We are edging ever closer to the end of the era of the third-party cookie. While it means that marketers are going to have to make some big adjustments to adapt to a cookieless world, it also has the potential to herald a new age of compelling and coherent consumer insights powered by consumer research.
According to recent research from KPMG, 86% of US citizens say that data privacy is a growing concern for them, with 40% not trusting companies to use their data ethically. The takeaway? The sooner brands dissociate themselves with third-party cookies the better chance they have at retaining (and winning) consumer trust.
The wheels are already set in motion with Safari and Firefox having already called time on third-party cookies. Google Chrome — the major player with a 2/3 share of the browser market — is not far behind with plans to shut off all third party cookies some time in 2023. In light of this race to please consumers and answer their pleas for a more private digital experience, it’s never been more vital for marketers to open up new channels of communication.
The value of cookies is somewhat debatable anyway — and most of us will be better off without them, if truth be told. Consumers will feel less like they are being followed around the internet as they browse, tracked by cookies that feedback what they’ve been looking at to mysterious entities that serve up ads for items they’ve already purchased. Does that singular search for new running shoes you made and the subsequent barrage of sneaker ads come to mind?
That said, the death of cookies isn’t an end to marketing as we know it. It’s a chance for brands to take a different approach to gaining insights into the behavior of their target audience. More so, it’s a moment to end our reliance on third-party data and take the appropriate steps to get our hands on first-party data.
The solution: consumer research. A long-used tactic to get closer to consumers, it is one of the best ways of generating useful first-party data. Why? It’s a non-invasive and representative method of figuring out buyer personas, customer behavior, and sentiment. And with more savvy digital providers on the market than ever, there’s no reason for marketers to not plug a solution directly into their marketing stack.
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The benefits include:
Opening up a continuous dialogue with those who matter most
It is impossible to overstate the significance of connecting with your target audience. The consumer you want is the single most important voice in your business today. They hold the key to both the short- and long-term success of the brand. They are what will make your business grow. So instead of reaching out to them just once or twice a year, you should be looking for ways to make dialogue with your customers a constant, ongoing process.
The goal should be to ask your target consumer to offer insight into every decision that you make as a business, whether about individual products and services or larger projects such as environmental initiatives. Developing the most compelling messages for your advertising; ensuring consumers have all of the information they require to make a purchasing decision; discovering which new product lines and services you should be adding to your offering — all these things and more are possible if you take the right approach with consumer research.
Knowing where to put your advertising dollars
Marketers are all too familiar with the digital advertising boom that we’re currently living in. From social media influencers to podcasts to webpage ads, there are a million in one ways to reach your target consumers. While cookies have typically helped marketers suss out where their ad spend is best allotted, this gravy train is about to come to an abrupt halt.
So, why not go straight to the consumer and ask them where they like to be “sold to” instead? With on-demand consumer research, you can do just that. Consider this example: you’re about to kick off one of your most expensive digital campaigns of the year. Instead of guessing where your consumers live digitally, you can spool up a survey that gauges their media consumption habits. Leveraging the representative data you gather, you can then target your budget to the mediums that matter most to your buyer personas.
Moving towards a brighter and more transparent future with consumer research
Consumer research is more important than ever as we move towards a cookieless world. With third-party data on its way out, marketers need to open up channels for communication with consumers that don’t simply involve tracking their data. But there’s no need to rely on slow and expensive methods, or put your trust in fast and inaccurate systems either.
Forward-looking marketers and insights professionals should ensure that they have access to a tool that makes constant dialogue with their customers a reality so they can grow without guesswork. The end of the cookie is a blessing for consumers who care about data privacy — with the right approach, it can be a blessing for brands too.
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