Digital Marketing in a world without cookies

By removing cookies, a lot of things will change for the B2B Digital Marketer. So what are cookies? Why should we care whether they are gone? And what strategies can we implement as a B2B marketeer moving forward? Let’s take a look.

How to do B2B marketing without cookies

Privacy and data protection – they’ve been a hot topic ever since GDPR made its way into our lives. And it seems like this trend is not slowing down, with companies like Apple and Google jumping on the bandwagon. 

By removing cookies, a lot of things will change for the B2B Digital Marketer. So why should we care whether cookies are gone? And what strategies can we implement as a B2B marketeer moving forward? 

Let’s take a look. 

UPDATE: A small bomb was dropped by Google at the end of July, as they announced to maintain the use of third-party cookies for another year. Google is working on their Privacy Sandbox to replace cookies, but felt that more testing is still required. The Sandbox will therefore be introduced slowly throughout 2023, with a full launch in 2024. Nonetheless, the tips provided in this article remain relevant because – even with the delay – the end of cookies is coming. 

What is a browser cookie?

If you ever google this question, you’ll notice that there is not a straightforward answer. The complexity of the matter lies in the fact that you have different types of cookies that all have different applications. 

First-party cookies are put in place by the owner of the website and provide the necessary information for websites to run i.e. saving your login data for the next session. 

Third-party cookies are installed by another party on your website. This could be a marketeer placing a LinkedIn pixel to retarget audiences later. But also publishers from blogs, magazines,… collecting information on your reading preferences. This information is then sold to other companies for advertising purposes. This is one of the reasons why you might be spammed with banners weirdly similar to sites you visited before.

As a side note, these cookies are different from the types of data. 

  • First-party data is data you own, often stored in your CRM or a database.
  • Third-party data is data that is owned by a third party, that you can buy or “rent”.

Why is it important if they are gone? 

Digital advertising relies quite heavily on cookies. Installing analytics, retargeting people from your website, targeting relevant profiles wherever they are in the digital space,… All of these tactics use data collected by cookies.  

In practice, the cookie removal means that Analytics metrics, such as the number of users, the number of conversions and other KPI’s on your page, will drop drastically. Moreover, attributing some of the results to your campaigns will be more cumbersome, making it difficult to prove their effectiveness. Marketers will also have to get creative to reach the relevant audiences.

So is this the end of marketing as we know it? 

Definitely not! Technology giants (Microsoft, Google, Yahoo,..) are hard at work to develop solutions that will help us to keep running effective campaigns. It is, after all, also in their best interest.

But what can you do today?

  • Prepare for the return of context.
    Before we targeted people, we showed our ads on relevant web pages where we assumed our audience would hang out. Think about trade magazines, trade blogs,…
    This practice will return, and maybe even for the better, since people won’t feel as freaked out about seeing content that they like wherever they go. 
  • Power to the content.
    Your own databases will become increasingly important since that’s data collected with consent. A general consensus is that these databases will replace cookies. Data will be stored in your own database, split into relevant groups, which can, in turn, be pushed to LinkedIn, Facebook, etc. To fill those databases, you will need very strong and relevant content to entice your audience to enter their data on your page. 
  • Digital marketing will become more like traditional marketing
    where results are approximated (with the use of AI) and branding will be a bigger focus than pure performance. 
  • Targeting specific audiences based on characteristics
    on channels such as Facebook and LinkedIn will still work since they are based on their own data, not on cookies.

Together towards a cookiefree 2022?

All-in-all, increasing the knowledge of your audience, developing valuable content and having a potent technology stack will be the steps moving forward. All of these tools are under our belt. If you need any support on planning your next move or want to discuss options, be sure to contact us! We give you our consent!

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