The year 2021 had many expectations riding on it after a pandemic riddled 2020, filled with the fear of the unknown. The strangeness of an entire year in lockdown ushered in a world that was forever changed. Travelers are now manifesting their dreams into reality, partly through the fear of missing out (FOMO), but otherwise emboldened by having come out the other side of a deep void of a quarantine.
Consumer #FOMO is spreading where we work and play, from the housing market to the travel industry (Revenge Travelers).
Next in line? Marketers with #FOMO driven by the impending cookie-less future.
Marketers began to feel #FOMO with the introduction of Apple’s privacy changes for iOS 15 which inhibits the collection of personal information including IP addresses, email addresses, and the biggest offenders- invisible tracking cookies. Google also has a raft of ideas to reduce the third-party tracking cookies and its ability to track users.
What Google, Firefox, and Apple are doing is not at all unexpected. Internet users’ privacy has constantly been abused. Organizations such as GDPR, CCPA, and other protection directives have all been created to restore privacy to the users. This means data protections are necessary, as Google and Apple are simply building higher walls upon already high walls.
At first thought, as a marketer – having been trained in the ways of Data Management Platforms (DMPs) and Customer Data Platforms (CDPs) and eeking out value based on the deep insight gleaned on guests, forming segments and marketing to the last $0.01 value – the current marketing tactics employed will forever disappear.
The cookies most likely affected by these fast-upcoming changes lie within third-party data. This is where demographic data and user behavior are collected. These are usually created by domains that the visitor is not visiting. This type of third-party cookie is a script that is used for online advertising purposes.
However, first-party cookies will continue to persist. This type of cookie enables the visitor to have the same experience every time they visit their favorite websites.
Reducing #FOMO and What Comes Next
The cookie-less future points to a more deliberate online marketing experience that utilizes first-party data and works within the confines of data protection actions to deliver value-based advertising. The inherent winners will be marketers who have continued to adhere to delivering a white glove experience to their audiences.
Step #1 Don’t Panic
Understanding the situation will make things clearer. The removal of third-party cookies will only affect you if you use them heavily. Also, Google has not yet fully announced how the cookie-less future will look, be sure to stay on top of the news coming directly from Google, Apple, and Firefox.
Step #2 Audit your Third-Party Cookies
Knowing where you’re using your third-party cookies will help you get ahead of the problem. Do a thorough inventory of where these cookies exist. The focal point will be within your digital acquisition marketing, – particularly PPC, retargeting, social, tracking technology, and programmatic varieties. If you have an agency partner, ask them to help you with the audit.
Step #3 Focus on First-Party Data & Cookies
First-party data is collected by you directly or by your CRM (Customer Relationship Management). This is incredibly important for the future as the data holds massive insight into your guests. Fortunately for you, Revinate molds with your direct booking engine, marketing suite, and your first-party cookie data-driven CRM.
Be sure to pay particular attention to whether the guests in the data platform have opted into receiving marketing messaging from you.
Step #4 Plan for Deprecating Third-Party Cookies and Gap Analysis
Now you should have a clearer idea of where the gaps are in your customer data pipeline. You’ll know which third-party cookies will disappear and what data your first-party customer data platform collects. Research how to fill these gaps or ask for further insight from your agency.
Step #5 Keep Going
The changing cookie landscape can be stressful, time-consuming, and overwrought with a sense of impending doom. The truth is the dissipation of third-party cookies will force marketers to engage guests in diverse ways. You may begin to test other marketing platforms, try a different CRM, or find new and improved ways to collect customer data.
Permanently Changed Marketing Landscape
Due to a poor user experience on the internet these days, third-party cookies are being frowned upon. However, with a little planning and deliberation on the next steps, you can account for this data loss and avoid a last-minute upheaval when cookies are abandoned.
It’s up to you, the hospitality marketer, to make a measurable, timely, and meaningful white-gloved impact on your properties and your guests.
This blog was updated for accuracy: May 10, 2022