Digital Data Movement — Personalization, Privacy, Priority

Digital marketing is evolving daily and we rely on real-time data to help us understand our customers’ needs for relevant information and solutions.

Now more than ever, businesses need to rely on this quality information to make better decisions and hyper-targeted marketing efforts to manage costs and improve overall conversions and ROI. On top of the ever-changing digital landscape, businesses must also be aware and compliant with the data protection regulations, as customer expectations around protecting personal data continues to grow. As the regulations get tighter, companies need to rethink their marketing and advertising approach to successfully reach key customers.

Data management is critical - are you prepared?

Google has announced that they will be ending support by 2022 or sooner for third-party cookies in Chrome to ensure greater consumer privacy. This comes as more consumer privacy regulations are enacted, such as the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA).

What is third-party cookie data, and how is it different from first-party cookie data?

  • First-party cookies are stored by the domain (website) you are visiting directly. They allow website owners to collect analytics data, remember language settings, and perform other useful functions that help provide a good user experience.
  • Third-party cookies are set by a website other than the one you are currently on and are mainly used for tracking and online-advertising. For example, you can have a "Like" button for a social platform on your website which will store a cookie on a visitor's computer, and that cookie can later be accessed by the social platform to identify that visitor and see which websites they visited.

Third-party targeting won’t completely go away but the digital universe will change and we need to be flexible and ready to move with it. There are other opportunities to collect third-party data without the use of cookie tracking but what does cookie-less targeting look like and how do we navigate the upcoming changes?

Cookie-less targeting

Digital advertising is not fully reliant on cookie-based targeting and retargeting tactics to drive outcomes. Non-cookie based media tactics are incredibly effective and will not be affected by the upcoming changes. For example, the following forms of targeting will continue to provide results in the absence of cookies:

  • Contextual targeting is a form of personalized advertising that enables your ad to appear on relevant sites. Advertising on a website that is targeted to be relevant to the page’s content.
  • Site targeting is basically a hyper-targeted use of the content network. You decide what URL's and pages that you want to run on so nothing is left to chance.
  • Location targeting is a setting that lets you choose your target locations to reach out to your customers by their geographic location
  • Predictive audience targeting is machine learning that identifies individuals with the highest likelihood of taking a desired action and most likely to convert based on their previous interactions and behavior
  • Publisher User Sync and API (Application Program Interface) solutions create a user synch (database) that maps an identifier to each observed user as the user interacts with your website or other digital property. This is a reliable and privacy compliant method to match a user for retargeting without using third-party cookies. Browser conversion data via API will provide the data necessary to update models in the absence of third-party cookies.

Third-party data integrates well with other direct forms of data collection (first-party data). Making sure to have healthy first-party data is going to become more of a priority because understanding your customers will be the key to success.

Make first-party data collection a priority

First-party data is collected directly from your audience on your own website or other direct interactions. When it comes to retargeting, first-party data provides the best opportunity to learn about and engage with your audience. It helps in setting quality expectations in behavioral shifts. You can use multiple avenues to collect first-party data, like:

  • Customer relationship management system data (CRM)
    • The percentage of companies targeting based on CRM data such as purchase transactions, postal address, and customer service information (beyond email and phone number) will rise from 56% last year to an estimated 69% next year (Salesforce)
  • Site visitors
  • Behaviors or actions taken across your website, app, and/or product
  • Social media profiles from your followers
  • Subscription-based email lists, product registration data, customer service inquiries; or other data collected from ways people are interacting directly with your company
  • Surveys
  • Customer feedback

Defining and optimizing the information we gather will help build personal customer profiles and allow the opportunity to provide more targeted content. This progressive profiling will also help refine the nurturing funnel, providing more qualified leads to the sales team. Personalizing the message will aid in relevant customer experience and higher conversion rates. Businesses need to take the time and set-up their data management process so they can efficiently target the right audience, at the right time and with the right message.

Creating a better brand experience through data management

Analyzing first and third-party data is challenging with so many different tactical channels used to communicate and engage with your customers. To collect all of your data points, data management platforms (DMPs) centralize your information and help guide your initiatives in developing an informed, strategic approach and create hyper-targeted marketing efforts with personalized messaging.

DMPs can increase the performance of your media campaigns, content optimization and strategic targeting. The platform gathers online and offline data like CRM systems, point of sale, social platforms usage or trends, first and third-party data sources along with web analytics to provide insight on personalized messaging and channel optimizations. You can automate marketing activities for prospecting, lead generation or demand generation, control advertising costs and improve overall conversion/ROI.

Launch smarter advertising and marketing campaigns and eliminate wasted spend. Enhance your planning process by utilizing data platforms to focus your efforts on the right initiatives.

The new digital environment

Digital marketing is about shifting and adapting. We can expect to hear even more news about third-party cookies as we move forward with personalization and privacy requirements. Prioritizing and building healthy first-party data and integrating it with all of your channel data through data management platforms is key. It will allow for real-time review, strategic decisions and messaging development, as well as provide your business the flexibility to pivot and adapt to the current and ever-changing market conditions.

Data sources: Ad Age, Ad Exchanger, AdTheorent, Digiday, DMS, Hubspot and MarTech.

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