Growing consumer demands for greater privacy have led to the browsers implementing higher standards of safeguards, including the banning of third-party cookies which are used by advertisers to track users and follow them across the Internet, eventually leading to the serving of relevant retargeting ads. The approach to discontinuing the use of third-party cookies has varied by browser. As of now (August 2021), both Firefox and Safari block 3rd party cookies by default while Chrome and Edge do not. Of course, the browsers’ privacy settings allow users to change the default behavior. Incidentally, Google has announced that it will begin blocking third-party cookies by default on Chrome starting sometime in 2023, giving marketers some time to prepare. But while less immediate, Google Chrome’s ban is more significant—Chrome accounts for more than 63% of web traffic across desktops and mobile.
While the third-party cookies are being blocked, it’s important to note that there is no such thing as a “cookieless world”. Firefox, Safari, and Chrome are only blocking third-party cookies; first-party cookies are still supported and will continue to be supported. First-party cookies are used by websites when a user interacts with them directly, enabling a sense of the relationship between the domain and user, and creating a more seamless user experience. For example, first-party cookies enable things like a shopping cart to remain filled when a user exits and then returns to a website.
How do these changes affect MindFire and its customers?
Let us first note that the landing pages hosted by the MindFire software use first-party cookies to interact with the users and therefore will not be impacted by these changes.
For some companies whose business model relies heavily on the third-party cookie, this can prove challenging. These include some of our competition that relies heavily on serving ads in conjunction with outbound direct mail. In contrast to that, MindFire uses its proprietary first-party OptiChannel solutions to approach the end-user directly and completely bypasses the use of any third-party cookies.
In summary, a technology that relies on third-party cookie data can still continue to work, although their performance will continue to get adversely impacted. However, technology such as MindFire will continue to offer innovative first-party based data collection approaches, based on cross-channel personalization, to encourage consumers to provide their information with a value exchange, which is a win-win for both marketers and consumers.
Looking Ahead: Enrichment of IP Addresses
In addition to using Direct Marketing supported by its cross-media cross-media technology tying consumer activity to a definitive identifier like an email, phone number, or an ID such as a Customer ID or a Personalized URL, MindFire is also investing in a new age of first-party data modeling, which creates attribution through data points like IP addresses or device ids, which can be somewhat less deterministic. However, these are still valuable sources of first-party data, and working in tandem with people-based data providers and machine-learning algorithms, will drive value for direct marketing efforts, especially in conjunction with direct mail. MindFire has already launched IP Enrichment and Social Selling programs through its technology and is committed to continuing to add more value to its users through such innovative approaches.
The Next Frontier: Behavior-based Targeting
The average American household has access to multiple connected devices. That number used to be 10 in 2020, according to this survey from Statista. That number is only expected to rise in the upcoming years, especially with the rollout of the 5G technology. The complexity of users moving across devices, platforms, and channels makes it increasingly difficult to retarget, even when the third-party cookies were available. Behavior-based IDs that revolve around consumers and their households are on the rise, and the use of these data points will allow marketers to reach consumers at their moment of need, regardless of device or channel. As we head into 2022 and beyond, MindFire plans to invest in behavior-based targeting and continue to enable its users to implement effective marketing strategies. As part of these plans, we are enhancing existing partnerships and exploring new partnerships in order to provide our users with additional options to target relevant customers.
In conclusion, MindFire continues to monitor the impact of these pending changes including working with its partners and industry associations to prepare for a third-party cookieless world. We will continue to keep our clients updated about the industry and our investment in new technology aiding first-party data. Please do not hesitate to contact us, should you have any questions about any of these topics.