Webinar on demand

Preparing for cookie-less customer acquisition in 2023

Google is breaking up with third-party cookies in 2023.

But while other enterprise eCommerce marketers nurse a broken heart, a savvy few are quietly crafting customer acquisition strategies that will safeguard their future success in a cookie-less climate.

Watch the recording to start building your framework for cookie-less customer acquisition, where we answer the burning questions:

The Speakers:

Andreas Dzumla
LUX co-founder and CEO

Andreas is an ex-Googler and Dentsu Aegis Network agency GM who’s seen search marketing from all sides.

Rob Wall
Commercial Director

Rob’s responsible for cultivating and leading client relationships worldwide.

Q&A

Most frequent questions and answers

Firstly, you need to know that first and last-click attribution still works because these conversions are measured on your own website, and web analytics like Google Analytics, Adobe Analytics etc. work with first-party cookies..  

However, view-through attribution does currently rely mainly on third-party cookies.  

So, it will be affected.  

One solution to look at is server-to-server conversion tracking (e.g. Google tag manager).  This allows data to pass to secure servers without relying on the user’s browser. 

The unique IDs allow advertisers to bypass the need for cookies by storing a unique ID “server-side” when a user views or clicks on an ad.

Several “replacement” systems like Google’s Topics API, The Trade Desk’s Unified ID 2.0 or LiveRamps RampID allow view-through tracking across websites that participate too. Some of these are restricted to users with a relevant account, though.

Check out <this article> for more info.

Using any of the above methods, you will track performance just as you did before – no need for vanity metrics.

Apart from the solutions mentioned in question one, we suggest re-watching the webinar recording from around 18 mins 40 secs.  

We talk about these four solutions:

  1. First-party data
  2. Contextual data
  3. Replacements
  4. Capture category demand

We also talk a little more about these solutions in question 10 below.

Here’s what Hotjar says on their website: “In order to process data about your visit to a website, Hotjar stores first-party cookies on your browser.” 

So as far as Hotjar users are concerned… no need to stress.

As we don’t know the ins and outs of every other behaviour tracking platform, we suggest reading through the onsite information for whichever one you use or are considering.

If the information isn’t clear, email them.

Firstly, conversions will always be observable since they happen on your website. i.e. purchase, lead conversion etc., tracked with first-party cookies.

However, what will change, is the availability of data for the conversion path outside of your website.  i.e. view-through tracking. 

But, as we already mentioned, server-to-server conversion tracking will still allow view-through tracking.

Finally, modelling is much more important – even now. 

Machine learning already plays a significant role when weighing the influence of different channels and steps in the path (click & impression).

We can only expect modelled conversions to become more intuitive and play an even more prominent role in the future of online marketing.  

Media Mix Modelling (MMM) has its pros and cons.

Advantage: it gives you an objective answer for which channels to invest in how much.

Disadvantages:

  1. It can be slow, as there are too many variables to consider, and it takes a lot of time to reach statistically significant results. E.g. If you only have a few months of data, you’ve got nothing to work with – you’re likely to require a minimum of two years’ worth before it’s useful.
  2. As data collection takes so long, findings are often irrelevant by the time you implement anything.

And once again, check out the webinar recording from 18 mins 40 secs for some great solutions. 

First of all, it’s not “post-cookie”; it’s “post-third-party-cookie”. 😏

– Paid Ads:  You’ll find many tracking methods for paid media will still be available without any changes – especially for post-click attribution.  But, banner ads, traditional retargeting, and view-through attribution will be affected.

– Also, organic channels will move more into focus.  The challenge with organic channels is they’re notoriously tricky to measure ROI.  

Do you currently know what your ROI on SEO is?

Shameless plug: This is where LUX can help

  1. It doesn’t require third-party cookies
  2. AND turns Organic marketing into a performance channel

If you want to catch up and see what our Smart Pages look like on your site, <click here>.

– Brand marketing: while general commerce brands (think Nordstrom, John Lewis, Macy’s, M&S) have always invested a lot into brand marketing, this type of marketing has been neglected by many eCommerce marketers.  They’ve mostly relied on third-party data (top of funnel marketing) to attract new users. A (third-party) cookie-less world is one where eCommerce marketers must pay more attention to brand experience as a method to attract new users. This is also where social, brand assets, content marketing etc., comes in. 

– Your website becomes your most valuable possession for data collection: build and take control of your customer relationships and the data you have of your customers. To prepare for an uncertain future, focus on what you can control: collect the data > design how you want to see that data > enrich it > connect. E.g. Cross-domain personalisation (multi-brand, multi-website companies providing synergistic experiences to prospects across sites using first-party data).

– Capturing category demand: Instead of relying on third-party data to stimulate category demand, marketers will need to invest in their site infrastructure to capture existing category demand. 

Key focus: transitioning your website to 100% third-party cookie-free marketing. 

  • Step 1:
  • Review where you are, what you know about the change and what data you are currently collecting and storing
  • Step 2:
  • Develop a framework for replacing third-party cookies: what are your goals? How will you measure them? What’s it going to take to get you there? “First-party data” and “capturing category demand”
  • Step 3:
  • Website audit: Maintain focus on device responsiveness, content audit, journey audit. 
  • Step 4:
  • – Partner up 
  • – Identity and data partnerships 
  • – Governance and auditing
  • – Agencies and human resources 

 

When third-party cookies go away, your testing should look the same as it did before. i.e. A/B testing, Hotjar etc.

And hey, we’re marketers, right? – Always be testing. 

Always!

With ads, Customer Data Platforms (CDPs) are a great way to collect first-party data over time (i.e. user data collected from your site – pages they viewed, channel/s they came from etc.) 

After collecting the data, you can use CDPs to feed your first-party data to third-party systems like Facebook or Google to create custom audiences, seed lookalike audiences etc.

CDPs are relevant for the following:

  1. Cross-referencing audiences with customer profiles
  2. Tracking omnichannel activity 
  3. Identifying new audiences and channels to target

To clarify what gaps there will be – there won’t be any.

However, one thing to consider is cost.  Not just the cost of the CDP license itself, but for the team running it and the effort required to get the most out of it. You can start feeding first-party data in other, simpler forms into advertising platforms like Facebook, e.g. via CSV uploads of email lists etc.

Best way 1 – First-party data: When you own the data, it changes how you use the information.  

First-party data had three parts:

  1. Collect your data through first-party cookies, lead gen forms, customer questions etc.  Focus on building your brand and engagement with your customers
  2. Use the data to personalise the UX for each user.  You can also take the data and feed it into third-party ad platforms like Google Ads or Facebook Ads to create custom audiences and seed lookalikes etc.
  3. Maintain and enrich the user experience.  Use the data to set future goals or predict future campaign success.  

The secret to first-party data is that the more you know about your customer, the more effective and valuable it is.

Solution 2 – Contextual data: since the beginning of advertising, markets have always had to consider the context of where their prospect will see an ad.  Yet, due to the convenience of third-party cookies, many have ignored it.

Contextual data is used when analysing the context surrounding where you will place your promotion.  That means analysing the topic of a website rather than the topic of the website previously visited. 

For example, an ad for men’s cologne on any site might be displayed on a men’s fashion site –rather than any site because the user has previously shown interest in the ad’s content.

Solution 3 – Replacements: one replacement for third-party cookies is Google Topics API.  

As we said in the webinar, Google Topics API is like conceptual targeting on steroids because it gives you all the benefits of contextual targeting plus cross-domain targeting, frequency capping and the like.

Here’s how it works:

  1. You visit a website, e.g. a site selling dresses
  2. The tracking pixel tracks that you’re interested in “dresses.”
  3. Google Topics API then places you anonymously into an interest “bucket” which says “this person is generally interested in topic X.”
  4. Then, on any other site displaying ads, advertisers can target you based on what bucket you’re currently in, e.g. you might be browsing on a site for rugs, but you see an ad for a summer dress.

The disadvantage of Google Topics API is not being able to target based on a specific page you’ve previously visited.  So in the case of our example above, you can’t retarget showing the exact dress a customer previously looked at on your site.

Other options to look at:

Unified ID 2.0 – based on email login only

RampID – US-centric; matches offline PII data and online devices to people-based IDs

Solution 4 – Capture category demand: Unlike push marketing – when you’re trying to reach people who might be interested in what you have to offer – capturing category demand converts more and gives a higher ROI for your campaigns.

But it all comes down to how you respond to the long tail keywords users type into Google.  Remember, 50-70% of searches are long tail keywords.  

The strength of targeting long tail keywords is that your market is ready to buy.

And the websites that best answer the question asked by the long tail win the majority market share.  

This means multi-product landing pages as opposed to showing one product.  

As most customers don’t convert on their first viewing – they want to browse – a page that can display multiple products gives a more complete UX and will inevitably convert more.  At least 30% more.  In some cases, up to 80% more.

Your UX is not as satisfying without multiple-product landing pages, and customers bounce back to Google to find something else.

Watch the webinar replay from around 18 mins 40 secs for more on this answer.

We pulled a couple of our copywriters out of their dark cave and asked them what they thought.  Here’s what they suggested:

In our opinion, form elements will depend on what stage the user is in the funnel. 

Context is everything. 

For example,

Top of sales funnel: A user is less familiar with your brand – there’s a little trust established.

  • – Email subscription (email address)

Middle of sales funnel – e.g. lead magnet for e-guide: They trust you enough to hand over basic personal information in exchange for value.

  • – First name (optional)
  • – Email

Bottom of sales funnel – e.g. commercial focus/point of purchase: highly personal and secure data can be requested when trust is established.

  • – First and last name
  • – Email
  • – Phone number
  • – Promo code offer: email address 
  • – Postal address
  • – Credit card information
  • – “How can we improve your experience?”
  • – “How did you hear about us?”

As already mentioned, it comes down to the context around the request and what perceived value there is for sharing personal information.

Yes, absolutely.

But remember, CDP is a long-term play. And making it work is a considerable effort. It’s a Commitment to the cost and the team working on the data.

Maybe before you dive deep into CDP, try first-party data. You can directly import it into Facebook or Google and build an audience based on that.

Then use it to feed into CDP.

You can’t.   

But if they’re registered users, you can still use the first-party data to create lookalike audiences.

If you’ve got a buying agency using third-party data, ask them what the plan is.

Generally, they should know how they’ll be switching those strategies out.

If they work with first-party data, just because they’re another “party”, they’re still classified as working for the business.

And if you’re going to go down the first-party data enrichment and CDP road, you’ll want to own the data.

A LUX Smart Page is a page on your site. It’s just that LUX manages the smart tech that makes them rank.

With LUX customers, we look at first-click attribution.

When a potential customer first clicks on a LUX Smart Page and arrives at your site, it’s as if they’re already a loyalist – they instantly see everything they need.

Because of the great UX a LUX Smart Page provides, you’re now on their shopping list. So if they don’t buy immediately, they go away to think about it and come back to purchase.

Even without the retargeting ads, they come back.

With a LUX page, click attribute revenue is three times higher than last-click, but that’s mainly from first-time visitors. It’s powerful for customer acquisition.

And once they’re on your site and you’ve collected first-party data, you’ve got data you can use again.

One final note: no one system replaces everything. Keep collecting first-party data from all your channels and then do audience targeting again based on that.

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