Cookies are more than just a delicious treat—they are also sweet digital data chunks that connect consumers and advertisers in mutually beneficial ways. Cookies not only improve user experience and make web surfing faster and easier, but they also provide marketers with essential information to optimize campaigns, drive ad targeting, and increase ROI. At (human)X, one of our top priorities is ensuring that our clients maintain and expand their marketing reach, and that includes staying ahead of the curve on modern privacy laws as well as Google’s most recent cookie alternatives.
Google’s New Privacy Proposal
With rising global privacy concerns and the push toward GDPR compliance, Google has been updating its approach to consumer privacy via a new Privacy Sandbox proposal, which includes Google Consent Mode and the new Google Topics initiative. The new Privacy Sandbox states that by 2023, Chrome and many other browsers will limit covert consumer tracking by no longer gathering third-party cookies, a change that’s left many businesses wondering how they can continue reaching target audiences efficiently and effectively.
Removing third-party cookies will force businesses to make a massive change in the way they gather consumer data. Companies will need to shift their focus toward first-party data to understand consumer behavior and inform ad campaigns. So how can your business prepare for these upcoming privacy changes without losing crucial time and data? By developing an audience research strategy that can collect valuable first-party data to bridge the gap between consumer consent and advertising advantage.
Cookie Alternatives through Audience Research
Audience research is an umbrella term for all the methods your business can use to gather key first-party data about your unique target audiences. A well-developed audience research strategy will allow your business to collect audience insights, develop visitor profiles, retarget successfully, and even predict future behavior, all without third-party cookies. When used correctly, this information can transform the way a brand relates with its consumers, making them feel truly seen, heard, and understood.
Want to prepare your business for the end of third-party cookies? Here are the top considerations for developing a strong audience research strategy in 2022:
- Track and analyze all purchase information. Tracking consumers through their previous purchase histories is a great way to see exactly which products and services are connecting with consumers, as well as help you predict which products they will likely need in the future.
- Keep an eye on website traffic and social media interactions. Which videos, links, and pages are consumers spending the most time on? Note the types of content your audience most enjoys and then retarget those consumers with similar media. Are items often abandoned in virtual carts? Use this information to reach out to consumers with reminders, promo code offers, or enhanced product details.
- Gather data through surveys. Asking audiences directly what they need and want is a great way to fine tune your ad targeting. Consider including free text questions in your surveys to allow users to input answers in their own words. This natural language insight can then be utilized to increase SERP rankings.
- Consider heatmapping services. Heatmapping is a visual representation of user movements through websites. Heat maps allow businesses to view how users are clicking, scrolling, and tapping through mobile and desktop web pages and then use this data to restructure site content and increase conversions.
- Initiate focus groups. This tried-and-true market research method allows audiences to provide real-time feedback on your products and can be conducted both in-person or virtually. This first-party information will always be valuable because it comes directly from your audience, and it can be used to inform future product development and marketing campaigns.
- Get creative when asking for information. Modern consumers are more willing to trade personal information when it leads to more personalized experiences and products, so be creative and develop new ways to collect user data. This could look like asking website users to register for newsletters, blog updates, or new product announcements, or asking users to select preferences as they click through web pages.
- Create relevant content. While every business knows that great content drives connection, your content needs to be a step above: it needs to be relevant to consumers’ lives. Focus on audience pain points, not on self-promotion. Consumers like and trust brands that understand and solve their problems, not brands that routinely shout “Look at me!”
- Utilize AI to predict consumer trends. AI can predict future consumer behaviors, needs, and trends and allow brands to abide by modern privacy laws while delivering high-quality analytics to inform creative campaigns.
A strong audience research strategy will help your business generate detailed map of consumer insights, visitor profiles and retargeting pathways for your future campaigns. (human)X offers services that help with behavioral insights such as heatmapping, focus groups, surveys, and more! We can guide you through developing a strong audience research strategy that can help you stay connected to your customer, even in a cookie-less digital world.