THE CLARUS Blog

The End of Third-Party Cookies: How Your Loyalty Program Can Help

Google’s plans to block third-party cookies on its Chrome browser by the end of 2023 have been a hot topic among marketers everywhere. 

The biggest impact will mainly be for brands that rely on third-party data within their advertising campaigns (think remarketing/behavioral targeting).  

Revenue attribution will be affected, as advertisers will be challenged with tracking consumer touch points. Preparations are underway and many brands are wondering how that will impact their data collection. 

So, how can your loyalty program help you navigate the end of third-party cookie data?

 

What’s the Deal with Third-Party Data? 

Third-party cookies are tracking codes set by a website other than the one you (the user) are currently on. Their purpose is to collect data, primarily for the use of targeting within online advertising. Because third-party cookies track user activity across domains, ad networks and social media platforms rely heavily on them to deliver personalized, custom content.  Companies will invest in new customer data strategies, such as Customer Data Platforms (CDPs), which are designed to support first-party data strategies along with personalization. 

There will be a huge emphasis on leveraging first-party data, especially to support member segmentation and activation, after third-party cookies are gone. 

First-party data is data that your company owns and is collected directly from your customers as they interact across your website and various brand channels. This data relies on acquiring consent from customers, such as when they fill out a form to download a whitepaper or agrees to have their browsing behavior tracked when visiting a website. 

Zero-party data is when customers willingly give brands opinions on various parts of the customer experience. 

 

Giving Value to Your Best Customers 

Privacy laws and Google Chrome, Apple Safari, and Mozilla Firefox cookie-blocking measures have forced companies to reevaluate their approach to data collection, according to Sallie Burnett, President, Customer Insight Group. 

“As a result, companies create loyalty programs to collect first-party data on as many customers as possible,” Sallie said. “This data gives them the insight to identify, differentiate customers and create personalized marketing strategies. Brands recognize that not all customers are created equal.” 

To that extent and to maximize loyalty and profitability, brands will provide more value to their best customers to spark elevated engagement and retention. 

“Alongside traditional, points-based loyalty programs, brands are creating premium loyalty programs to elevate the most loyal customers’ experiences, provide them high-value rewards, and draw them into an exclusive community,” Sallie explained.  

Combining a traditional loyalty program with a premium tier is a great way to engage your entire customer base. 

“A loyalty program structure that includes both short-term and long-term benefits is more impactful,” Sallie added. “While the short-term rewards are used to encourage enrollment and ongoing participation, the aspirational rewards increase retention and serve as an incentive for customers to award the company greater share of wallet.” 

 

What’s Next for Loyalty Programs? 

Both first- and zero-party data will be very important to brands after third-party cookies are gone. This data will help brands leverage key customer insights to improve their loyalty programs. 

Brands will invest in CDPs (Customer Data Platforms) to collect and unify customers’ transactional, demographic, and behavioral data into one centralized database. This data can be made available to other systems across their MarTech stack to leverage for personalization initiatives. More brands will look to loyalty programs to compensate for data loss. 

Check out this article from Digiday about how brands are turning to loyalty programs to ease into a post-cookie world. 

Having a member data pipeline will be crucial for brands to offer seamless and relevant customer experiences and create lifetime value with their customers.  

At Clarus, we have several MarTech tools implemented on In-Flow placement landing pages hosted by our clients – in many cases this is considered cross-domain. Therefore, certain MarTech tools would potentially not function as they normally would. We’ve worked with internal teams, as well as externally with vendors, on developing remediation plans where needed. 

Due to the magnitude of the third-party cookie deprecation, many large tech-companies that we work with are already actively solutioning for this and we should be well-positioned when this change rolls out.

 

Show Your Customers You Really Know Them 

Consumers want brands to show that they know them.  

And, after the end of third-party cookies with a sharpened focus on first-party data, brands will be able to do that. Those personalized experiences will create a tighter, stronger community of loyal customers. 

Brands will need to develop a companywide first-party data strategy to enhance the customer experience and spark increased engagement. 

Use your first-party data to optimize the entire customer journey. 

Acquiring customers and loyalty program members is one thing. Retaining them is another. 

Having a comprehensive first-party data strategy set before the end of third-party cookies will separate your brand from the competition. 

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