Have you ever felt like someone must be listening to your phone conversations because as soon as you mention needing to find a dress for your friend’s upcoming wedding, every website you visit shows you summer dress options? This high level of personalization comes from “cookies,” which track your every move while browsing the internet across your devices. Third-party cookies share information about your interests (based on your online behavior) with other websites. Those websites then show you advertisements based on your individual preferences and viewing history. At least, that’s what used to happen. Due to increased efforts for data security and privacy, third-party tracking is a thing of the past. However, advertisers must find new ways to identify, track, and target their audience with relevant ad content and messaging without third-party cookies. Read on to learn more about the move away from third-party cookies and the five third-party cookie alternatives that are more important than ever for marketers to use.
Third-Party Cookie Alternatives for Your Advertising Efforts
Even though third-party cookies are no longer an option for data tracking and ad campaigns, not all hope is lost. Here are five third-party cookie alternatives you can use to increase your advertising campaign effectiveness even in a post-cookie world.
1. Use email marketing to circulate content and ads
Your email list is comprised of people who willingly gave you their email addresses. This means they are already interested in your brand, product, or service and want to see more of what you have to offer. So, give them what they want and email your list with a combination of valuable content and product offers. Because of their initial interest, they are more likely to engage with the content and offers you send them.
Additionally, just as you would use third-party cookies to personalize your ads and target specific people with relevant content, you can segment your email list and achieve similar results. By creating small, clearly defined groups, you can send more personalized and relevant information to a specific demographic or group of people that have similar interests. This is yet another way to place the right content in front of the right people.
Lastly, you can establish connections and begin collaborating with non-competitors to place your ad in front of an interested audience. For example, if you collaborate with a brand that also has a strong email list, set up a plan to place an ad in their email newsletter and invite them to place an ad for their company in yours. In this way, you are reaching a new audience with your content.
Using email marketing as a third-party cookie alternative is a great place to start when it comes to sending personalized content to an engaged audience without using third-party data. Plus, once you begin to place more content in front of your email audience, you will gain valuable insights and make even more informed decisions based on this real-time data directly related to your brand. If you don’t have a strong email presence, now is the time to start building your email list and creating campaigns.
For more on how to build your email list:
2. Place target ads on social media
Advertising on social media is a great way to get personalized, relevant content in front of a large group of your target audience. Facebook enables you to promote your content to people who like your page and their friends or a targeted audience that you can customize. With the customization features, you can ensure the people who see your social media ad are likely to be interested in your brand based on their demographics, location, and interests. In addition, with options to advertise across other social media platforms such as Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and YouTube, you can choose the best social media platform to reach your audience.
3. Build a search engine retargeting campaign
Search engine retargeting is a great way to reach an audience with the same interests and behaviors as your current audience but never interacted with your brand. You do this by uploading your contact list to a search engine platform. The search engine then displays your company’s ads to users who have never interacted with your brand, effectively growing your audience base and increasing your website traffic and revenue. This is a great way to grow your customer base with targeted ad campaigns without using third-party cookies. You can learn everything you need to know about how to build a search engine retargeting campaign here.
For more on how to build a search engine retargeting campaign:
4. Use first-party data because it isn’t going anywhere
Even though the use of third-party cookie data is out the window, it doesn’t mean you can’t use first-party data to help develop personalized advertising campaigns. First-party cookies collect information such as a user’s login information, language preferences, location, and device type. Use and leverage this information to make informed marketing and advertising decisions. In addition, your CMS likely provides valuable insights from which you can create solid campaigns.
5. Try new solutions developed specifically to replace third-party cookies
The third-party cookie alternatives mentioned so far are strategies that are already in place, which you can use to continue serving your audience with valuable advertising campaigns. However, new tools and programs are already in development to replace third-party cookies. One of these is Google’s solution through Privacy Sandbox called FLoC. FLoC is a new way to collect user information in groups without identifying any specific user. It is one of the latest solutions currently available to test. However, marketers can expect many more third-party cookie alternatives to become available as Google Chrome transitions entirely away from cookies.
For more on how to plan for a cookieless future:
Navigating a Post-Cookie World as a Marketer
Wilson is the Sr. SEO Marketing Manager at AdRoll.