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Omnichannel Marketing: Third-Party Cookies vs First-Party Data

6 minute read

An omnichannel marketing strategy is a gold standard for effective brand messaging. By leveraging consumer data gleaned from third-party cookies, advertisers can get the right message to the right customer at the right time, regardless of channel or device. It's no wonder brands with robust omnichannel strategies increase average order value by 13% and purchase frequency by 250%. 

The coming cookieless future could threaten that success. Without third-party cookies, advertisers will struggle to track customers across channels and devices, analyze their journeys, and deliver personalized content and offers. 

It's easy to assume that cookie deprecation means the death of omnichannel marketing, but that's definitely not the case. If you have the right data, omnichannel marketing still holds the key to success.

Key takeaways:

  • Consistency in branding and messaging across every channel is among the key elements an omnichannel marketing strategy prioritizes. 
  • We can expect the deprecation of third party cookies from Google Chrome in 2024.
  • First-party data in omnichannel marketing takes personalization to the next level, increasing a customer's lifetime value.

What is Omnichannel Marketing?

Omnichannel marketing seamlessly blends messaging and branding as customers move through online and offline touchpoints along the path to purchase. It puts consumers in the driver's seat, allowing them to choose how, when, and where to engage with your brand. 

An omnichannel marketing strategy prioritizes the customer experience through the effective use of a few key elements:

  • Consistency in branding and messaging across every channel
  • Personalized messaging and offers relevant to consumers interests and behaviors
  • Content shaped by past interactions and the stage of the customer journey

A well-planned omnichannel strategy lets you target customers at the right time with on-brand offers that increase your chance of a conversion.

Omnichannel versus multichannel: What's the difference?

Omnichannel and multichannel share similarities, but the differences are significant. Multichannel marketing gives consumers multiple options to engage with your brand, but the channels aren't seamlessly connected. The experience is optimized for each separate channel. 

On the other hand, omnichannel marketing recognizes that the customer journey spans multiple channels and seeks to create a consistent, personalized experience as the customer moves between them.

The Coming “Cookie-geddon”

Although Google's cookie deprecation timeline has changed a bit since they first announced the phaseout in 2020, the final demise of the third-party cookie is slated for 2024. The news didn't come as a surprise to anyone paying attention to the growing concerns of privacy advocates. 

Third-party cookies collect an enormous amount of personal data, usually without the individual's explicit consent. Data breaches and privacy violations caught the attention of legislators around the globe, resulting in the EU's GDPR and "cookie law." In the US, individual states passed their own versions of the cookie law in an attempt to promote transparency in data collection practices. 

A few tech CEOs also took a stand for privacy. Apple and Mozilla were among the first to give users the ability to block third-party tracking as early as 2012, with both companies disabling third-party cookies entirely by 2020. Google, the browser behemoth representing over 60% of Internet traffic, was the only holdout. But by 2020, it too announced it would end third-party cookies, albeit on its own, slightly elongated timeline. 

Now “Cookie-geddon” is almost upon us, and marketers are scrambling for solutions to replace the data cookies provided.

What Does This Mean for Brands?

Marketers have become addicted to the easy flow of third-party cookie data driving programmatic and digital advertising. It enabled personalization, targeting, and attribution to justify spend. But third-party cookies have their share of drawbacks:

  • There's no transparency. The slightly underhanded way data is collected destroys the sense of trust between consumers and brands. Omnichannel marketing is a two-way street; consumers are willing to trust brands with their data in exchange for a more personalized experience as long as they feel confident their data is secure and only shared with consent.
  • They're not people-based. Cookies are connected to devices, not people, so there's a lot of waste and duplicate impressions.
  • They're not persistent. Cookies don't last forever, and the user can always delete them.

Third-party data made it easy for brands to acquire new customers, lose them to churn, and reacquire them with aggressive retargeting. What it didn't do is help them build the trust and loyalty that drives long-term profits. Customer retention has always been key to profitability; invesp, a conversion rate optimization consultancy, showed that increasing retention by just 5% led to a 25% increase in profits.

On the other hand, first-party data from past brand interactions and logged-in states give marketers the information they need to genuinely understand their customers and create highly relevant experiences throughout the customer lifecycle. 

Leveraging first-party data in omnichannel marketing levels up the personalization and relevancy of the content you serve your customers. Where retention spreads customer lifetime value over a longer timeframe, personalization increases the absolute lifetime value of the customer. Boston Consulting Group found that marketers who could deliver relevant experiences at multiple touchpoints decreased costs by 30% and increased revenue by 20%.

The Cardlytics Advantage

Cardlytics is uniquely positioned to help brands deliver relevant and personalized experiences via cash back offers served through the consumers trusted digital banking channels. Using first-party data obtained from one in two card swipes in the US, we can provide a whole-wallet view with insights into the cross-channel purchase behavior and preferences of your customers. 

Get in touch today to find out how Cardlytics can help you reach your customers with personalized offers in a brand-safe channel to help drive customer loyalty, retention, and revenue.

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