With the death of third party cookies on the horizon, many professional and scholarly publishers are looking ahead to big changes in the way they collect and act on data. Many fear that the end of third-party cookies will create new challenges for their marketing - and while that may be true, preparing for life beyond the third-party cookie presents publishers with new opportunities to create more meaningful communication and better serve their readers.
For years, advertisers have relied on cookies that allowed ad platforms to identify consumers across channels without explicitly telling them who we were. This was critical to executing digital advertising, as well as to advertisers and media for monetizing that reach.
Without third-party cookies - the power that these advertising technologies had is shifting back into the hands of publishers. Forward-thinking publishing industry leaders should be thinking ahead about how to rebuild their data strategy to comply with privacy restrictions on tracking and access to consumer data, without dropping the ball on evolving audience expectations.
Prioritize Zero- and First-Party Data
As marketers adapt to new privacy and consent regulations, it’s important to shift focus away from third-party cookies and towards new methods of generating zero- and first-party data straight from the source.
The key difference between zero- and first-party data is how straightforward you are about the data you’re collecting. Zero-party data is data that a customer intentionally shares; including how an individual wants to be contacted or preference center information, as well as specific customer details. Because zero-party data comes directly from the customer, it’s more likely to be accurate; and because the data is freely given, there are no concerns about compliance.
First-party data is any information that a company collects based on behavior on their website, emails, and other channels. This data is unique - no other company has access to it - and it’s extremely valuable in terms of giving you insight into what your readers are interested in, how they prefer to access your content, and how they respond to your marketing.
Update Your Value-Adds
Your ability to collect zero- and first-party data at all relies on the ways in which you can convince your audience to willingly give you their information. In most cases, this is done by exchanging something valuable with your audience, in return for permission to collect identifiers (like a name or an email address) and to use first-party data for personalization and campaign performance tracking.
Visit nearly any e-commerce site and you’ll see a trade-off: Your email address, for a 10% off coupon. 20% off when you register your phone number for sales alerts. As you create new content, consider how you can add more value to your readers - and consider how you communicate this trade-off.
Over 80% of consumers say they’re willing to share their data to enable a personalized experience, as long brands are transparent about how they will use it and as long as they have control over it. Work with your legal team to develop a clear data usage policy, and make sure your readers know what data will be collected, how you will use it, and what customers can expect given their consent.
Un-Silo Your Data
If your data lives in separate worlds - in your CRM, your CMS, your email platform, your Google Ads account - you’re not getting the full picture. What good is first-party data showing that one person clicked on an ad, RSVPed for an event, and read half of an article about digital transformation - if you can’t connect those actions to one user?
When data lives in separate systems that don’t communicate, you’re hampering your ability to get what you need out of that information. This is why modern scholarly publishers are turning to CDPs to unify their data.
CDPs like Hum connect disparate data coming from your marketing stack - giving you the ability to see how every identified and anonymous user in your audience is engaging with your organization or your content in real-time. Learn more about how you can get a 360-degree view of every reader.
Third party cookies may be going away - but it doesn’t mean you can’t personalize and deliver outstanding experiences to your readers and authors.
While a first-party data strategy does involve some adaptation, it also means you’ll have access to rich datasets for segmentation, targeting, suppression, re-engagement, and personalization. Not only does a first-party approach enable you to access and act on data in real-time, but it’s a more accurate and complete dataset, directly from your customers.
Privacy and data regulations are constantly evolving - and so should your strategy for collecting and using data.