Are brands ready for the third-party cookie phase out?

Are brands ready for the third-party cookie phase out?

Over the last several years, brands have relied on the vast amount of data collected via cookies to gain insights into customers and their preferences. They have used this tried and tested practice to better understand and target consumers. But as many of us know, third-party cookies are on the way out, leaving marketers to shift their data collection and customer engagement strategies to stay relevant and meaningful.

Data privacy and protection changes like these are nothing new – over the last five years, Apple in particular has made changes to provide users with more transparency and control over how their data is being used.

Now with the death of cookies looming, most announcing plans to ditch third-party cookies completely in 2023, marketers are running out of time to find alternatives to capturing data they need to engage with their consumers in a relevant way. But are brands prepared for it?

The 2022 Braze Customer Engagement Review data shows that despite the expected depreciation of third-party cookies, less than a third (28%) of surveyed brands say they will be reducing their reliance on this data in 2022. That means that more than 70% of marketers may need to rethink their customer data strategy significantly in the next year.

How will this affect your business?

With the cookie phase-out, the impact of businesses not knowing and not targeting a specific individual based on their behaviours and preferences across multiple sites may be massive. The key to brilliant customer engagement is to anticipate the needs of the users at the start of their customer journey so that you can be relevant and add value. However, not knowing what, when, and why they purchase something could create a disconnected engagement.

On the other hand, consumers today expect relevant experiences from the brands they engage with. They expect brands to understand what matters to them and connect with them through their preferred channels at convenient times.

This privacy change will challenge marketers to provide consistent, thoughtful, and meaningful engagement with their consumers.

This is underlined by recent data that shows one-third (32%) of surveyed UK marketers say collecting, integrating, and managing marketing data is one of the top challenges for brands.

The era of zero and first-party data is here

How can we overcome this challenge? The answer is collecting and managing zero and first-party data as it’s the building block for every successful campaign.

The good news is that 38% of global brands plan to emphasize zero and first-party data collection methods. These brands seem to understand the importance of creating impactful, relevant experiences whilst tapping into the data provided directly by the consumers.

This zero and first-party data enable brands to target individual users with relevant messages based on their preferences, browsing behaviour, and purchase history. Also, as and when any consumer preferences change, brands need to capture and use them to retarget their consumers with relevant information in the customer lifecycle stages that they are in.

Thinking ahead

It’s not too late to rethink your customer engagement strategies and focus on collecting and managing zero and first-party data. Without this, communication with customers beyond the third-party phase-out is non-existent. To achieve truly brilliant customer engagement, brands must prioritise data management. It’s easy for a consumer to switch brands unless the brands can understand what matters to them and take action in creating that meaningful conversation.