People in the digital marketing industry are calling it, “cookie-pocalypse” – Google announced last year that it would no longer support third-party cookies, the lifeblood of digital ads, to increase user privacy.
Not surprisingly, this sent shock waves through the digital advertising world since Google accounts for an estimated 28 percent of the total digital advertising revenue in the U.S. and is the most prominent digital ad publisher in the country. (Source: Statistica)
What Google is planning to do will completely change the digital advertising game. Advertisers have long leveraged access to third-party cookies to harvest data and track user activity to inform marketing strategies. These cookies help marketers identify interests based on a user’s web history to serve up relevant, personalized ads.
Although Google has since backtracked and delayed the move away from cookies (source: Google), all organizations who run digital ads should take this as a warning.
Eventually, Google will remove access to third-party cookies, and digital advertisers must be prepared. If digital marketers want to continue to use sophisticated strategies for targeting customers, they’ll have to embrace tools and strategies outside of Google or other advertising networks.
Here are Rise Up Strategies’ suggestions to prepare for the coming cookie-pocalypse.
4 steps to future-proof your digital ad strategy:
- Focus on first-party cookies
Eventually, Google will do away with third-party cookies – but even before that happens, advertisers should refocus on customers and their data. First-party data collection is consent-based information collected directly from the source.
Leverage the information you’re collecting from customers, donors, leads – whatever you call your target audiences and turn it into authentic ads, experiences and opportunities that will engage and excite your current and future audiences.
As part of this strategy, embrace campaigns that are focused on data collection. Create opportunities where your target audience can share their information through a transparent collection experience where they receive something for the data they share – a discount, front-of-the-line access or something else. This is a long-play strategy because users need to trust your brand first before sharing their information – ensure that trust is built and repaid through value.
- Prioritize measurement
First-party data collection will help to identify interests, locations and potential topics of effective advertising – but a strong measurement strategy will ensure they are validated quickly.
Organizations will need to have solid measurement tools in place to understand what messages and creative are most effective in their digital ads, and which are not. Understanding what is moving users to conversion quickest will be key to the success of any brand’s digital advertising.
Ensure you have the right tools in place and establish a testing mentality; Always running A/B tests and putting multiple versions into the market to identify what works the best.
As this data becomes more important, you’ll need to understand whether these leads are valuable and moving down your sales funnel. Measurement solutions, specifically, will ensure that you are targeting consumers with the right messaging that speaks to their needs and wants rather than simply having a large pool of lukewarm leads.
- Engage brand ambassadors
Another way to target potential customers is to engage influencers who post about topics that align with your brand and who share similar audiences.
Influencer marketing is one of the most effective ways for brands to reach target audiences. 49% of consumers depend on influencer recommendations, and 40% have purchased something after seeing it on Twitter, YouTube or Instagram (Source: Digital Marketing Institute.) Like them or not, influencers can present big opportunities to grow brands.
Finding the right influencer to engage your prospective audience will require some effort. Gone are the days when brands will just look to the biggest online star to promote their product or service – organizations will need to use and understand all their audience data to find the right fit.
Once the right influencer is found, look to create a lasting, mutually beneficial relationship. This will ensure that they are repeatedly promoting your brand to their audience as their following grows and block out any potential competitors from working with this influencer.
Engaging influencers doesn’t have to be hugely expensive either – there is a growing trend around micro-influencers, online personalities that have small-medium audiences that are highly engaged on specific topics.
- Try experiential marketing
Further engage your target audience and encourage them to promote your brand through memorable/shareable experiential marketing campaigns.
The best experiential marketing campaigns offer something that feels like a personalized opportunity that taps into the emotions or nostalgia of a user. Most importantly, the opportunity needs to have great visuals and high shareability, so it can be liked and shared through social media channels.
In 2020, to mark the 30th anniversary of the ‘Fresh Prince of BelAir, ‘ Airbnb teamed up with Will Smith to offer an intimate experience with huge online reach.
As part of the experience, the house featured in the hit 80s/90s show was decorated with Fresh Prince gear and made available for only $30 per night for a few nights. Although this was during the pandemic and safety restrictions limited some access, this initiative got a lot of attention for the vintage show and the modern reboot. Although third-party cookies aren’t disappearing next week, Google could easily make other changes that could impact advertisers. By being prepared and putting mitigation strategies in place – your organization can get more out of your ad dollars today and tomorrow.
Need help driving new customers to your brand? We can help.