Google’s cookie delay represents a second chance for digital advertising

pile of cookies
pile of cookies
Photo by Tijana Drndarski on Unsplash

The digital marketing community breathed a collective sigh of relief last week when Google announced that its plans to remove third-party cookies would be delayed from next year until late 2023. While the move away from third-party data has been gaining momentum, many businesses found themselves rapidly patching together strategies and solutions in preparation for the impending 2022 deadline.

The recent announcement has provided businesses the additional time needed to make a smooth shift away from third-party data. This should be seen by the industry as a “second chance” to create a strong first-party data ecosystem that is not only ready to hit the ground running in 2023, but is developed with the future of privacy in mind.

Build strong customer communications

This is a critical moment for brands to create communication strategies that educate consumers on how their data is used. It should be clearly demonstrated as a value exchange – consumers provide their thoughts, feelings and preferences, and in return, are provided with a customer experience that is personalised to them. Taking a transparent approach empowers businesses to really listen to their audience and create a more impactful brand experience based on direct market feedback.

Take a major consumer platform – such as Facebook – as an example. While Facebook’s News Feed is generated from in-platform behaviour, it doesn’t always create an experience that its users are seeking. If consumers were instead invited to provide their preferences directly to the platform, this would allow users an opportunity to ‘choose their own adventure’, and would likely increase customer loyalty and engagement as a result.

Ensure customer consent, security and privacy

While building stronger customer communication is vital, it’s even more critical to ensure that any data being collected and utilised is protected. Privacy and security measures must be exhaustive and compliant with industry best practices, as well as government regulations.

In terms of consent, consumers need to be provided with a clear and complete picture of the exact data that’s being collected, how it’s being used, and why. They must also be educated on how their information is kept safe and secure in order to create transparency and build trust. This consent needs to be obtained across multiple touchpoints throughout the customer journey so that consumers are given a clear path to providing active consent.

For customers who have been inactive for a number of years within a database, opportunities must be provided to them to opt out of communications on a semi-regular basis. Additionally, any requests for new customer data should be accompanied by information as to where, why and how the data will be used.

Create robust internal platforms for first-party data

Since Google’s original announcement to retire the third-party cookie in 2019, many businesses have begun building first-party data assets in order to replace behavioural targeting.

In order to create a powerful interface to leverage their first-party data, businesses will need to utilise the best possible technology to create a solid framework for the evolving ad targeting landscape.

With additional time to build these platforms, there is an opportunity to create dynamic systems that connect brands to their audiences in a way that not only honours consumers’ right to privacy, but also uses the information and insights necessary to deliver messaging that resonates. The right platforms and processes will ensure the best possible data quality, cleanliness and relevance.

The delay in moving to a cookieless future provides the industry with a number of opportunities to implement strategic, more robust changes to their systems. Strong customer communications, securing and protecting consumer data, and implementing internal reforms with the future in mind, will provide the foundation for a successful transition. Without this approach, companies will find themselves in an untenable position.

Tasneem Ali is the general manager of media business at Pure.amplify

This article was first published by Mumbrella

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