No, we aren’t talking about the round, sweet and sometimes crunchy treat! We’re talking about a crucial online marketing tool that allows us to gather a deeper understanding of the audience that interacts with our website and generates content relevant to them.
As we begin to make plans for 2021, it’s important to understand and consider the changes in analytics tools that are broadly available to marketers today. The online data privacy landscape has been changing over the past year with new and possibly challenging implications for brands. With more cyber security and concerns around user privacy, third-party cookies are increasingly being blocked and fading out due to the way it gathers a user’s data. To help alleviate stress around this topic, we’ve outlined a few key points to consider and suggest alternatives to keep in mind as you make your online marketing plans for 2021.
What to Expect in a Cookie-less World
To put it simply, cookies are a website’s memory. It remembers a user’s behavior and actions to improve the user's experience (often called UX) and provides a more personalized experience without having to do repeated actions. For marketers, cookies are tools utilized that track, optimize, personalize, and target specific audiences with products, services, experiences, and more.
First v. Third-Party Cookies
Cookies are classified in two main ways: 1st party and 3rd party. First-party cookies are cookies that gather information within your own website domain. According to ClearCode, first-party cookies allow website owners to collect analytics, remember language settings, and perform other useful functions that help provide a good user experience.
Third-party cookies are ones that gather information outside of your website domain. They are used for cross-site tracking, retargeting and ad-serving. For marketers, these third-party cookies are optimal for gathering large amounts of data on users, gaining a better understanding of how consumers are funneling through to the main website/product/service, capturing their audience’s attention by retargeting them, and acquiring more insight into consumers and ad performance. As mentioned above, third-party cookies are phasing out of the advertising scene due to consumer’s heightened alertness and demand for their privacy online.
Why Does This Matter?
Without cookies, marketers may not be able to fully personalize an online experience for a user. This can make it challenging for advertisers to generate relevant online ads that pinpoint specific desires or interests to an online viewer. Basically, marketers will have to revert back to more basic and generalized content which could mean less engagement from consumers who won’t find it interesting.
Despite cookie-less world concerns, we marketers, still have several tools at our disposal. HubSpot has so kindly laid out a number of options for marketers to consider. Check out their list of 7 marketing alternatives to tracking cookies. From leveraging email marketing data to analyzing social media highlights and social media advertising, there are definitely options we can use to ensure we can still strategically reach the right consumers / audience in 2021.
Bottom-line is - marketers constantly have to adjust and pivot strategy no matter how much we plan. So while we’re still all adjusting to a new kind of normal this year, we’re also having to adjust to new regulations in our field of work.
Are you looking for guidance in a cookie-less world or have questions? We’d love to hear from you! Please contact us and we’d be happy to talk through ideas and solutions for your business.