Google has delayed third-party cookie blocking until 2023. But its announcement of joining the list of browsers that have pulled the plug shook marketers worldwide. In fact, 70% of marketers say that the end of third-party cookie marketing is a step back. Fortunately, there is life after cookies. Data tracking and collection is still possible. Here’s an explanation of what cookies are, followed by 3 ways to market to your audience without third-party cookies (3PCs).

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What Are Third-Party Cookies?

Kaspersky defines cookies as text files with tiny pieces of data to identify individual users. They track and save information about a user’s session with the goal of using this information to improve and personalise their browsing experience. There are two main types of cookies:

  • First-party cookies are stored by the domain or website you visit. Website owners use them to collect analytical data, remember passwords, language settings, and other preferences to ensure a good user experience.
  • Third-party cookies are added to a website by someone other than the owner and collect data for the third party – usually with the intention of driving sales. When a web user visits your site, the cookie tracks the user’s information and sends it to the third party who created the cookie.

For example, if you research a specific smartwatch on eBay and then visit another site later in the day, you may see an eBay advertisement for the same product. If you aren’t on an eBay-owned site, this advertisement was probably triggered by third-party cookie data.

Without third-party cookies, online advertising and data collection methods become limited. But there are alternatives…

How to Market Without 3PCs

The end of 3PCs doesn’t mean the end of data tracking. There are ways you can continue to connect and market to your audience without third-party cookies in the picture.

1. Focus on Gathering First-Party User Data

Prioritise first-party data collection. With third-party cookies blocked, using data collected from email marketing newsletters, sign-up forms, and surveys will be essential. This data belongs to you (while ever the contact has given you permission to use it). You don’t have to worry about losing the right to use it, which means you can still market to your audience without 3PCs.

Another benefit is that the first-party data you collect is different to your competitors’ data. If you use third-party data, on the other hand, you’re likely to use the same data as your competitor.

Neil Patel recommends starting with only two methods for collecting first-party data before trying others. Test to see how your audience responds and experiment with different techniques to see what works for your business model.

According to a study, 88% of marketers say that collecting first-party data is a high priority.

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2. Try Contextual and Content Advertising

Contextual advertising or targeting enables you to show audiences ads related to the content that they’re viewing on their screens. These ads are relevant because they are keywords based. While 3PCs track your audience’s overall online behaviour, contextual targeting doesn’t. For instance, if your audience is reading up on boosting click-through rates, they will see ads for relevant email marketing platforms.

You may need to use Google AdSense for keyword advertising; this will help you make the most of this alternative to third-party cookie-based behavioural targeting. AdSense allows you to add images, videos, or text ads on the pages of participating websites, making it possible for you to place dynamic content in front of users who aren’t necessarily searching for you.

3. Use People-Based Targeting / Advertising

Facebook introduced people-based marketing. It’s known as advertising based on a unique identifier that’s related to the user, not the device.

MarchTech Series describes people-based marketing as “a means to create a customer-centric, cohesive marketing system that revolves around customers and their real-time behavioural data. This data, combined with available first-party brand data, allows brands to target customers in real-time, across devices and channels.”

People-based advertising bridges the gap for remarketing in the absence of third-party cookies. Cookies are device-specific and most devices or apps don’t allow them. For instance, if you switch between devices or browsers, the cookie tracking trail goes cold.

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People-based advertising, on the other hand, doesn’t rely on third-party cookies to track users or collect data. It allows you to meet your customers at the ideal place and times for engagement. BounceX says an effective people-based marketing strategy is centred around these elements:

  • Identification: Identify your customers and connect them correctly to their various devices. For example, using the same username and password to log into your Facebook account (regardless of device). This ensures cross-device recognition for a single view of the customer.
  • Data: You probably have ample data on your customers from email engagement to device information. You can use real-time behavioural data like their device activity, website interactions, cart products, and categories they visited while browsing to target them. Linking this data together reveals a singular view of the customer.
  • Automation: People-based marketing automation relies on people-based targeting. You can unlock the singular customer view and anchor all the data to a single source. This allows you to automate an omnichannel marketing tactic across all devices.

Marketing Beyond the 3PCs

Third-party cookies may be crumbling, but marketing doesn’t have to stop. You can still reach and market to your audience using the 3 ways outlined above. Because, ultimately, making the best of your marketing techniques and tactics is about knowing your audience and giving them what they want and need.