November 10, 2021
Embracing the Internet Without Cookies
Are you ready for a cookie-less society?
Advertisers and publishers have relied upon third-party cookies for the longest time to collect users’ information and online behaviour. Doing so enables them to show relevant advertisements based on their interest and activity ー essentially giving them the easy way to target the right audience. However, Google recently announced that it will block third-party cookies in 2023, following Firefox and Safari’s footsteps from years ago.
As the most used browser worldwide. Google’s decision might as well be the final nail in the coffin when it comes to cookies being used to track consumers. It will start a ripple effect that will significantly impact the advertising and marketing industry, forcing them to pivot to other alternatives to collect customers’ data. But, you might be wondering, why are tech companies embracing this cookie-less approach?
The answer is simple: ‘privacy.’ In today’s digital world, where everything is out in the open, privacy seems to be on the back burner. However, reality shows otherwise. A survey shows that while 63% of respondents expect some kind of personalisation as a standard of service, they want to choose whether to be tracked or get to see advertisements.
It can be said that striking a balance between personalisation and privacy is key, and getting rid of cookies is the first step. So, how can marketers and advertisers survive the post-cookies environment? Here are two ways to get you started:
1. Contextual advertising
Behavioural advertising monitors the users’ overall activity to place ads accordingly. If you search “vacation packages in Hawaii,” most likely, you will see ads related to it everywhere you go, even when you are not on a travelling site. It can pop up on your social media and other web pages, such as ad banners on news sites. Essentially, behavioural advertising serves advertisements based on your past searches and online activity.
If you think this is creepy, you are not alone since it goes with you wherever you are online. A better way to address such privacy issues is by going down a contextual route. With contextual advertising, you will see advertisements related to the content you see on the screen. This approach adheres to the principle of ‘going where your customers are.’ Think of it this way, when you go to a bar, you will surely see an ad about beers.
The same thing goes online; when you read blogs about vacationing in Hawaii, vacation packages or tickets to Hawaii might pop up. This is undoubtedly less creepy than cookie-based behavioural advertising that looks at your overall activity. In contrast, contextual advertising is based on what you’re looking at on your screen at that specific moment.
2. People-based or personalised marketing
As mentioned above, customers expect personalisation as a standard of service when engaging with a brand. One of the ways to ensure personalisation is by collecting your own customers’ data and behaviour. After all, customers are willing to share their personal information to get a personalised experience.
This is what’s called first-party data, data that you own to better customer experience. Such data can also be a first-party cookie, meaning that your data is stored in the company’s server only. Doing so makes it easier for you to log in without remembering passwords or making another reservation with the same airline without filling in your details again.
For example, data analytics and algorithms generate recommendations that you might like based on your recorded history, ensuring a better customer experience down the line when it comes to shopping or watching a movie. Eventually, having first-party data is a must for every company to survive in today’s ever-competitive business world.
Through your customer relationship management (CRM) platform, you can create personalised email campaigns or marketing collateral based on one customer’s preferences instead of taking a generalised approach to a segmented audience.
Cookies and mobiles
Mobile devices have become an integral part of our lives. In fact, Southeast Asia is regarded as the world’s mobile economy hotspot. This means that we are becoming more dependent than ever on mobile, proving that desktops are no longer a stronghold in the region.
While it’s true that mobile and desktop cookies have the same function; to track your activities. But, with mobile, we often use mobile applications that do not share or ‘communicate’ their data with other applications, affirming the first-party data rule.
Additionally, cookies identify specific devices used by a user; something that may apply to desktops; a customer that uses a single browser, the cookies collected can be used to map out the customer’s journey. But this will not work in mobile since it’s not uncommon for one person to have multiple devices.
All in all, marketers and advertisers should be ready to embrace the cookie-less society as privacy remains a top issue for most people. The antidote to no cookies is collecting first-party data, a common practice in Asia, as it is a hub for digital-native companies that rely on the mobile economy, utilising first-party data instead of cookies.