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How to future-proof personalisation in a post-cookie world

One impactful way to derive insights, without reliance on external providers, is through zero-party data

In a post-cookie world, a brand’s marketing success hinges entirely on building content, products and experiences that consumers will opt-in for. Which begs the question, how do brands incentivise opt-in? The answer: personalisation.

I don’t anticipate that was an ’aha’ moment, as personalisation is not a new concept – it has historically been a key use case enabled by data management platforms. The only issue is, as we peek over the edge into the data deprecation abyss, how will personalisation, which requires robust data collection and seamless actionability of that data, be possible to execute at scale in a cookie-less world?

This chicken-and-egg predicament has marketers everywhere questioning the validity of their legacy data management tools. And rightly so. The digital marketing ecosystem, and the technology providers that were born of this era, built their capabilities on the foundational assumption that one-to-one, anonymised user identification would persist.

So where should marketers start to build future-proof personalisation practices in this ever-evolving landscape? By redesigning their brand’s data strategy from the ground up.

Future-proofing with zero-party data

Scaling campaigns in the past seemed easy due to the plethora of third-party data available for traders to liberally sprinkle into campaigns to meet budget and performance goals. Yet as we continue to see more data providers repeal their third-party data taxonomies, brands expect to see scalability affected, but they might not realise the hidden use cases where third-party data is a foundational element, like, for instance, audience insights. And with insights being a key criteria for better personalisation, it’s time for brands to concentrate on the substance of the data they can collect themselves.

One impactful way to derive insights without reliance on external providers is through zero-party data. Whereas first-party data relies on a consumer’s behaviours or inputted information, such as their name, email address, date of birth, home address, purchases etc, zero-party data covers areas that cannot be inferred and that no third-party provider could capture independently. For example, a beauty brand might ask your hair type (curly, wavy, straight, fine, thick or frizzy), or an FMCG brand might want to know your preferred snack flavor (sweet, salty or crunchy).

By working with a technology provider that can help deploy zero-party data collection strategies at scale, brands can have richer, more distinctive ways of understanding their audience, and an even clearer value exchange for consumers: more personalised messaging. All without relying on third-party data.

Closing the audience development and activation gap

The ability to collect such specialised attributes and build audience insights would be exciting on its own, but the second critical step is orchestrating these learnings into segmentation strategies that can be activated across a brand’s owned properties and paid media.

Of course, DSPs in general aren’t always set up for this type of platform-agnostic audience syndication, as this was historically executed by data management platforms. However, in a post-cookie world, where audiences are smaller and more valuable than ever, brands cannot afford the data loss and leakage that derives from siloed DMP and DSP platforms.

Marketers need data management tools that are natively integrated into activation pipes to ostensibly limit the number of ’jumps’ required between audience insight, audience design and audience activation.

And while that collapses the number of options drastically, it’s a vital requirement for brands that desire to apply consistent messaging to the same audience across TV, digital channels, social, email, search, site personalisation and more. While the intended result is improved campaign and business outcomes, applying this design will also drive tremendous cost efficiencies by reducing waste.

Personalised messaging and experiences are the future

As an industry, we are together setting sail for uncharted waters. Whether it is new developments around IDFA, Chrome or GDPR on the horizon, the expectation from customers remains the same: personalised messaging and experiences. Brands that redesign their data strategy and technology stack today will gain the ’opt-in’ trust from their customers to derive the universal insights, audience building accuracy and informed buying of tomorrow.

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