Preparing your digital marketing for cookieless tracking

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So, firstly… what the hell are cookies?! We’re not talking about the soft, crumbly kind.

“A tracking cookie is a text file that a Web browser stores on a user’s machine and that is used to track a user’s activity online.”

Third-party cookies are created by a third party to collect search and browsing data, and are typically used for advertising purposes like remarketing and cross-device tracking. Cookies were once a fundamental element of digital advertising. Now, a new era of digital marketing is approaching, and with it, there will be different ways of targeting potential customers online.

It’s been three years since the implementation of GDPR. People have (understandably) been becoming evermore concerned about their privacy online, with 70% of Americans believing their personal data is less secure now than it was five years ago.

With new privacy changes from Apple and user level tracking from Facebook and Google, a lot of the familiar ways in which marketers have previously collected data will disappear over the coming years.

With all of the key browsers becoming more privacy-driven, having a solid first party data strategy in place will be crucial for your marketing success.

84% of consumers say they want more control over how their data is being used.

What’s been affected specifically?

  • The iOS14 update has primarily affected tracking on Facebook by requiring active opt in to in-app tracking
  • From 2023, Chrome (the largest internet browser) will block all third party cookies by default

So, what’s changing?

Cookieless tracking means stopping the usage of third-party cookies.

Currently, most tracking happens via cookies which are stored on someone’s browser. They allow marketing platforms to track and record user behaviour across the web.

With privacy measures increasing and the ever-increasing desire and ability to block third party cookies, we will start to see some large gaps in campaigns we’ve become heavily reliant on. The biggest blow will be to remarketing campaigns. Without third party cookies, remarketing campaigns cannot build new user lists, and so, may stop being a viable option.

What is first party data?

First party data is unique to your business. It is the data you own and collect with consent from your customers via email and loyalty programs. A first party data strategy relies heavily on solid email databases. Building a database should be your starting point.

Email marketing tips to help increase your hotel’s direct bookings

Before you start, review how you’re collecting email addresses and try to determine whether you have made it easy and pain-free for your guests to see the benefits of sharing their data with you.

Unlike remarketing lists (with which a device receives a cookie and subsequent ads are easily blocked using browser extensions) asking someone to consent to you sending them emails is a big request and one that warrants suitable benefits in exchange!

Under GDPR, you’ll need to actively ask users to ‘opt in’ in order to communicate with them, so if you are planning on using your first party data for email newsletters as well as social/Google campaigns, review your consent wording and make sure you’re covered to avoid any potential fines down the line.

So… how can you collect first party data?

Newsletter sign ups via your website and booking engine are very effective ways of collecting database contacts – however, volumes tend to be low enough to require additional efforts to scale your database.

Facebook lead generation ads will allow you to build databases quickly with highly qualified users. It’s a key way to grow your database!

9 tips for creating great hotel website content

What can you do now?

Talk to our team here at Net Affinity to discuss your options in relation to Facebook lead generation ads! They don’t require a big investment, but they can make a very big difference to your marketing strategy for years to come. You can reach out to us on hello@netaffinity.com

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