Who Needs Cookies?! The Shake-up of MarTech

BY Amy Ard // Director of Analytics

MarTech adapting to policy 

It’s no secret that data fuels the marketing world.  Without it, it’s impossible to know how marketing dollars are translating into revenue, much less, the tactics that help to improve ROI performance.  As regulations become more prominent, technology is working hard to adapt alongside policy.  Widespread data privacy policies threaten to deteriorate cross-platform data connectivity.  More specifically, this impacts how and when audiences are targeted and creates additional blindspots across the consumer journey.  The question comes down to this – with data privacy controls being put back into the hands of the consumer, how will marketers still have the data visibility they need to effectively reach and impact consumers?  What new MarTech solutions will be developed so that consumer journey analytics is still possible?

That’s how the (3rd Party) cookie crumbles

The way in which data is collected and shared digitally is drastically changing.  Cookies, well 3rd party cookies to be specific, will soon be a thing of the past.  However, there are varying degrees of opinion as to how significant the impact may be on the marketing industry.  Today, third party cookies are used to connect user data across devices and platforms. Many marketing tactics are heavily reliant on third party cookies, for example – behavioral targeting, remarketing and attribution. The preservation of user information across the full consumer journey is made possible with data being shared via third party cookies. “Walled garden” platforms like Google, Facebook, and Amazon will be far less impacted based on the vast amount of customer information that exists within each of these closed data ecosystems.  Even so, we know that the answer cannot be to shift all marketing budgets to these tech giants and that the customer experience will commonly span both open and closed ecosystems.  Technology is racing to offer solutions for a cookie-less future and the glass half full approach may say that we’ll ultimately land with a more accurate view of the customer experience.  

First party data is back in the spotlight

Organizations are taking a closer look at their known customer data to revisit this valuable asset.  There’s a wealth of marketing opportunities in the low hanging fruit that is first party data.  Remarketing tactics and look-alike-audience targeting to start can re-engage potential customers, strengthen brand loyalty with previous customers, and reach broader audiences that are most likely to become new customers.  With this, there has been increased demand in CDPs which allow brands to leverage their first party data across multiple platforms and channels.  CDPs provide a 360 degree view of your customers by bringing together data across systems into a single profile. The amount of offerings in this space has taken off with the likes of Adobe Experience Platform, Tealium AudienceStream, Segment, and Exponea to name a few.  Whether a standalone solution altogether or an extension of an existing investment, CDP selection needs to be customized to the right fit for your business.  It should allow for 1) further data orchestration and enrichment from sources across your MarTech stack and beyond as well as 2) the ability for campaign execution of data-driven targeting tactics, both pointed and personalized. 

Google Analytics 4 (the win!)

Another major MarTech shift is undoubtedly seen within the recent release of Google Analytics 4 which considerably rethinks the handling of customer data altogether.  Knowing that the industry is up against data privacy and customer behavior changes that will create additional data blindspots, GA4 uses enhanced technology features to stitch together the multi-device/platform customer journey.  Machine learning models help to fill in data gaps and even predict future behaviors so that marketing dollars can be spent where they matter most.  Overall, Google Analytics is now designed in a way that it’s future is independent of a future without cookies.  

Final Thoughts

Marketing technology will no doubt rise to the occasion but will require brands to reevaluate current data ecosystems.   Any organization seeking to expand their MarTech stack should heavily consider the longer term scalability and effectiveness knowing that changes in the marketing industry will likely force the need to pivot.  While future-resistant solutions are not yet abundant, we can expect the landscape to broaden as technologies adapt for what’s to come.

As data becomes the driving force behind many of today’s B2B marketing strategies — and for good reason — the result, when executed properly alongside brand-driven initiatives, is a customer-centric experience, personalized to not only result in sales, but to extend beyond the sale to loyalty and amplification of the brand through advocacy. Collectively, these components drive ROI and brand trust. With a seemingly unlimited number of options for today’s buyer, the modern marketer must understand how data can play its part to contribute to brand trust and propel a brand to its fullest potential, while simultaneously unifying internal teams to communicate in a shared brand voice.