Now That the Cookie Is Dead, What is the New Marketing Metric That Matters?

The cookie is dead. Apple delivered the blows that left it in a critical condition. And now Google is about to turn off the life machine.

Advertising and marketing teams around the world will grieve. They’ll remember the good times they had with third-party cookies: the users they tracked together, the rich data they collected, and how they always seemed to know which marketing channels were responsible for sales and web traffic.

These dramatic changes in how customer data is collected will significantly affect how businesses connect with customers online. As a result, we need to find new ways to work with attribution models and audience targeting.

Why third-party cookies are crucial for attribution modeling and advertisement

The end of third-party cookies is terrible news for many marketing teams. They offered brands an excellent way to learn a lot about their target audience by tracking their online behaviors.

In short, third-party cookies provided data that helped brands form a detailed picture of their users. Armed with this info, they could create personalized and surgically targeted (and retargeted) campaigns.

Third-party cookies also enabled marketing teams to measure and optimize their ad campaigns. Whatsmore, they helped marketing teams attribute credit for conversions to specific ads.

By 2023, much of that data will be gone. The question is, how will marketing and advertising teams adapt to these changes?

What did we lose when we gained all this data?

This scenario brings up many interesting questions. For one, did having access to all these data cause marketing teams to lose or forget things they once knew?

Did we become spoiled by all this detailed information, to the point that our own senses grew dull? Surrounded by a sea of metrics, did we begin to see marketing as more of a science than an art?

It’s easy to see how this would happen. We live in a results-driven world. Someone needs to sign off on those marketing budget checks, and metrics allow us to communicate in the language they speak.

But having access to all this precise information seems to have come at the cost of other values, like measuring website views. But now, marketing teams will have to re-learn some of these methods.

What are the future metrics in marketing?

In the absence of third-party cookies, marketing teams will need to get more creative. Instead of being guided solely by the numbers, they will have to think more imaginatively about using existing customer data.

First-party data and first-party cookies aren’t going anywhere. Both these things will provide brands with a useful amount of personalized data about their customers.

If marketing teams gather and understand this data, they can still create personalized — but compliant — ad campaigns.

However, collecting first-party data requires work. You’ll need to get permission from your users, and asking a lot of questions of them creates friction — and possibly annoys them. So this will require a careful approach.

That said, first-party data collection, alongside first-party cookies, can provide you with valuable data to populate your CRM. Additionally, this data will become the primary source of understanding who your customers are.

Zero-party data

The concept of zero-party data was popularized in a Forrester report a few years back. It basically describes the data that consumers voluntarily offer your business. You can build this data in many different ways, like quizzes, polls, surveys, etc.

There are a lot of benefits to using zero-party data. When combined with first-party data, it can give you a strong sense of your typical customer. On top of that, it’s considered some of the most accurate data you can get because it comes directly from the source.

Other ways that brands can bolster their customer data are through reviews, social media engagement, email and customer service records, product analytics, and more.

How advertising on Google and Meta will work in future

Nevertheless, advertising platforms like Facebook will allow marketing teams to advertise to audience segments. Details like age, location, interests, etc., will still be accessible. Collecting solid zero and first-party data will be an important way to get the most from this approach.

For example, Facebook ads will still provide marketing teams with a way to reach a clearly defined and targeted audience. Sure, it won’t have the same precision as using third-party data, but it could still prove highly accurate if you have a robust understanding of your target audience.

Additionally, Google is rolling out its Federated Learning of Cohorts (FLoC). Google will lump users into broad cohorts based on shared interests rather than individual identifiers. Their research suggests that these models are pretty effective, even when compared with cookie-based advertising.

Conclusion

The death of third-party cookies will require an adjustment. However, audience segmentation will still provide a powerful way to target users, albeit without the same precision as before.

One worry for marketing teams is that advertising will become far less efficient without cookies. For example, if your ads constantly reach the wrong people, your cost per conversion (CPA) will shoot right up.

AI will play a significant function in filling the gaps created by the loss of cookies. Solutions like Amanda Ai are already playing a role in the space by allowing marketing teams to get the most ROI on their budget through our impact-driven effect model.

Google and Facebook will still provide audience segments or cohorts after the cookie is gone. Our approach would involve analyzing these audience segments and testing ad copy against them. From there, our machine would adjust bids in real-time based on which segments are most likely to convert.

So yes, things will get a bit more difficult for marketing teams in the post cookie world. However, there are solutions that brands can use to augment their marketing efforts.

Many businesses who already feel at a disadvantage (in terms of ad budget) already use Amanda AI to close the gaps by outthinking and outworking their competitors.

Get ready for this new world by reimaging how you think about your audience. Come up with strategies that help you collect first-party data that you can use to inform your audience segmentation. And then add to your approach by using an advertising automation service to keep your ad spend at a reasonable level.