Marketing techniques for a post-cookies world

As third-party cookies are phased out, we ask what techniques are available to fuel targeted data-led marketing.

The best digital marketing is tailored to individual users’ preferences, but for years, this has relied on the use of third-party cookies. As the internet has aged, its audience has become more savvy and less inclined to give away private information.

This means cookies are on their way out, with Google suggesting it will complete its move away from them in Chrome by 2025. It’s another step in the evolution of the internet and represents an opportunity to embrace other, more mutually-beneficial approaches for both marketers and users.

Why have cookies been important in marketing?

Third-party cookies track user behaviour across multiple websites, storing data on everything from login details to items in shopping carts. This has facilitated the rollout of targeted ads based on users’ browsing habits, so they’re more likely to become customers.

While the prospect of no longer relying on cookies may seem scary, there’s been an overreliance on them in the past. The marketing world needs more sophisticated solutions to meet today’s needs and it really is time to put cookies to bed in favour of alternatives.

Strategies to replace third-party cookies

The thing about cookies is that they are ubiquitous. In a post-cookies world, there are a multitude of alternatives, with marketing departments left to decide which route to take. Over time, one method may rise above the rest, but for now it’s worth reading up on some of the options.

First-party data

Marketers love first-party data and for good reason. This information is collected directly from the target audience via touchpoints on a brand’s website, app or social media. It takes more effort to obtain than third-party cookies, but the rewards are that it’s more relevant and reliable.

While your business should already be collecting first-party data, you’ll need to step up your efforts in a post-cookies landscape. Encourage interactions with your brand by delivering value through personalised content, loyalty programmes and an outstanding user experience.

Consent Mode

Google Consent Mode is a fascinating approach to the issue, as it makes sense that the biggest player in the industry has presented its own solution. Over time, Consent Mode may prove to be a bridge between the old way of doing things and the new, eventually becoming obsolete when cookies are gone forever.

In the meantime, Consent Mode makes a distinction between users who have agreed to their data being processed and those who haven’t. The search giant then customises Google tags to modify users’ information accordingly, essentially splitting users into two categories and collecting data differently based on their preferences.

Contextual targeting ads

Placing ads on the websites of relevant products or services is a remarkably simple but effective way to sidestep the data and privacy issues. Finding relevant parts of the internet that align with your brand’s values is a sensible way to target a ready-made audience.

Contextual advertising is reliant on topics, themes and keywords to determine the best placement of an ad. This approach can improve user experience and foster trust, making it a really promising and non-intrusive strategy to embrace as we move away from cookies.

AI and machine learning

Cutting-edge technologies like AI and machine learning are revolutionising many areas of marketing and analysing data is just one of them. They have the ability to extract valuable insights on customer trends and user behaviour from huge datasets in real time.

This offers the opportunity to resonate with audiences without utilising their personal data and should be used to design marketing strategies and optimise campaigns. Such sophisticated tools are the future of digital advertising.

Content marketing

Here at Axonn we may be biased, in fact we are biased, but we believe that quality, engaging content that has been properly ideated, planned and crafted is an effective way to drive your target audience to your website. Informing, entertaining and solving your potential customers’ problems will always be appealing.

The more content you publish, the greater insight you will get into what resonates with your audience. Building loyalty through this approach over time can also help promote the collection of first-party data in the long run.