If you work in marketing, or anywhere close to marketing, then you likely already know that Google announced in 2021 that it would be phasing out the use of third-party cookies to mitigate user concerns regarding their privacy when they’re browsing online. This change was set to begin this year but has been postponed until sometime in 2023. That gives B2B marketers a little more time to determine how they will adapt to Google’s decision, and many are worried about how to do so.
In a recent study from Stirista (conducted by Thrive Analytics), digital marketers and advertising executives from B2B firms were asked how concerned they are about the upcoming move toward a more cookie-less future. More than 40% said they were very (10%) or somewhat (32%) concerned that the change would negatively affect their data onboarding requirements and digital audience targeting.
First-party cookies, those that are placed on websites based on user opt-in to provide users with an improved user experience by remembering users’ preferences, are not yet affected by the new data privacy landscape. For now, it is only third-party cookies, those that are placed on sites by third parties, typically ad networks, to track users’ behavior across the web, based on advertising.
Some websites seek user consent even for third-party cookies, but even that doesn’t ensure that users will know how, where, and by whom their data will be used when they opt in.
Marketers who use programs powered by third-party data will have a much bigger challenge adapting to Google’s changes. However, those B2B marketers with marketing plans that don’t rely heavily on that type of data shouldn’t panic.
Whatever strategies you’ve employed for B2B marketing, some approaches will help you continue to thrive, even in a more cookie-less environment.
You can still gather user information with first-party cookies on your own site. If you weren’t relying on this approach seriously before, now is the time to change your focus to what you can glean from the data that you collect from visitors browsing your website.
Additionally, you can use zero-party data. This is the information that customers intentionally share with your website. It may include their personal details, interests, preferences, purchasing intentions, and more. Essentially, it’s data that you wouldn’t know unless users chose to share it with you. Of course, the more information users provide, the more personalized you can make their experiences with your brand.
With first- and zero-party approaches, which include any forms of marketing that are based on voluntary, consensual customer data, you can increase campaign and content relevance, create more meaningful customer engagement, reduce opt-out, and increase revenue.
Your content is a great opportunity to create strong, engaging experiences for your site visitors. Channels such as email, blog posts, social media posts, and events allow you to inform, educate, and enable your customers to make more sound decisions, and it helps create deeper brand preferences even if salespeople aren’t yet involved.
Whatever type of business, if customers see consistently high-quality content, it’s more likely that they will offer more information about themselves and allow the brand to send them additional material.
Contextual advertising is a form of targeted advertising that uses the keywords and content on the webpage to determine ad placement instead of tracking user behavior. For example, if a visitor is on a page with an article about makeup tips, you could dynamically place an ad for cosmetics or hair products. The ads are displayed based on where the user is currently, rather than focusing on where they have been previously.
Using contextual advertising allows you to personalize ads without infringing on user privacy.
The end of third-party cookies may induce some fear and concern among marketers, but it also offers advantages for brands that earnestly want to build genuine, trustworthy relationships with their audiences. Improving user experiences based on website visitors’ actual preferences can only set brands up for success.
That isn’t to say that adapting to the change won’t be challenging. Marketers must find the right balance of audience quality, reach, relevance, engagement, privacy, and compliance. To put it simply, they have to shift from the idea that more data is better to the belief that what works is having the right data about the right audience.
Getting there means worrying less about how a cookie-less future looks, and instead pouring their time and effort into building a B2B marketing strategy that prioritizes users, their preferences, and privacy.
Reliable Acorn will help you create a custom digital marketing strategy that does just that.Ready to Talk?