A Cookie-Less Future: How To Use First-Party Data In Your Next Campaign

Illustrator: Adan Augusto
First-Party Data Marketing

Targeted advertising has become a vital factor of a successful marketing campaign in the last decade. With its capability to improve both consumer engagement and retention, personalization has been celebrated by 99% of smart marketers, who claim that it is the key to enhancing B2C relationships. 

The question is, could a cookie-less future send personalization down the drain, or teach modern-day marketers to gather customer insights using a number of new strategies? As we step into a post-pandemic online playing field, it’s no secret that consumers have more control over their data.

On the back of Google’s call to remove cross-site cookies from their platform by 2023, marketers will need to look to their first-party data for answers to create a campaign that will still compete with a dog-eat-dog industry.

Read on as we delve into the future of campaign personalization and how marketers can use first-party data to their advantage in 2022.

Are We Less Likely To Share Our Data In 2022?

According to a recent survey by Vision Critical, the average online consumer is 80% likely to share their personal information with a brand for the purposes of personalized service. However, less than a fifth of all respondents revealed that they would be comfortable sharing the same data with a third party post-pandemic. 

The question is, have we become more protective over our data-sharing activities? 

With over 4.62 billion consumers on social media in 2022, more than half of the globe’s population has at least one form of personal profile on the internet. However, while we may be shifting towards an online reality, today's online consumers have made it clear that they are in control of what they share and, more importantly, who can see it. 

As digital services continue to evolve, so does the average consumer. Today, active online consumers can choose to decline third-party cookie tracking, click private on their social pages and even search the web incognito. It’s no secret that active audience members are becoming smarter with their data sharing, especially in the wake of an increase in cyber security breaches. 

In fact, 78% of respondents in a recent Norton poll revealed that they were concerned about an invasion of data privacy, and that number has only increased since.

Post-Covid Cybersecurity Threats 

One factor influencing the privatization of personal data is a spike in cybersecurity threats post-pandemic. On the back of Covid-19’s digital shift, accelerating the move online, e-commerce retailers have boomed, remote corporate sectors have thrived, and the potential of an online reality has become closer than ever before.

Yet, with an increase in online activity comes an increase in cyber-based threats such as ransomware attacks. In fact, cybercrime has increased by 600% since 2020 alone, as data breaches have become all the more common.

top cybersecurity concerns
Source: Norton

In response, a number of online consumers have begun to opt-out of third-party data collection after over half of all adults revealed they were worried about being a victim of cybercrime. With 58% of all breaches involving personal data hacking, the future may look bleak for marketers relying on third-party data sources for consumer insights.

Google’s Decision To Remove Third-Party Cookies 

In 2021, Google made the announcement that they were removing third-party cookies from their platforms by 2023 in a bid to improve consumer privacy.

Instead, using their own targeting technology, developed in Google’s Privacy sandbox, Google plans to release FLoCs (Federated Learning of Cohorts), a machine learning-based system that targets large groups of consumers based on their online behaviors and collective interests.

So what does this cookieless future mean for marketers? 

Advertisers that use third-party cookies to track their consumer’s search-based behavior will need to find new ways to insert ad placements, boost conversions and manage retargeting strategies. 

A First-Party Future

Defined by CookiePro, “first-party cookies are directly stored by the website (or domain) you visit. These cookies allow website owners to collect analytics data, remember language settings, and perform other useful functions that provide a good user experience. The domain host can see the data that the cookie retrieves.”

1st 2nd 3rd party data
Source: Neil Patel

Unlike their third-party counterparts, first-party cookies are not used to track a consumer’s search history across a number of pages but are instead focused on the singular site they are interacting with. For example, when a user signs in to an e-commerce-based retailer, such as Amazon, only Amazon will be able to gather insights into their page-based engagement and site interactions, using that data solely to improve and personalize the shopping experience on their site.

In a cookie-less world, first-party data is an advertiser’s saving grace. Offering the best ROI of any customer insight strategy, first-party data enables a marketer to gauge more information on consumer intent during the buying journey and highlight what areas of the site they are most engaged with. 

Using first-party data collection tools, marketers and advertisers can build personalized strategies that tailor both the products and services on the site for maxim conversion potential.

How To Use First-Party Data To Create A Successful Campaign

There are a number of ways smart marketers can use first-party data to their advantage when planning a campaign. From improving personalization to mapping the buyer journey, gaining a strong understanding of consumer behavior is the key to a successful return on investment.

Here are some of the key uses of first-party data that are quick and easy to slot into your next strategic plan.

Creating A Tailored Customer Experience 

Using first-party data, marketers can analyze web traffic patterns, user behavior, and site-based clicks. Not only can engagement-driven data improve demographic insight, but marketers that divide their users into target groups can quickly diversify their campaigns to speak to a number of audience groups using personalized messaging strategies.

From improving copywriting skills to redesigning the user experience, there are a number of ways marketers can personalize a campaign.

Personalizing a campaign using insights from first-party data about a user’s specific interests and product attentiveness greatly improves target precision. For example, if first-party data suggests that a certain consumer group is engaging specifically with one product, why not target them with similar alternatives from the same range in order to maximize conversion potential?

Mapping The Buyer Journey

Marketers can also use first-party data insights to track and map the consumer journey. Using the data recorded from site clicks and navigation engagement, analysts can quickly gain insight into the different steps a user takes on their journey from the landing page to the checkout. 

In response, a brand can highlight which pages are performing well, which consumer flows are most popular, and what areas of the navigation flow need to be fixed in order to improve the path to the checkout. 

Staying Ahead Of Market Trends

Last but certainly not least. In a fast-moving market, marketers need to be one step ahead of their competitors. Therefore, gaining as much insight into demographic behaviors as possible is significantly important if a brand wants to predict the latest market trend.

The key here is to tap into social listening. By using both consumer data to track site engagement and social listening strategies to identify the newest trends cropping up within the industry, marketers with a strong first-party data strategy are more likely to hop on a trend before the hype, and make the best of it!