Marketers, Get Ready For No Cookies Day

2022 is when the cookie-less future dawns  on us. If I were a CMO, the first thing I would do is designate an individual internally to be solely responsible for making sure we are ready for a cookie-less future and that will be their only job between now and December 31, 2021, says Dan Levin, President, COO and Co-Founder, ViralGains, a video ad journey platform

Ad relevance has been a major concern in the midst of a challenging COVID-19 environment. How do you suggest brands build relevance for their customers?

Dan Levin: Larry King once wisely remarked, ‘I never learned anything while I was talking.’ One-sided conversation is not a conversation. No one likes that. Yet, some brands continue to do this. Now more than ever people don’t want to be talked to, they want to be heard, and even, more importantly, beyond that is they need brands to respond in-kind to what they’re saying. This is why our company puts the voice of the customer as a fundamental software component of our advertising platform. Listening to your customers is the only way to ensure ad relevance.

Tell us about your latest initiative with multiple choice surveys and how it can help brands by working as Journey Triggers. How does it feed first-party data pools? 

Levin: Multiple choice surveys are a phenomenal way to capture first-party audiences and simultaneously drive intent because they are easy for the consumer to respond to and increases the likelihood of garnering a response. Participating in these surveys builds buy-in, which is critical for brands to internalise.

With multiple choice surveys, brands can now ask customers their preferences and target online customers with the product of their choice which results in cost cutting, and increases engagement through relevant advertisements.

This is what we do with the brands we work with at ViralGains. We help them identify what is the most important qualifier/information they could possibly have before marketing a specific ad to a consumer. The responses are collected (both declared data) as well as inferred data at very large scale using AI, and then creating unique first-party audience pools to ensure that each consumer is getting the most relevant ad to them based on their responses.

What can brands do to prepare for the death of the third-party cookie? What is the best way to encourage zero party data collection?

Levin: The most important thing brands can do to prepare for the death of the third-party cookies is to act now. 2022 may seem far away, but it will be upon us soon. If I were a CMO, the first thing I would do is designate an individual internally to be solely responsible for making sure we are ready for no cookies and that will be their only job between now and December 31, 2021. I would then advise that person to prioritise the following two activities:

(1) Testing.  There are a number of cookie-less solutions already available in beta phases. I would start partnering with those companies and conduct live tests of each of them so I can understand the pros/cons of each approach and compare it against our needs. Reading/learning is a distant second to actual, live testing. Who do you think will be better at basketball: the person who reads up on how to throw a basketball into a hoop and the theories/strategies behind it, or the person on the court doing less reading and more actual ball throwing? Exactly.

(2) First-party data (1PD) audit, and zero-party data (0PD) preparation. I would task another individual to do an audit of our first-party data. Is it clean? Do we have permission to use it? Is it portable? Is it in a database accessible by all the people who need it in an organisation? Then, I would work with companies like ViralGains to establish a zero-party data collection strategy. By 0PD, I mean data which a customer intentionally shares with a brand, whether it is preference data, purchase intention, or any other personal context). The best way to encourage 0PD collection is to be clear with your consumers what you are collecting the information for — if they understand that you value their privacy and want to use the information to provide a more meaningful experience or value to them, they are more likely to respond in-kind by providing it.

How do Voice of Customer programs work with brands to avoid ad fatigue among customers? How is it able to customise such experiences?

Levin: Voice of Customer at its core is about understanding how each brand’s unique and individual consumer wants the brand to recognise them and relate to them. By listening to the customer, brands can avoid looking like everybody else.

In your experience, how has the pandemic shifted how people feel about certain brands, products and services. 

Levin: Two great quotes come to mind here: (1) In every crisis lies opportunity, and (2) People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel. My advice for marketers in all industries, listen to your customers and invest in technologies that help you do so effectively. Respond to them and place your core values at the centre of all your decision making. Do these things and consumers will thank you with their attention and bring you.

This article originally appeared on MarTech Vibe.