Last year, Apple shook up the world of digital marketing by restricting access to user data in its iOS operating system. Google is now following suit, with plans to implement privacy-sensitive advertising tools while phasing out third-party cookies. These plans are complex and affect business in various ways, but to marketers, it means one key thing — less access to relevant data.
For years, marketers have strategically used cookies to track website visitors, collect data to create targeted ads, and improve the customer experience. So, what's next? What will the impact be on marketers when phasing out third-party cookies? And more importantly, what steps can you take to ensure ongoing success? This guide tells all.
Google is phasing out third-party cookies
In January 2021, Google announced its plans to phase out third-party cookies, leaving those in marketing wondering how they would effectively reach consumers via personalized ads. Chrome currently has around 65.8% share of the market. So, this change will affect millions of businesses and users alike.
These plans were initially supposed to take effect in late 2022. However, it has since delayed its plans to the second half of 2024. This delay will help ensure developers, advertisers, and publishers have enough time to test and adopt alternative options.
The reasons for this phase-out are based on the gray areas surrounding user privacy, initiating panic among digital marketers. Marketers fear they will no longer be able to track the right data — but this isn't the case. The death of third-party cookies doesn't strip marketers of options. Instead, this phase-out means strategies must focus more on customer-provided data.
The critical shift toward relationship building
Phasing out third-party cookies means marketers must shift their data collection approach. Use these three tips to compile data while improving consumer relations.
1. Get info and data upfront
The time to start gathering data is before a user becomes a customer. This shift will force marketers to think more about the importance of relationship-building, as is the case within the user engagement phase. The goal is to nurture these relationships instead of overloading the user with too many touchpoints or emails.
How to do this: Gather more first-party data from surveys, newsletters, email sign-ups forms, preference centers, community polls, and direct mail. You can also invest more in market research and test your findings regularly with A/B testing.
2. Develop an omnichannel approach
Although there is no single black-and-white solution, the key is to develop an omnichannel approach. Implementing an omnichannel strategy means if you lose someone in one channel, you can use another channel to reach them. For example, if a customer unsubscribes from your email list, you can leverage the power of direct mail marketing.
How to do this: Prioritize channels that make the most sense for your brand, selecting those that yield the most customer value. Start with the basics, such as your website and social media channels, adding new channels to achieve higher conversion rates over time. For example, direct mail has a 40% average conversion rate and a 130% higher response rate than email.
3. Allow users to select how you speak to them
As your strategy evolves, the possibility of allowing users to select preferences on how they want you to communicate with them could unfold, resulting in a supercharged ROI. This approach will also ensure all your mediums work in unison so that your brand messaging remains consistent across the board.
How to do this: Focus on audience preferences based on social media activity, opt-ins, sign-up forms, preference centers, etc. Use this data to customize your outreach.
It's a fine line between reaching consumers too frequently and using the same content across all mediums. The less personal and authentic you are, the less likely consumers will trust you, which is why the "death of third-party cookies" isn't the end-all. Instead of viewing this shift as detrimental, see it as an opportunity. You will now need to reach consumers in new ways to drive more meaningful and valuable interactions.
Learn more: Creating a Customer-Focused Loyalty Strategy Based On Data
Where does direct mail marketing fit in?
While eliminating third-party cookies will surely shake things up, the fundamental use of marketing data hasn't changed. You must still reach out to customers with relevant offers via their preferred channels. As marketers shift toward first-party data and compiled data, specific channels will shine — like direct mail. Marketers can onboard direct mail data for digital activation and vice versa.
For example, you can use direct mail marketing to learn more about your audience through your next campaign. If you mail out a coupon code, you can gather data based on those who use it to make a purchase. You can then use similar tactics in the future.
Regardless of the type of direct mail marketing campaign you create, you can experiment with various tracking methods. From personalized URLs to QR codes, you can collect invaluable data. You can then use digital and automation tools to analyze the best campaigns. The lessons you learn will improve your direct mail efforts while inspiring and optimizing digital strategies. Allow each independent channel to collaborate and influence one another so that none of your marketing data is siloed.
Read more: How to Use Your Marketing Data to Influence Your Next Direct Mail Campaign
Add Lob's automated direct mail platform into your recipe for success
Lob is a customer data platform that launches personalized direct mail at scale. It is the only automation platform for direct mail, offering a complete solution for all your needs. Want to learn more? Schedule a demo today!