What Is Cookieless Marketing & Why Is It Important

With recent shifts in privacy regulations, numerous platforms are phasing out third-party cookies. Consequently, businesses must explore alternative methods to reach their target audiences, especially after having heavily depended on these cookies for so long.

What implications does this have for marketing?

How should businesses navigate this evolving terrain? Dive deeper to discover.

What Does Cookieless Marketing Mean? 

For years, marketers and advertising platforms thrived on the rich data provided by third-party cookies, enabling precise audience targeting.

However, this data abundance brought along the concern of infringing upon user privacy.

Growing public unease peaked when Apple unveiled its approach to third-party cookies with the significant iOS 17 update. This move wreaked havoc on platforms like Facebook, which grappled with tracking and targeting challenges and has been on a recovery path since.

While innovative tools continue to emerge, ensuring dependable tracking, it feels like an uphill task with stricter privacy and data regulations looming large.

Enter cookieless marketing — a strategy that doesn’t hinge on cookies or similar tracking techniques.

There’s a divided stance on this shift. The reality is that the ad industry has coasted along comfortably, and marketers have grown complacent. Many have resorted to merely toggling with tools rather than conjuring up inventive growth strategies.

The phasing out of third-party cookies nudges us to refine our tactics and re-embrace the foundational tenets of effective advertising.

For those businesses and marketers ready to embrace change and innovate, this new terrain presents a vast sea of opportunities.

How will the absence of third-party cookies affect marketing attribution?

Let’s be upfront: no matter how innovative tech startups might be in bridging this gap, the impending cookieless era will make marketing attribution more challenging.

While tools like CRM-reported attribution or specific tracking software have offered insights, they’ve never been entirely accurate. For instance, if a potential customer discovers your brand through a Reddit mention (without any direct links) or hears about it on a podcast, traditional software can’t trace that interaction.

Hence, leveraging first-party customer data becomes crucial. A simple step like adding a “how did you hear about us?” question on essential forms can provide valuable insights.

On the upside, cookieless marketing is more respectful of privacy and centers on the consumer. Without tracking online behaviors, businesses substantially reduce the risk of breaching user privacy. This is especially vital for entities dealing with delicate user data, such as medical records or financial details.

Moreover, cookieless marketing tactics might outperform the conventional ones. The absence of cookies nullifies the effects of ad blockers, ensuring ads reach their intended audience.

How To Use Cookieless Marketing In Your Business?

According to Vaibhav Kakkar, CEO & Founder of Digital Web Solutions. With the shift to cookieless marketing, marketers must explore alternative methods for ad targeting and personalization. So, what are the strategies to achieve this?

First Party Data & Building An Email List

Leveraging first-party data offers a promising avenue. This data is sourced directly from users, with clear consent, through avenues like sign-ups, digital resource downloads, webinar participation, surveys, or loyalty scheme enrollments. By obtaining this data, marketers can discern users’ specific interests and preferences, enabling them to craft more tailored ads. Prioritizing high-quality content that genuinely resonates with users can cultivate a more engaged and intentional audience.

Using Platform level first-party data for retargeting

For instance, initiating broad-reaching video ads on platforms like Facebook or Instagram can be insightful. By subsequently retargeting those who’ve actively engaged with these ads (e.g., watched more than 50% of the content) with more specific campaigns, you’re tapping into platform-specific first-party data. This approach guarantees your resources are invested in genuinely interested parties. Recent data from platforms like LinkedIn and Facebook Ads suggests that such strategies often result in significant reductions in both cost-per-click and cost-per-acquisition.

Device Fingerprinting

Device fingerprinting offers another avenue for cookie-less user targeting. This technique capitalizes on specific information about a user’s device, including the operating system, browser variant, and IP address, to craft a distinct “fingerprint.” This unique identifier can subsequently track user activity across different sites and devices. While not flawless, this method offers marketers a valuable snapshot of user habits and preferences.

Contextual Marketing

Contextual marketing emerges as another potent tool in a post-cookie era. This strategy targets users based on their real-time content consumption, ensuring that marketing offers are seamlessly integrated into their current online journey, thus enhancing the likelihood of conversions.

Strategic Partnerships

Crafting strategic partnerships can exponentially magnify these efforts. By identifying and collaborating with companies that offer complementary products or services and possibly instituting affiliate incentives or referral bonuses, businesses can optimize their outreach without relying on cookies.

The Benefits of Brand Marketing Over Cookie-Based Marketing

Brand marketing and cookie-based marketing, though often mistaken for the same strategy, are distinctly different marketing approaches. Brand marketing zeroes in on elevating brand awareness and cultivating brand loyalty, while cookie-based marketing harnesses cookies to monitor user behaviors and serve tailored ads.

Cookie-based marketing, although having its merits, has inherent drawbacks. Its primary limitation is its reliance on a user’s historical behavior rather than their genuine interests or identity. This is where brand marketing shines. Rather than merely pitching products, brand marketing emphasizes forging genuine relationships with customers based on mutual values and interests.

This strategy seeks to establish a deep-seated emotional bond, cultivating enduring customer loyalty and repeat business. Although brand marketing might not always yield instantaneous results as cookie-based marketing might, its long-term approach offers a more sustainable and ultimately rewarding trajectory for businesses.

Brand Marketing Vs Cookie Based Marketing

According to Jeremy Lesher, Co-Owner and Product Manager of Bluegrass Foundation Repair, several fundamental reasons underscore why brand marketing holds an edge over cookie-based marketing. Firstly, brand marketing excels in fostering enduring loyalty and deep-rooted customer relations. Secondly, compared to cookie-based promotions, brand marketing tends to be less intrusive and less likely to irk users.

Furthermore, when brands invest in brand marketing, they exercise greater control over their narrative, unlike the dependence on cookies, which users can effortlessly block or erase. Thus, it’s pivotal for businesses and advertisers to transition from an undue dependence on cookies towards emphasizing brand-centric strategies and leveraging first-party platforms, like CRMs, for progressive data enhancement.

Central to brand building is forging an emotional bond with consumers, transcending mere targeting and conversion metrics. This can manifest as captivating content that narrates a relatable story or conveys a compelling message aligned with customer sentiments. It could also mean sculpting a robust brand persona that emotionally resonates with consumers. By channeling efforts towards brand cultivation, businesses can nurture lasting customer rapport, independent of cookie reliance.

What Does The IOS 17 Update Means For Third-Party Cookies And Advertising?

Apple’s recent iOS 17 update introduced features prioritizing user privacy, including an option enabling users to dictate the presence of third-party cookies on their devices.

Historically, advertising agencies have utilized third-party cookies to trace users’ web activity and serve them tailored advertisements. This fresh update could potentially hinder advertisers’ ability to monitor users and furnish them with targeted ads. However, the precise repercussions this will have on the digital advertising sphere remain to be seen.

Opinions on this change are varied. Some foresee a shift towards a more privacy-oriented web environment, while others anticipate an uptick in private browsing. The eventual implications of this shift on our digital experiences remain a subject of speculation.

Impact Of IOS 17 Update On Facebook Ads

The advent of iOS 17 has reshaped how Facebook serves ads to iPhone users by giving them more authority over the data apps accumulate.

Consequently, Facebook indicated its inability to deliver tailored ads to iPhone users grounded in their interests or activities outside the platform. This could profoundly influence Facebook’s revenue stream, given its dependence on targeted advertisements.

Although several of our clients continue to witness profitable Facebook campaigns post-update, there’s a noticeable surge in CPA (cost per acquisition) due to decreased tracking and targeting precision.

To circumnavigate these changes, strategies like employing Facebook’s first-party data—like “video views” campaigns followed by retargeting the viewers—have been useful. Since users remain on Facebook to view these videos, the absence of cookies doesn’t hamper this approach.

The emphasis has also shifted towards leveraging server-side event data coupled with CRM insights for efficient result tracking.

While some industry experts speculate a potential decline in Facebook’s revenue, others argue the repercussions might not be as dramatic. The definitive influence of iOS 17 on Facebook’s financial health is still uncertain. Nevertheless, Facebook is actively exploring avenues to adjust to this new paradigm.

One such effort includes experimenting with a feature letting businesses direct ads based on existing customer lists rather than third-party data sources. The efficacy of these adjustments and their long-term implications for Facebook’s ad sector remain under observation.

Conclusion

For businesses and marketers, these developments signal a call for adaptability and innovation. Instead of leaning heavily on the increasingly unreliable cookies, it’s vital to pivot towards reinforcing brand identity and leveraging first-party tools, such as CRMs, for richer and sustained data insights. This transition promises enhanced targeting and a more tailored user experience. The question remains: Is your business prepared to embrace this evolving landscape of marketing without cookies?