In January 2020, Google announced its plan to phase out support for third-party cookies in its Chrome browser. In approximately one year, all major browsers such as Google Chrome, Firefox and Safari will have blocked third-party cookies.

Cookies are extremely important. Don’t get me wrong. Advertisers rely on them to understand consumer behavior, actions and attribution. They help deliver personalized experiences and create advanced marketing campaigns.

If you’ve ever received an ad at the perfect time for something you’ve wanted, you can probably thank cookies for that.

With all of these changes to third-party cookies, how can we personalize online experiences? How will it impact digital marketing and agencies?

I’ll be discussing how the future cookieless world will impact digital marketing, as well as strategies you can use to not fall behind.

How will a lack of third-party cookies affect digital marketers?

Let’s get back to the basics. Cookies are small pieces of code placed on users' browsers when customers visit a website. They usually contain a couple of pieces of information like a site’s name and users’ ID. It may also capture language preferences, login details, product interests, etc. You can see where I’m going with this.

First-party cookies are created and stored on the website a user is visiting. Cookies stored by other sites and apps other than your own are called third-party cookies. These allow for cross-site and cross-app tracking, improved targeting and deeper personalization. Unfortunately, these will do a disappearing act sometime between now and 2022.

It will become more of a challenge to deliver personalized experiences. Retargeting and understanding customers’ behavior will be difficult. The cost of acquiring customers (CACS) and return on ad spend (ROAS) may take a hit for some companies.

Before everyone panics, this has been a long time coming. Mozilla stopped support for third-party cookies back in 2013. And 64% of tracking cookies are already blocked or deleted.

Nonetheless, this might be the final stake in the coffin. With third-party cookie support being nearly completely phased out, marketers need to adapt quickly. Let’s dive into that next.

Take advantage of existing first-party data collection

Think about all of the data you collect on customers already. It’s right under your nose. This is what we call first-party data collection: Information you’ve compiled from your own sources. For example, tools like Google Analytics collect first-party cookies which are stored directly on your website.

It is often the best source of data too. Why? Simply because it’s generated from your audience. Not others. In fact, 85% of U.S. marketers say increasing their use of first-party data is a high priority.

To conduct first-party data collection, audit your company’s CRM, website analytics and sales tools. Generate reports to analyze customer interactions, purchase history and key performance metrics. Investigate time spent on website, page interactions, demographics and conversion funnels.

Leverage declared data to personalize experiences

One of the richest sources of customer information is declared data. Input that customers give you directly through one-on-one engagements. It allows you to get the most accurate information about their purchase intent, desires and demographics. More than 50% of consumers are happy to share their information to get personalized experiences.

How do you collect declared data? One of the best sources is via conversational marketing chatbots through platforms Spectrm. AI-driven chatbots integrate with channels like Facebook Messenger and Instagram. They engage with customers in a personalized way at scale and get smarter the more you use them. Best of all, they collect a treasure trove of customer data.

Platforms that chatbots connect to like Facebook and Instagram are also improving their eCommerce connectivity. It’s another great opportunity to hedge the changes to third-party cookies.

For example, on January 27, 2020, Facebook rolled out its new "shop" tab on Instagram so users can buy products directly on the social network. Shopify’s payment tool Shop Pay was recently added as a secure gateway for shops, and UK and Canadian businesses can use Facebook Shop as of February 23, 2021.

Email marketing will be more important than ever

Email marketing is decades old. Sure. But don’t forget that it can have a return on investment of 4,400%. Not only is it an effective cookieless marketing channel to drive sales and nurture relationships, but also for understanding customers and resolving the challenges I discussed earlier. Let me explain.

Email marketing allows you to collect customer data through opt-ins. Once you have a foundation of subscriber data, it can be segmented based on location, company size, positions and so forth.

Each group can be delivered unique offers and messages for the best response. Businesses can use tools like Hubspot to build lists, segment and create automated journeys.

I believe email will become the go-to first-party data targeting solution as third-party cookies are being phased out. Your business can market to customers when they’ve left a website. You can collect different information to personalize messages and experiences.

Email lists can be used inside advertising platforms like Google Ads to improve quality scores. Subscribers can be retargeted and brought back to convert. Everything third-party cookies provided can be achieved with proper email marketing.

Conclusion

Third-party cookies being phased out isn’t anything new. If it is for you, don’t fret. Adjust your marketing correctly and you’ll continue to drive growth and scale.

I recommend doing some first-party data collection and cleaning. You probably have heaps of customer information without realizing it. Generate reports from your CRM, analytics tools and sales tools. All of these will tell the story of your customers, who they are and what they want.

Secondly, take advantage of declared data. Information customers give you directly through one-on-one engagements. Collect declared data at scale with conversational marketing chatbot, surveys, focus groups or questionnaires.

Last but not least, ramp up your email marketing. Create more lead magnets, landing pages, opt-ins and segments. Use it in your first-party data targeting strategy by keeping in touch with customers and delivering personalized offers.

Using these strategies will help you market efficiently as third-party cookies become phased out. Don’t be scared of these changes. Embrace them as a way to continually stay relevant.

If you are looking for more information about digital marketing in the building materials industry, check out Venveo’s Smarter Building Materials Marketing podcast.

Or contact us if you have any questions about how cookieless marketing will specifically impact your building materials business.

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This article was originally posted on Forbes.com.