There’s no question that digital marketing disruption is here. To help you navigate, Material devised a five-part series that tackles the biggest challenges you’ll face during the coming months and years. The fourth installment focused on ways that content marketing can be an effective strategy to engage customers in a post-cookie world. In this final installment, we summarize the best strategies to thrive in a post-cookie world.
Marketers and media buyers have felt understandably anxious since Google’s announcement that it will move away from third-party cookies over the next two years. Google is poised to develop a solution that works in its interests, and will likely limit or restrict the cross-channel visibility critical to multi-touchpoint attribution, holistic campaign measurement, performance advertising, and other key metrics used by advertisers and brands. These policies intend to serve consumers’ best interests, but the restrictions on data availability will no doubt throw into limbo the future of companies who depend on cookies and third-party data.
But brands don’t need to panic about these developments. Material can help them wean themselves off third-party data and thrive in the digital disruption.
Survival Tactic #1: Implement first-party pixels and invest in loyalty programs
In our series’ first blog post, we explored how implementing first-party pixels is one of the most important ways to navigate the cookie apocalypse. Pixeling can provide insights into what your customers really want, help you understand past purchases, and measure cross-device conversions, to name just a few benefits. One invaluable way to widen the first-party data net is by implementing purchase and loyalty programs, a transparent two-way street between consumer and brand.
Survival Tactic #2: Focus on building brand equity
In the second blog post, we discussed how building brand equity is a great tactic to improve sales when cookies are out of the picture. Key steps include measuring current brand awareness, identifying key brand positioning guidelines, and catalyzing action. Material has helped both iconic and niche brands measure asset strengths and update brand messaging to convert those strengths into stronger brand equity.
Survival Tactic #3: Capitalize on contextual advertising
Contextual advertising, as we point out in the series’ third installment, is making a strong comeback in the post-GDPR era. Contextual ads enable brands to offer relevant content without the need for third-party data. This avoids annoying current and potential audiences, some of whom might find it “creepy” to be followed around the internet. Since brands can no longer follow their customers so easily, they have to work harder to show up where their target audience might be.
Survival Tactic #4: Create killer content marketing by powering ad tracking
Great content helps improve conversion rates, boosts your SEO, builds brand awareness and trust — and is cost-effective. We shared tips for harnessing the power of content marketing in the fourth part of this series. Material has more than a few ways to create irresistible content. We use newsworthy polling, PR and omnibus surveys, ad tracking, and influencer analysis to generate captivating topics that will actually resonate (and attract major media coverage). We advise embracing a multi-channel, media-agnostic approach and incorporating dynamic content like motion graphics and GIFs.
The future of ad targeting
Material doesn’t actually have a crystal ball, but we can make a few confident predictions about the new age of ad targeting. Over the next two years, we expect agencies and media planners to rethink their approaches to targeting, placement, and measurement. And the impact may even extend into traditional media. Cookie-less channels such as TV, for example, will see a bump in share of media spend among advertisers that aren’t nimble enough to adapt.
Brands must also remember that they already sit on a trove of owned data. Additional focus and investment will be made in headcount and analytics focused on deriving value from existing first-party data. Companies with large volumes of visitor traffic will have the unique ability to provide in-the-moment advertising opportunities to brands. To provide comparable personalization opportunities, these website owners will focus on better understanding the complete psychographic, demographic, and behavioral profiles of site visitors.
The fallout of “Cookie Apocalyse” will be marked by those who thrive, those who survive, and those who throw in the towel. And even though it is hard to admit, we believe this inevitable transition will ultimately be good for all stakeholders across the industry: marketers, brands and consumers alike.
So don’t let the digital marketing disruption keep you up at night; if you follow our tips you may find that the Cookie Apocalypse won’t be so apocalyptic after all.