How the cookie’s farewell will impact paid search

When the cookie crumbles: discovering new opportunities in digital marketing

When the cookie phaseout was announced at the beginning of 2020, digital marketers flew into panic mode, wondering what the future would hold and spilling tears of despair into their tea. But, three years on, we’re still here and we’re prepared. 

By developing a great first-party data strategy you can optimise paid media campaigns easily, harness data to build an effective content strategy and make better connections with your audiences. Here’s how: 

Step 1: Outline your digital marketing objectives

In a post cookie world, the key to gathering data is engagement. With audiences pushing back on needless data collection, it’s important to be transparent about your motives. 

From preventing drop off from the customer journey or increasing engagement to keep loyal customers coming back, your strategy will only be effective if you have clearly outlined your objectives and the reasons you’re collecting data. To do this, you need to prioritise your objectives at each step of your campaign.

Step 2: Identify which first party data you will collect

Once you’ve identified your goals, you can pinpoint which data will be most effective in enabling you to achieve your goals. For example, if your focus is on improving your customer journey, you could focus on understanding how your website is being used and where key drop off points are. 

Whether you want to focus on gathering demographic information, data on how your website is being used or conversion details; the data is still there, you just need to ask.

Step 3: set up your methods for collecting data 

Using tracking pixels, you can understand your audience better. These pixels can be set up on your website and social media platforms to collect information about behaviours and actions rather than details about users. This gives us greater insight into product or service demand, the user journey and how customers are engaging with your brand. This data is then fed into your CRM or GA4 to be used in organic and paid media campaigns.

The future of paid media advertising

Whilst paid media campaign planning is affected by the demise of the cookie, it’s not the end of paid media advertising. One of the key challenges digital marketers now face is building accurate remarketing pools without cookies – a challenge that is easily overcome. 

Using data fed from website tags and pixels, you can easily build segmented remarketing audiences. These can be as broad as anyone who has visited your site, to an audience who has visited a specific faculty landing page, depending on the stage and purpose of your campaign. Once you’ve segmented your audiences you can retarget them with relevant content to the stage they’re at in their customer journey. 

To optimise your campaign, you’ll need to match the content offered with your audience’s interests or needs at each point of the marketing funnel. The first party data you source, enables you to do this. Not only can these be used in manual bidding strategies, but these real audience insights can be fed into your programmatic advertising campaigns. By partnering with premium programmatic partners, you can share your first party data, which then informs bidding and enhances the effectiveness of your programmatic campaigns.

Making real connections through an effective brand and content strategy

Matching your paid or organic campaigns with audience interests is essential if you want to drive conversions. Without this, you are likely to see a reduction in engagement and steep drop off rates. You’ll also find that without strong engagement there will be no interactions to record, no matter how effective your pixel tracking is. 

Identifying your audience needs and addressing them through content not only develops engagement across all your marketing channels, but also improves the time spent interacting with your brand. Using psychographics to develop a comprehensive picture of the audience’s wants and needs helps us to understand which types of content resonate best with audiences. By opening conversations with your customers through focus groups, polls and surveys, you can glean meaningful insights over how you are perceived, what barriers there are between you and your audience and missed marketing opportunities. 

Once you’ve established meaningful connections with your audience, you can begin to foster relationships that last. By using your first party data, you can build an effective content and brand strategy that not only speaks to your audience, but drives further connection, which provides yet more first party data and ultimately leads to growth.

No cookies, no problems 

From developing an effective first party data strategy to developing your content strategy in line with audience insights, now you’re ready to use the demise of cookies to your advantage. Don’t worry if you’re not feeling confident, remember, there are plenty of agencies (like us 🙂) who can help you with this.

Drop us a line to find out how our research, digital, creative and content specialists can help you prepare for the phaseout.