Your metrics are headed for a nosedive in 2023. That is the poignant warning given to marketers as Google Chrome prepares to cancel cookies.
In light of the rising standards in consumer data protection, the browser which has dominated its category for years has announced that it will disable cookie tracking in 2023, following the footsteps of Firefox, Safari, and Brave.
This means that the technique is effectively dead; Google Chrome has approximately 65% market share in most regions across the world. And the conversations around alternatives are coming fast and furious as marketers scramble to adapt––and to prepare consumers for future data collection options they’ll be employing to create optimal experiences.
How the Cookie Crumbles
This is a blow to the advertising sector as these cookies had become a staple for ad optimization. Currently, the cookie is a code placed on a user’s device reporting their browsing history to the advertiser who is then able to make their ads more relevant to consumers.
Without cookies, targeted advertising is bound to become harder for a while. But not impossible.
Brands need to start exploring other techniques that are available to them now. This will ensure that by mid-2023, when Google shuts it down, they will have had enough practice living without the cookie.
And if you get a head start, as your competition suffers the shock of change, your marketing performance will be steady. Sound good? Then let’s look at four ways that have been proposed as viable alternatives in our soon-to-be cookie-less world.
Social media is still the best platform for brands to connect with consumers. Not only does it facilitate a two-way conversation, but it also allows brands to listen in on what their target audience is discussing, providing an open field for consumer research.
Through social listening, brands will be able to find and analyze relevant consumer conversations at scale. This will allow them to identify ongoing trends, reveal consumer behavior, and use the insights as a springboard for their advertising campaigns.
Social listening can reveal a ton of information.
Equipped with natural language processing (NLP), top social listening tools depend on AI technology to not only find vast amounts of text-based, unstructured data but also break it down to reveal the meaning behind it.
And the most important aspect of this data is its richness. Being user-generated, it is authentic. It is also unsolicited and unbiased, like cookie data. Additionally, rather than reveal the activities of the users online, it shows their opinions, emotions, and behavior beyond the screen – through the words they use.
Influencers already have access to a vast amount of data that brands can use to conduct consumer research. Not only do they have historical data but also real-time information on what consumers are engaging with and some of the actions they are taking. They’re not only on-trend, they’re usually setting them.
More importantly, influencers have that connection with consumers that brands are seeking in a cookieless world. Businesses have the products and services that consumers need to solve their problems and influencers spread awareness of these solutions making them even more valuable to followers. It’s a win-win collaboration.
Businesses partnering with influencers gain access to valuable data that can help them understand consumer behavior and hence create more appealing advertisements.
Before partnering with influencers though, you have to identify them first – and this process is typically mundane and time-consuming. Enter social media analytics with influencer identification capabilities that can automate influencers identification.
But are they really that influential with their followers? Many are not.
This is why it is also important to monitor your influencers on social media to ensure the data they give you aligns with what they are doing on the ground.
Remember, influencers are business owners themselves. It is in their best interest to collect quality data and keep updated records. And when you have engagement stats handy in your social media analytics tool, it’s another notch in your shared ‘consumer engagement’ belt!
Monitoring the activities of your competition can help you understand and connect with your target consumers too. Mentions of your competitor brands, for instance, can help you discover popular and trending topics.
Monitoring can also direct your attention to gaps and unmet customer needs. Fortunately, you don’t have to stare at the screen all day waiting for something to turn up. You just need to set up automatic tracking and let things play out.
Rival IQ, part of the NetBase Quid® suite of enterprise tools, is the ideal solution for competitor monitoring on social media. It picks up any activity in your competitors’ social media channels, alerting you of any new developments. It also provides you with analytics and custom reports.
By comparing your social media strategy to what your competition is doing, you can learn something on how to reach your target audience.
For instance, Rival IQ alerts you when the content of a post has been edited. In some cases, this is a reflection of the consumers’ reaction to the old post which you can use to improve your own messaging.
You can also use the platform to analyze the engagement happening on your competitor’s social media. You can easily import the data you find through Rival IQ into NetBase Quid® for deep analysis of metrics such as sentiment and brand passion.
Organizations have several alternative sources of data that do not require any outside assistance to obtain, and that can be uploaded into a business intelligence or market research tool for anlaysis.
A prime example is CRM data that consumers provide as they engage with companies and either inquire about or make purchases. Companies should optimize this data collection at every consumer touch points.
Consumer reviews of products in a company’s category will also play a great role in consumer research. In a similar way, online discussion forums will be a rich source of authentic consumer data that can be uploaded and aggregated for powerful and illuminating analysis.
As you start relying more on alternative data sources, you will find plenty of tools to do all kinds of tasks for you. However, the data is likely to end up in siloes where it can’t be efficiently analyzed unless you make an effort to combine it all in one place.
NetBase Quid® allows integration with multiple tools to bring your data to a single dashboard where it can be viewed and analyzed with ease. You can also generate reports with beautiful visualizations to make your data easy to consume and remember.
To really connect with consumers in a cookie-less world, such complete analysis of consumer behavior should be done on a regular basis. Additionally, it has to be done in a secure environment to prevent new breaches of consumer privacy.
Spurred by the GDPR, marketers had already started adopting consumer privacy protocols. However, the announcement spelling the end of cookie-based advertising is a call to many to even more aggressively test alternative approaches to advertising. This may result in ill-advised options that put privacy protocols in jeopardy, so it will be important to proceed with caution.
Discussions around alternative solutions are far from over, and we’ll be sharing more insight in the coming months as well. As the new world unfolds, we will help you lean into the data you have and help you uncover ways to make the most of it!
If you would like to see how NetBase Quid® can help to not just sustain but improve your advertising and consumer understanding efforts, reach out for a demo today!