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Why You Need a Customer Data Platform Before Google Kills Off Third-Party Cookies

Mar 24, 2021 | Blog posts & News

3rd party cookies

By Helle Vad Jespersen

In 2020, Google decided to phase out third-party Cookies, and only a week ago they added a final nail to the coffin by announcing that nothing – on their end – will replace tracking individuals across the web.

As a private user, honestly, this is great news, and an inevitable step in the privacy-first movement that Apple’s ITP-protocol and Firefox’s Cookie-blocker initially launched to welcome a more privacy preserving future. As an advertiser, marketer or someone depending on third-party cookies, on the other hand, this is problematic – but also an opportunity to revisit (and rethink) your methods for collecting, storing and activating customer data.

In this blogpost we want to give you a quick overview of Google’s changes, and draw your attention to how a Customer Data Platform can help you reach customers now and in the future.

It is the beginning of something new

When Google decided to phase out third-party cookies all together, they addressed the growing concerns people have about their privacy and how their personal identity is being used online. Let us face it, people have become used to being followed around on the web. As private users, we have developed banner blindness and most of us feel reluctant to share data, as we have long lost track of where this is used.

This chase not only eradicates our trust to brands in general but, according to Pew Research Center, also growingly outweighs the benefits of having an online presence, for private users. In other words, something had to be done to secure user’s experience. Google did what other tech-giants had done long before – activated a privacy-friendly future.

To be clear, the end of third-party cookies is not the end of tracking (or advertising, for that matter) but it is the end of the sketchy tracking methods that has been roaming the infinite halls of the internet for decades.

Because, third-party cookies are created and controlled by “outsiders”, meaning domains other than the one a user is currently visiting, removing these means that companies cannot track behavior outside their own website or platform.

Luckily, there are other options for recognizing customers and their behavior. Instead, companies need to rely on data they have collected from users who have visited a site or platform owned by them and where consent was given. Like their website, through cookies or via their app, CRM, in-store purchases, social media etc.

Check out how SPORT 24 used customer data in paid media channels

First-party cookies is the only way to reach customers

This means that in order to communicate or market your products to customers or visitors, these must have interacted with your business in some way. By using firsthand data customers have agreed to give you, you benefit from other – and more sustainable benefits – like building trusts with customers who have shown an interest to your brand and products, and possibly remaining more relevant. All because your actions rely on customers’ own touchpoints.

In many ways, this is probably what you are already doing – using data from your website to target visitors and customers. The difference is, however, that soon first party-data becomes the ONLY way to advertise your products. This obviously requires you to have a platform for storing customer data in order to market your products or services from these.
…Entering a Customer Data Platform.

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Why you need a Customer Data Platform

Investing in a Customer Data Platform is an investment in how you reach your customers in the future. With third-party cookies soon to be gone, you must find a way to store your customer data in order to target users. Because a Customer Data Platform stores data from lots of different channels and platforms, it remains the best way to know your customer – and provide customer experiences through relevant content.

Clicks in e-mails, clicks on site, interaction with customer support, purchase in shops, profile data and other types of information from different systems are merged into the platform to understand behavior and personalize experiences. This way, you target the right customers with the right message and keep your momentum in each of your customer’s buying journey.

Admittedly, it is easy to consider these changes as a loss – a loss of how you presently rely on individual users’ data to market your products. Soon, however, we hope you realize the opportunities in applying real customer insights to understand your customers. With a Customer Data Platform, you get to personalize products, and (here is the kicker) still get the performance benefits of digital advertising. It is relevant advertisement on the user’s own terms and conditions.

What if I don´t do anything?

Investing in a Customer Data Platform is an investment in how you reach your customers in the future. With third-party cookies soon to be gone, you must find a way to store your customer data in order to target users. Because a Customer Data Platform stores data from lots of different channels and platforms, it remains the best way to know your customer – and provide customer experiences through relevant content.

Source: Digiday Germany 2020

How does a Customer Data Platform work?  

The advantage of a Customer Data Platform is that it connects all customer touchpoints on a persistent first party identifier that can be activated across channels. This makes you independent of the forthcoming third-party changes and allows you to connect customers journeys across your website, social media, CRM, email systems, etc., and create deeper and more meaningful customer interactions.

Do you want to learn more?

Download our buyers guide to learn the pros and cons of a Customer Data Platform.

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