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First Party Data in a Post Cookie World

6 minute read

It's official—the cookie is crumbling. Because of consumers' growing demand for privacy, Safari and Firefox have already disabled third-party cookies. And Google Chrome, which represents close to half of the US browser market share, plans to stop using them by the end of 2024.

Epsilon research estimates that about 80% of advertisers depend on third-party cookies, so it's time to find a new way to reach customers and prospects online. One way to do this effectively is through first party data.

Key takeaways:

  • Third-party cookie deprecation means marketers must re-focus their targeting and remarketing tactics.
  • An alternative is Google Topics, but there's still limitations to contend with
  • First party data is valuable as it still touches points tailored to an individual's behaviors

The new cookie landscape

With third-party cookie deprecation looming, first party data will be increasingly important for targeted marketing strategies and campaign measurement. The widespread targeting and retargeting tactics that you may have relied on in the past will no longer be possible. As a result, expect limitations with behavioral and browsing data, making it difficult to personalize ads.

In addition, basic capabilities like A/B testing and frequency capping will be a challenge. Expect analytics and attribution to be much less effective. By leaning into first party data marketing, you'll be able to minimize the impact of a world without third-party cookies.

What marketers will no longer be able to do

Marketers have been relying on third-party cookies for years. Now that they're going away, remarketing across domains and apps will no longer be possible. For example, the products you view on a retail website will no longer follow you to your Instagram feed based on your browsing behavior. As a result, Google announced Topics, a privacy-friendly replacement.

With Topics, as someone browses the internet, Chrome records the categories of websites they visit (like News or Finance). Each week, Chrome determines the five categories the user is most interested in and then randomly adds a sixth to boost user privacy. Chrome then stores these six interests for three weeks. 

Unfortunately, this option only allows you to target consumers based on broad website categories rather than specific content or user actions. So, given those limitations, it remains to be seen exactly how well the industry will receive Topics.

Increased importance of first party data

First party data is information that's collected from customers through direct interactions with them. It includes demographics, purchase history, website activity, mobile app data, and specific behaviors like clicking on an email. A first party data strategy is even more valuable in a world without third-party cookies because it represents your most engaged customer group.

A first party data approach also enables highly granular segmentation to serve your audience with personalized content based on their behavior. In addition, by using a test and learn approach and tying engagement metrics to first party cookies, you can increase the effectiveness of your campaigns over time. 

Ultimately, this translates into increased revenue and cost savings. In fact, one BCG study shows that digital marketers who can deliver relevant experiences at multiple points across the customer journey achieve revenue increases of as much as 20% and cost savings of up to 30%.

First party data to lean into

You can leverage first party data in multiple ways. For example, email marketing continues to be one of the most effective marketing strategies—delivering an ROI of $44 to every $1 spent. Similarly, text messaging is an excellent way to leverage first- party data. As with email, you can run different testing campaigns and optimize accordingly.

Another example is leveraging a customer data platform or CDP. This platform collects, stores, and amalgamates real-time customer data. With this tool, you can gain valuable insights into the consumer journey and identify which factors convert them into customers.

Finally, with first party data, you can make website improvements to provide a personalized experience and create new retargeting strategies based on improved customer knowledge. Whether they're new or returning customers, first-party data marketing gives you the ability to create tailored messaging based on shopping or browsing behavior and engagement with campaigns.

How Cardlytics can help

Gain a competitive advantage with real purchase data - one of the most accurate indicators of shopping behavior. This data can help you understand purchase intent, inform advertising spend and strengthen the customer experience.

Reach out to us today to learn more about how we can help you transform your marketing initiatives.

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