You’ve probably heard about the death of third-party cookies, the “cookieless future,” and the growing importance of first-party data. Earlier this year, Google announced plans to phase out third-party cookies by 2023. And Apple started blocking third-party cookies in their Safari browser in 2020.
With user data being one of a marketer’s most important resources, the end of third-party cookies has many brands scrambling. But it’s not the end of the world – far from it. As third-party data fades into the past, companies with a strong market research strategy will thrive.
Third-party cookies have long been a key tool in online marketers’ arsenal. They gave advertisers a deep look into users’ behavior and enabled data-driven marketing with granular tracking and targeting. Used properly, they helped brands learn more about their customers and improve the user experience.
However, advocates of third-party cookies exaggerate their utility. For one, programmatic ad tracking is often less effective given stricter parameters. And more data didn’t always lead to better ad targeting. Given these outcomes, it’s clear that ad-tech companies stand to lose more than users or advertisers as third-party cookies die off.
Moving away from third-party cookies will require strategic changes for most advertisers, but it also has some big benefits:
While ad-tech companies and those stuck in the past lament the end of third-party cookies, there’s a bright future to look forward to.
First, third-party cookies are not the only way of tracking users’ behavior and interests online. There are various other options, such as contextual advertising, intent-based data, and first-party data cooperatives. And the increased focus on privacy and consent will make it easier to personalize marketing without being creepy or invasive.
More importantly, the move away from third-party cookies allows advertisers to shift back towards collecting first-party data. Market research remains a key component of data-collection strategies, and it encompasses a variety of both qualitative and quantitative methods:
None of these yields the sheer quantity of data that third-party cookies collect. But with their orientation towards user privacy and consent, they produce more actionable and insightful data. When users voluntarily and knowingly give information, it’s worth far more than what predictive algorithms provide.
Losing access to third-party cookies can seem daunting, especially if it’s been a key part of your online strategy. But it’s an opportunity for advertisers to invest and market research to better connect with their customers.
Replacing third-party cookies with a market research plan takes time, but there are three major points to remember:
With these strategies in mind, market research can help your brand thrive in a cookieless world.
Ready to power up your first-party data collecting? Voccii has decades of experience using market research to better connect with customers. Contact us today and let’s talk!