our data strategy.

We know one thing for certain…

Data privacy is not static; it is constantly evolving and so should your strategy for adapting your business around privacy requirements. It cannot be “set it and forget it.” New and changing regulations will continue to impact how data can be collected and used by brands. It is the responsibility of brands today to keep track of the changes happening in order to not only avoid large fines, and prevent costly public relations events, but build strong first-party relationships with their customers.

Why are cookies so important in the advertising technology (AdTech) ecosystem? 

Before we jump into how you can start reimagining your data strategy, let’s take a step back and understand why the loss of third-party cookies is so impactful. 

For years, cookies have been at the core of how AdTech tools identified us as consumers across channels. Cookies enabled these ad platforms to identify us without us explicitly telling them who we were. This is critical to the digital advertising system for reasons such as attribution, relevance for users, revenue for advertisers, and monetization for publishers. However, with the loss of third-party cookies, the power these advertising technologies once had is back in your hands. Brands are now the controllers of data. 

So, what should I be doing today? 

Without third-party cookies to rely on, brands must look for new ways to tackle digital advertising. As you begin to rethink your strategy, take these tips into consideration: 

  • Build a durable first-party data core

We don’t mean to sound like a broken record, but we can’t stress this one enough! You can’t rely on third-party data anymore, so putting in place a first-party data strategy is critical to achieving your personalization and privacy goals.

Adopting a first-party data strategy starts with data collection. Once given unambiguous and explicit consent, you can begin collecting every first-party interaction, work in real-time and build personal relationships with your customers. As a result, you earn more accurate and reliable data to drive your marketing efforts and customer-first experiences. 

  • Establish a strong value exchange

Now that you’ve decided to take a first-party driven approach, what value are you going to provide to your visitors in return for their information? Establishing a strong value exchange is key to getting consent and building first-party relationships with your customers.

83% of consumers say they are willing to share their data to enable a personalized experience so long as brands are transparent about how they are going to use it and that customers have control over it. Be transparent with your data usage policy. Your visitors will increase authenticated visits through this value exchange, thus enabling you to identify returning customers and better tailor their experiences. 

The long and the short of it: Be clear on the data you will collect, how you will use it, and the value exchange consumers can expect, given their explicit consent. 

  • Centralize the Architecture… Before any technology platform consumes it

In the past, it was common to see consumer data flowing to numerous technology platforms independently. Naturally, this led to data silos. In today’s privacy environment, the risk of continuing in this manner is too high as data will be lost, duplicated, or inaccurate. It is imperative to centralize customer data, prior to sending it to any of your technology endpoints. 

  • Automate

It’s not enough to govern centrally and switch to a first-party approach – we must automate the entire data supply chain that we are building so that the customer profile is forming and changing in real-time. 

  • Be nimble and embrace the change! 

Just because third-party cookies are going away, doesn’t mean your ability to personalize and deliver great customer experiences is too. Get more from your first-party data! Instead of relying on third-party data you don’t control, leverage your own rich datasets for targeting, suppression, re-engagement, personalization and other tactics! As we mentioned earlier, not only does a first-party approach enable your data to work in real-time, but it is more accurate and complete data because it comes directly from your customers.

At Tealium, we believe unified customer data is your most valuable asset. When you are using your data effectively, it can drive efficiency and optimization across your advertising and marketing as a whole. Who doesn’t want that?!

Looking ahead

In the midst of our masterclass series, Google announced their decision to extend the lifetime of cookies within Chrome to 2023. Chrome accounts for about 50% of browser market share. In other words, about half of your audience is still going to be across browsers that are not enabling cookies. So, while organizations have been granted the gift of time to get their new data strategy in place, the time to act is now. Use this time to test, measure, and truly understand what the new world without third party cookies looks like. 

Looking into the future, investing in a set of core durable IDs (name, email address, phone number, etc.) is imperative to fueling your business as these are the keys big publishers such as Facebook, Google, and Snapchat are requesting to power their models. This means prioritizing strategies that allow you to collect those from your customer on a recurring basis. 

As you build out these strategies, involve your legal teams in these conversations early on. Customer data is a team sport, and it takes multiple people and teams to deliver privacy-conscious customer experiences that drive loyalty. Together, your organization can stay on top of industry changes, avoid potential revenue implications, and build long-term brand trust. 

We know change is never easy, which is why we’re here to guide you every step of the way. You can watch the on-demand sessions here to learn more about how you can better prepare for third-party cookie loss. 

For a deeper dive into our masterclass sessions, check out these blogs:

Ready to start taking action but still not sure exactly where to start? We’ve got you covered. Get a personalized demo to see first-hand how Tealium can help you start delivering a first-party driven approach!

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