Today’s customers demand seamless, fluid brand interactions. Salesforce recently found that marketers’ number one priority is improving the use of tools and technologies to build relationships across the customer lifecycle.

Marketers are increasingly adapting strategies and tactics to redefine customer interactions. 71% agree that meeting customer expectations has become more complex than a year ago. To meet their customers’ higher expectations, brands have continued expanding the data sources they use each year. 

However, tighter privacy regulations require marketers to streamline data sources and pivot to first-party data — information explicitly provided by customers’ on-site behavior. The decline of third-party cookies complicates how marketers can provide the level of personalisation customers demand, but it’s not an impossible task.

To prepare for the cookie-less future, marketers must embrace technology and tools that personalise customer interactions using first-party data.

How the cookie-less future will impact marketers’ relationships with customers

Without third-party cookies, companies won’t have access to personal data formerly collected without user permission. Over 40% of brands predict the upcoming change will decrease their ability to measure campaign efficiency. Additionally, 55% of brands aren’t fully prepared for cookie-less marketing, as 81% of those surveyed still rely on third-party cookies. 

But the death of third-party cookies isn’t necessarily a step backward. While it’s easy for marketers to view it as an inconvenience, the shift away from third-party data presents an opportunity for brands to cultivate more authentic customer relationships. 

85% of consumers want brands to use only first-party data when creating personalised services. If marketers can show customers they’re collecting and using their data ethically, the positive sentiment can go a long way toward creating loyal, repeat customers. 

Creating an effective first-party strategy in 2023

Third-party cookies, used for advertising and re-targeting, are leaving in 2023. Advertising through these cookies are created on one domain but shared via the same tracking code. These third-party domains track user activities and display specific advertisements based on those activities. 

First-party cookies, however, are created and used by a single domain. These cookies can only track customer behavior on the domains where they were created. They’re not shared across domains, and they use personal user data (think email addresses, language settings, and other personal identifiers) to improve the user experience. These cookies can only track customer behavior on the domains where they were created.

Brand websites or domains collect and store first-party cookies from each user’s visit. Marketing teams wanting to understand which specific product categories users visit most often can track customer interactions and behaviors. This information is leveraged to build more personalised customer profiles, fine-tune brand messaging, and generate stronger call-to-action (CTA) results.

As you pivot to first-party data, consider these strategies to ease the transition.

  • Collect data from consumers via market research and satisfaction surveys. Market research surveys help determine features and benefits differentiating you from competitors — and can translate into emotionally compelling consumer language.
  • Offer personalised content and materials in exchange for user data. More than 85% of consumers willingly trade their information to receive customised offers based on their browsing or purchase history. 
  • Use contextual advertising. Displaying ads to audiences based on search history allows marketers to reach customers without relying on personal information.
  • Leverage content marketing, SEO, and relevant leads. The higher and more frequently your website content appears on the first page of search results, the easier it is for your target audience to discover your site. 

Don’t underestimate the impact of first-party data

Focus on enriching your customer data by following these three recommendations:

  1. Create a two-party data-sharing agreement. Data-sharing increases transparency and marketers’ ability to analyse and translate customer data into meaningful reports.
  1. Invest in new technology, like a customer data platform (CDP). A CDP’s data and transactional history provide deeper insights to measure all customer touchpoints and develop a holistic picture of the customer journey. To better manage your first-party data, consider consolidating it within one platform. 
  1. Reduce internal data silos. Working with siloed data can yield poor-quality, fragmented and conflicting information. Isolated data makes it challenging to create a 360-degree customer view that maximises first-party data’s effectiveness.

Transparency is key to building customer trust. Customer-centric experiences begin with responsibly and ethically sourced data. Marketers develop stronger customer relationships and increase retention by phasing out dependence on third-party cookies and exploring the possibilities within first-party data. 

Maximising your first-party data means investing in tools to help effectively track, collect, organise and measure your customer insights. Having a handle on best practices for leveraging this data will bulletproof your CX strategy in a cookie-less future. 

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