First-Party Data
February 10, 2023

The Revolution in First-Party Data Has Already Started

How Third-party cookies are being killed off by privacy legislation and how advertisers are seeking alternative ad-targeting methods:

Cookies in your browser have long been the primary driver of online client acquisition until privacy legislation put an end to third-party data. For marketing departments, the appeal of cookies was that they went unnoticed for a very long period. Consumers were unaware that their online behaviour and preferences were recorded and shared with online advertisers, thankfully, usually anonymously. 

Companies rushed to win the data battle, 'He who has the most data wins'. The rallying cry of the gold rush that followed, and it is nearly certain that the industry put its requirements for expansion ahead of the rights of its online customers. As a result, customer and brand trust declined as the voracious train of personal data consumption continued.

Governments and massive platform providers like Google soon felt the need to intervene. Additionally, browser developers began to provide security; several already prohibit or restrict third-party cookies, and even Google is ending support for Chrome in 2023. 

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is already in effect in Europe. South Africa's Protection of Personal Information Act is now in effect (POPI Act). Other African nations are considering it or are already following suit. Cookies no longer exist.

Now that third-party data is no more, it's not all bad. The good news for marketers is that there is already another option available.

The next steps into a First-Party Data world

Companies relying on customary digital marketing tools and strategies to gain new clients have suffered a fatal blow. The loss of support for third-party cookies in the first sentence will significantly in how your brand approaches its marketing initiatives.

It implies that it will be more difficult than ever for your company's Gen Y and Gen Z marketing teams to find new, relevant audiences through Paid Ads. This holds the opportunity for a much-needed transformation in the relationship.

Finding new audiences to market to will get more difficult. Since March 2020, marketing budgets have been decreasing, so you will notice that your colleagues and competitors are concentrating much more on the audiences they already know: their current clients and prospective clients actively engaging with them.

So what’s next?

I refer to this shift in focus as the "First-Party Data Revolution." The need to keep clients, boost their business's worth, and maximise their Lifetime Value (LTV) will be much more pronounced.

The most economical marketing tactic will be a CX Strategy since it will be simpler to market to people you already know. This will manifest as:

  • Ask them frequently for further details about themselves.
  • listening intently across a variety of channels to consumer needs.
  • establishing efficient procedures to provide solutions faster than the competition
  • figuring out ways to make additional customers want to join the "family" or "community" that is your business
  • Optimize the customer experience and journey constantly to remove all obstacles and give them no reason to switch to a rival.
  • investing more in customer testimonials and reviews and using them in product development
  • Upsells and cross-sells could be added to the mix to be more valuable than new business acquisitions.

If you're an avid market observer, you can already witness these changes in enterprise strategy in:

  • Programs for subscription and loyalty are expanding.
  • the incorporation of important professionals, including Chief Experience Officers, who are now widespread
  • With programs like Vitality's Running Club and the rise in businesses using their own online communities, like Notion and Pipedrive, community-building is becoming more obvious
  • increased investment in specialised technology related to customer data platforms, single voice of the customer, and journey orchestration.

Let's say you aren't consciously using this tactic. In that situation, my recommendation is to keep an eye on the privacy discussion and the transition to first-party cookies to enhance user experiences online. Don't let this opportunity pass you by and let the competition innovate how they interact with their clients. This catalyst can compel your company to achieve some of the customer-centricity objectives you had established years earlier but had yet to follow through on.