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Cookieless Marketing: an Opportunity for Better Engagement

At this point, everyone’s heard about the future, and that future is cookieless. Consumers might see this as a refreshing change with companies not being able to track your every move across the Internet. Marketers might be panicking because they might lose the data that allows them to do their job. But with every disruption comes opportunity. Instead of the apocalypse, embracing a cookieless future can build more trust and encourage engagement across customers.

What’s Exactly Happening

To understand exactly what a “cookieless” future is, you need to understand the types of cookies and what is happening. Not all cookies are the same. When it comes to a cookieless future, what we’re really talking about is the role of first- and third-party cookies. First-party cookies are the data that is collected when you go to a website. This allows you to stay signed into an account or see your shopping cart when you return to the site. These are used to provide a good on-site experience, and once you leave the site, those first-party cookies are no longer tracking your data.

Third-party cookies, on the other hand, still collect your data but are not hosted on a website’s server. They are used on any site that loads the third party’s code. When you leave the website, that website’s cookies are no longer tracking you, but the third-party cookies stay with you and follow you around. They know where you are and can retarget ads to you. And these are the cookies that consumers find so irritating.

On their face, third-party cookies aren’t all bad. They can provide convenient retargeting of messages. But bad actors and intrusive advertising have all but ruined third-party cookie tracking. It is also lazy. Companies can simply follow you around from website to website and bombard you with ads whether you like it or not. It creates an annoying, sometimes creepy, experience with little value to the consumer.

Connecting With Customers

For marketers, it’s time to reevaluate if targeting down to the individual is worth the squeeze. Following someone around and waving an ad at them every 5 seconds will get annoying pretty quickly and can turn many existing and potential customers off. And research has shown that this type of hyper-marketing isn’t really that effective after all.

So what are the alternatives?

  • Account-based marketing. This starts by finding the specific audience you want to target and then developing and creating messaging that relates with this audience. Marketing and sales share their data, and you create content and messaging that resonates with the audience. No gimmicks, just good content.
  • Contextual marketing. Build your website for your customers, not for your product or service. You can use first-party cookies to create tailored experiences for your customer. Buying a bike helmet on a sporting goods site? Your next visit can highlight related products, articles about bicycle safety, and a way to connect to other users. This creates a personal experience.
  • Build that tech stack. Make sure you have a robust content management system. And while you’re at it, make sure it integrates into your customer relationship management platform. Make sure it is all updated with the latest technology and information. You’ll also need to invest in UX and UI to make sure customers are receiving the best experience.
  • Don’t Wait to Make Connections

    Major tech companies have already started to make the move to block third-party cookies or are on the path to. For companies that make their living on third-party tracking and hyper-targeted marketing, this will hurt, and they might see an erosion of their services. But for companies that want to create a better customer experience, this provides the opportunity to work with a partner that can create those connections that customers will appreciate and drive them to action.