Google recently confirmed that it will phase out third-party cookies obsolete on Chrome as part of Privacy Sandbox, its open source initiative, which was announced last August. The company added in a blog post that in February, Chrome will limit insecure cross-site tracking, as well as develop techniques to detect and mitigate covert tracking and workarounds.
The move might have placed adtech firms on alert, especially those that trade on audience data or retargeting companies whose business is fully reliant on cookies. That said, brands that rely on remarketing strategies for conversions will also be impacted, Income's CMO Marcus Chew told Marketing, with the impact being felt most by brands that do not have first-party data. He added that Google's announcement will also affect brands and media providers that are offering third-party audiences to their customers, and on the accuracy of programmatic buys.
The phasing out of third-party web cookies surfaces the importance and need for marketers to build their own reservoir of solid, first-party data to accurately identify who their customers are.
"In most campaigns, incorporating first-party data with targeting strategies such as contextual and content marketing will deliver similar results as relying on third-party data," he explained. When asked how adtech companies will play a role in its marketing strategy moving forward, Chew said Income has been leveraging adtech to build up an internal engine that collects and reconciles the data it has of its consumers both online and offline.
“Activating campaigns based on this internal customer database will be a crucial element for our digital marketing strategy. We foresee new adtech tools will be developed to support this increase reliance on internal databases instead of third-party web cookies," he said.
Agreeing with Chew on building up first-party data is Tabah Yudananto, SVP growth marketing at Indonesian eCommerce company Blibli.com, who added that adtech companies should strengthen their partnership with Google in order to offer better service quality. This can be done by having "intensive talks" with Google before it deactivates third-party cookies. On the other hand, Google will also need to take steps to ensure that partnerships with adtech companies are fair and beneficial for all stakeholders, including brands that use Google to market their products and services.
All is not lost for marketers
With the decline in popularity of third-party cookies, it is possible that the industry would see a rise in content marketing strategies that draw visitors to web or mobile sites to obtain their cookies, Citra Wikastri, head of digital marketing at Indonesia's PermataBank said. Nonetheless, Wikastri said the recent change would not have much of an impact for PermataBank as it does not work with adtech companies. "We currently don’t use adtech companies because we aim to capture more quality leads over quantity," she added.
Separately in a previous opinion piece to Marketing, Roy Lan, regional marketing communications manager, ASICS Asia said brands can look to acquire first-party data via customer relationship management systems, transactional systems, subscriptions and newsletter sign-ups, where “identity-based” tracking can be employed. For example, when users are required to create an account on a brand site, surfing habits can be tracked and personalised ads can be served up accordingly.
He also cited on-site personalisation as another effective use of first-party data. Instead of offering a single, broad experience, website personalisation allows companies to present visitors with unique experiences tailored to their needs and desires. For companies with eCommerce platforms, a short survey can be included on the website to allow consumers to indicate their personal shopping affinities or interests, and serve them with tailored messaging.
"With first-party data, your targeting strategy can also be much more granular. A dynamic creative served as an ad can contain a message based on a range of different factors, including previous user behaviour (such as an offline transaction), location, and even intent, not just browser history," he explained.