4 Things To Know About Cookies Going Away

As Google and other browsers phase out cookies, third-party data collection will breathe its last dying breaths. Websites will lose the freedom to leave bits of data on your browser and track your habits across sites as you surf.

For many happy customers, this means more privacy and less creepy targeted advertising. But for your business, it could mean rethinking — and re-working — everything you know about digital marketing and advertising.

The death of cookies could make it much harder to track your target customers’ behaviors and personalize your ad strategy. To survive, you’ll need to deploy all kinds of new technologies and tactics to get a leg up on your competitors.

Fortunately, AI and machine learning may prove to be strong alternatives, equipped to eventually out-perform cookies. But you’ll need to consider the following key strategic changes as you move forward in a cookie-less world.

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1. Data Collection Methods Will Change

The shift away from third-party cookies will make collecting first-party data more important than ever. You’ll need a solid strategy for collecting information directly from your users or their visits to your site.

You can use surveys, chatbots, and forms to collect information directly from your customers’ mouths (or fingers). Analytics tools on your site can help gather useful information about your visitors’ habits. You may be able to leverage AI to further analyze results.

Predictive audience tools can play a pivotal role in helping you further target customers. These programs use past customer interactions with your website to make future predictions about their behavior.

Predictive audiences can automatically segment your customers into groups based on things like their likelihood of purchase. You can then tailor your ad strategy to the demographics and behaviors of a given group of customers.

2. Customers Will Get Harder To Target

Third-party cookies let you find and follow your target market segment across the internet, studying their browsing habits. Without them, you’ll be left in the dark about the demographic data you’re probably currently using to keep tabs on your audience.

Post third-party cookie, you’ll need a plan for reaching your customers without putting a metaphorical tracker on them. One such way to do so is contextual targeting, or showing up where they already are.

Contextual targeting can get you in front of your customers by showing up where they’re already reading or watching. Targeting is based on the content that users engage with, instead of their personal information.

That means appearing as a video on their favorite site, or in an article on their blog of choice. Also called native advertising, this tactic allows you to blend right in by appearing right alongside the content your ideal user might be scrolling through.

3. Discoverability Will Be Key

SEO and web searchability will take on increasing importance in a cookie-less internet ecosystem. Your customers will need to be able to find, or stumble upon, you using a variety of relevant keywords. Employing the right SEO strategies and tools can help you keep you ranking high on the SERP. But stay on top of changing algorithms and AI search methods that could completely change the way SEO looks.

But boosting your discoverability isn’t just about stuffing your site with relevant keywords and using the right formatting. To stay searchable, you’ll also need top quality content users will actually want to read.

Informative, authoritative content is much more likely to make its way to the top of the SERP. It’s also more likely to be crawled and referenced — your company’s name included — by search tools like Gemini and ChatGPT.

4. You’ll Need A Strong Social Strategy

The reviews are mixed on whether influencer marketing is just as dead as the cookie. But, for the time being, the right influencer strategy could help you reach your target audience just as efficiently as cookies.

A well-chosen cohort of content creators, including nano- and micro-influencers, can connect you with just the right customers for your brand. AI algorithms and matching platforms can match you with the influencers they’re already following religiously.

Social listening tools can also replace some of the functionality of third-party browser cookies. While they can’t exactly track individual behavior the way cookies do, they can keep close tabs on customer mentions of your brand.

Social listening tools can help you understand brand sentiment — what people are saying about your brand and whether they want to buy. They can also give you valuable contextual insight into what else your customers are up to on social.

Cookies Going Away – No Hands in the Cookie Jar

The death of the cookie may ring alarm bells, sounding to some marketers and advertisers like the death knell of their careers. But with smart re-strategizing, going cookie-less means nothing more than a simple shift in strategy.

While it’s an adjustment, to be sure, it’s likely that many new technologies and AI tools will pop up to ease the transition. These tools may enable more efficient first-party data collection or provide other means to reach the right prospects.

The important thing to remember is that, when cookies go, they’ll go for everyone — not just you. You and your competitors will all be testing a host of new targeting strategies, to see what fails and what sticks. In other words, yes, it will take some work to redefine your methods and discover the right tools. But you’ll be doing so on a level playing field, where no one else knows exactly what comes next for customer data.

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