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The end of third-party cookies, a blessing for brands

The end of third-party cookies, a blessing for brands

Several IT players, including Apple and Google, have announced the end of third-party cookies. Is this programmed end of third-party cookies synonymous with an ‘apocalypse’? Or is it a blessing?

Author : Olivier Kuziner, Partner and General Manager APAC at Ekimetrics

Category : Thought Leadership

Several IT players, including Apple and Google, have announced the end of third-party cookies. It was Apple who first declared that it would no longer share personal data stored by iPhones. Google made a similar announcement but then changed its mind before setting up a deadline of 2024. Other B2C IT players are expected to follow suit and the trend will have a significant impact on the way marketing campaigns are conducted on Internet, fixed or mobile.

Over the past few years, an ecosystem of digital agencies, data analytics companies and other players has emerged. It has allowed to make connections between all the cookies to better understand browsing and purchasing behaviors, therefore allowing for more accurate consumer targeting. To such an extent that one could claim that Google or Apple knew more about their customers than the customers themselves. Is this programmed end of third-party cookies synonymous with an ‘apocalypse’? Or is it a blessing?

Towards multiple agreements to better target marketing campaigns

The game has radically changed, and this impacts brand marketing. Brands have to create new e-commerce platforms, which they can manage themselves without involving GAFAM companies. This can already be seen when browsing a site where you have buttons to accept or decline the use of cookies. At the same time, information sharing agreements, out of the sight of GAFAM, are possible. The global agreement announced by JC Decaux and Pernod Ricard on their “Data Portal”, which allows them to improve their commercial strategy, without “exchanging data between the two companies”, is an example.

Such bilateral agreements should be developed. It is conceivable for a brand that knows the buying behaviors of its own customers through its e-commerce site to understand the uses, tastes and preferences of people who are not yet customers. Blogs or specialized information sites are potential candidates for these agreements in various industries such as cosmetics and fashion, cookware and even car repair.

This implies a technological evolution to facilitate the re-internalization of data analysis. By taking back control of their digital footprint, brands (and their partners) will benefit from the potential value of their data. Hence the implementation of artificial intelligence or fine data analysis platforms.

The starting point is CRM (Customer Relationship Management) data, i.e. transactional data. It is completed by browsing data, then by comments from a blog chat or social media. Thanks to data, you can get a vision of the demand for a product, or even create this demand through an ad hoc marketing action. Let’s specify that the analysis of marketing performance will have to change as well. Without third-party cookies, the measurement of attribution for each consumer will disappear. On the other hand, the Marketing Mix Modeling (MMM) measurement will be of great interest. It allows a vision of the return on investment of a marketing campaign, including the advertising campaign, but also the promotional campaigns, the pricing policy and the actions of competitors.

Five steps to better navigate the end of third-party cookies

Here are five critical steps to consider when dealing with the end of third-party cookies:

  • Assess your data management capabilities. Conduct an audit. Are you able to access the right level of detail from your data? At the right time? What processes need to be changed?
  • Define your governance. Your data management system must allow you to support your decision making at key moments: budget arbitration, optimization of your marketing campaigns, etc. What is the governance in place to get access to your data (functional teams, IT teams, third-party agencies)?
  • Develop your agility. How agile are you to answer new questions about digital performance or the analysis of your communication channels? Develop your ability to explore more complex interactions in levers and campaigns.
  • Technology is an enabler. Don’t overcomplicate the issue. The technology approach should be incremental, demonstrating value in stages (and not at the end), accepting that exhaustiveness and granularity may not be achieved on day one.

Finally, the planned obsolescence of third-party cookies is not the beginning of an ‘apocalypse’ for marketing and communication players but a way to find new tools and strategies. As our global economy seems to be heading towards recession, innovation remains the best way to come out better armed to sell products and services.

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