We live in unprecedented times for many reasons. Aside from the fluctuating state of the world we live in, digital marketing is going through a step change in its evolution.
Driven by tech giants, we’re seeing industry giants step into the privacy arena, often combined with bold decisions, futuristic statements and a load of buzzwords. Google has been the latest, announcing it will focus on Privacy Sandbox solutions after it phases out third party cookies. It has stated that it will not look for cookie alternatives to replace how cookies work, forcing the industry to think ahead, and change.
But, what does it mean for marketers? There are four points I believe we should be thinking about.
1. Marketing funnels will need to change
A consequence of being able to measure less, or measuring differently, means marketing funnels as we know them will change. I predict successful marketers of the future will become much smarter with how to collect (consented) data points around users one step at a time. With support from ever-intelligent browsers and devices making consented disclosure of information easy, we’ll move into a world which will focus on proxies for conversion. No lengthy web forms or focus on conversion points which lie 6 months into a customer journey (good luck measuring!) but a method in which marketers obtain data points along the customer journey, one chunk at a time.
2. Evolution of measurement
The ascend of alternative ways of segmenting and targeting means measurement of campaign results has to evolve. Set in with Apple’s Intelligent Tracking Prevention, marketers can’t circumvent black measurement holes anymore – there will simply be too many. Measurement needs to evolve in order to measure data points which are ‘real’ versus vanity metrics we’ve been addicted to as an industry. This means marketers, agencies and publishers will need to set their sights on truly extracting results out of the digital marketing ecosystem, versus focusing on methods to make mediocre look good.
3. On-site, off-site, marketing and own communication channels will blend
With first party data being recognized for the fuel it always has been, we’ll see marketers being more focused on activating this magical stuff much more efficiently and in much more meaningful ways. Sticking to distinct teams (or agencies) for owned and paid media, for email marketing or for CRO will be the death of marketing teams. Marketers must learn to transcend silo-based thinking which has been instilled by agencies focusing on tiny pieces of the value chain for way too long, and must learn to build an integrated golden thread of narrative and activation across all channels, now more than ever.
4. Data needs to be channelled correctly
Google taketh away, but at the same time Google provides marketers with an amazing infrastructure for building advanced audience segmentation and data-driven marketing activation around first party data, fused with Google’s smarts and amazing computing power. By architecting solutions built around Google Cloud and Google Analytics (4), marketers can wean themselves off a cookie-based diet already. If those measurement and audience architectures are built correctly, and within Google’s ecosystem, the notion of targeting a single cookie versus a cohort of people suddenly matters a lot less. If you use quality ingredients, it’s a lot easier to make a good pizza. Ensure your data is fused, tidy, neat and available for activation across Google’s ecosystem, and it will reward you with ROI.