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How to Drive Quality Traffic in a Cookieless Future

For years, advertisers and publishers have relied on the use of third-party cookies to generate revenue through content marketing. Their insights provide valuable information to target the right audience and create personalized messaging. However, Google’s recent announcement that it will phase out the use of cookies on Chrome has disrupted a multi-billion-dollar digital marketing industry. Now, advertisers and publishers are forced to rethink their digital revenue strategies. Fortunately, there are ways advertisers can continue to drive quality traffic in a cookieless future.

What Exactly are Cookies?

Every time someone visits a website, pieces of code (cookies) assign them a unique ID. These cookies help track and monitor user behavior. While cookies don’t reveal a user’s actual identity, they do show what websites have been visited, information people have put on forms, and web search history. All of this information helps marketers create personalized experiences and deliver meaningful content that resonates, increasing the likelihood of conversions. 

Cookies help carry information between websites or sessions. Not only does this help minimize the amount of data storage kept on server machines, it allows brands to:

  • Reconnect with customers across multiple channels and domains
  • Retarget customers who left a site before making a purchase
  • Contact similar audiences
  • Know which conversions were made by which users

All of this is especially helpful for effective digital marketing.

Because cookies track history and personal information, there is a growing concern about cyber security and data privacy. In fact, 82% of web users are worried about the way their data is being used by sites. As a result, today’s consumers are demanding more transparency, privacy, and control regarding how their information is used, so more browsers are moving to a cookieless future. In addition to Google’s plans, Safari and Firefox have already gotten away from third-party cookies, while Apple is requiring opt-in tracking. Before long, cookies may be a thing of the past.

What Does a Cookieless Future Mean?

Because advertisers rely so heavily on third-party cookies to target their audiences and create custom content, their marketing strategies will be heavily impacted. Cookies help brands gain a deeper understanding of their audience so they can create effective marketing that resonates. Without them:

  • Audience sizes will reduce and cease to be scalable
  • Conversion rates will drop
  • Consumers will be exposed to irrelevant and ineffective targeting

Marketers are concerned that all of this will result in a decline of ad revenue. In a cookieless future, advertisers will need to establish new strategies to analyze their audience and gather data in a way that doesn’t rely on cookies. They’ll need to find other ways to target their audience and create personalized messages, whether through first-party data or the implementation of more creative solutions. 

5 Ways to Drive Quality Traffic without Cookies

Although the end of third-party cookies creates a challenge for today’s advertisers, it’s still possible to drive quality traffic to your site in a cookieless world. Here are five techniques advertisers can use to overcome the latest obstacle in digital marketing.

1. Gather First-Party Data

First-party data is information you collect directly from your audience through customer purchases, success programs, and marketing efforts. Examples include:

  • Demographics
  • Interests 
  • Behavior
  • Website activity
  • Purchase history

Not only is first-party data highly reliable, it’s extremely useful for learning who your audience is, their engagement with your company, and how best to reach them. It also empowers you to predict your customer’s next steps and create ads that are customized and relevant for their specific needs. First-party data helps you deliver the right message to the right people at the right time. 

2. Use a Single Domain

Many large organizations build several domains based on business diversity or geography. The complexity of tracking users on such sites is made simple with third-party cookies. Without the use of cookies, companies would be better off building a single domain. This makes tracking users easy, as you can use authenticated IDs across their whole website experience. 

When customers log in, you can identify and recognize them across websites and mobile devices to follow their buyer journey. You’ll gain a better understanding of their interactions with your company, and you can identify potential up-sell opportunities that you may have missed in a multi-domain scenario. A single domain is an effective way to circumvent the need for cookies.

3. Formulate Partnerships

Consider partnering with another company who will share second-party data with you. Maybe it’s a brand that has a similar customer base or offers similar products. Either way, you can enter into a contractual agreement that allows you to collect information directly off their site or exchange files for a mutually beneficial strategy.

The success of these partnerships relies on customer transparency. You must let people know that their information could be shared and seek their permission before doing so. Often, a second-party partnership is a benefit to the consumer, such as credit cards that acquire airline miles. By collecting user information through second-party partnerships, you eliminate the need for cookies to track your consumers.

4. Use People-Based Identifiers

People-based identifiers, like phone number and email address, help marketers more effectively deliver relevant ads to the right people. Advertisers can use this information to measure and customize campaigns, ensuring their efforts use compliant customer files rather than cookies. 

Today’s technology uses algorithms that use hidden data to make decisions and assumptions about online users. As a result, people are demanding more regulations about how information is gathered and used. This means that digital advertisers must remain transparent about their motivations for gathering information. Consumers need to feel confident that their information is being acquired, stored, and used in compliance with data protection regulations.

5. Implement Publisher and Contextual Targeting

While cookies track user behavior and maximize opportunities for reaching the right people, you can use targeting to achieve this same goal. Reach a relevant audience by contacting a specific publisher to capitalize on their audience data. Consider purchasing an online ad from a local publication that targets users in a specific location. 

You could also use contextual targeting to place an ad beside relevant content. Much like keywords in search engine marketing, you can target customers based on similar information they consume online. A hotel in Las Vegas might purchase an ad that loads articles about travel. By using information you know about your audience, you can deliver ads that are relevant and drive traffic to your site.

Prepare for a Cookieless Future

RevContent uses insights, organic strategies, and the latest technology to help you create meaningful native ads that connect you with your target audience. Our goal is to help boost your market influence and revenue through effective ad monetization strategies.

Contact us today to learn how we can help you prepare for a cookieless future.

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