July 09, 2019 blog

In a flurry of announcements, marketers learned that Google Chrome’s new update, Firefox’s Enhanced Tracking Protection, and Apple’s Intelligent Tracking Prevention 2.0 will have the capability to block third-party tracking cookies. In addition, new regulations like GDPR and the California Consumer Privacy Act are cracking down on this once-common method of consumer data collection. This marks a fundamental shift in today’s marketing landscape—brands that once relied on third-party tracking cookies to find and target audiences will need to alter their approach.

While all of this might seem scary for marketers, the good news is that there are still a variety of other tactics you can use for audience targeting. Instead of relying on third-party cookies to collect insights on their audiences, marketers are finding success by harnessing their first-party data—including insights from what consumers say when they call the business—and using it to deliver more personalized experiences, serving the right message to the right consumer at the right time.

In a post-third-party cookie world, call analytics solutions like DialogTech—which combines the call tracking of SourceIQ and the AI-powered conversation analytics of DialogAnalytics—allow marketers to tap into that often-overlooked source of first-party data: consumer calls. (Though DialogTech’s call attribution DNI technology does employ cookies, we use first-party cookies, which are not impacted by the new browser updates and regulations.) 

Let’s look at the implications of these new browser updates and regulations on your marketing, how first-party data from consumer calls and insights from conversations can help fill the void, and 3 tips marketers can use to enhance their audience targeting in a post-third-party cookie world. 

What Is a Tracking Cookie?

A tracking cookie is a small piece of code that a website stores as a text file on a user’s browser. Employing the user’s IP address as a unique ID, the cookie then captures data about the user as they browse the web. 

Cookies are not inherently bad, nor do they inherently invade your privacy—in fact, 45% of websites use cookies. They are responsible for much of the common website personalization we see today. When brands use website cookies for audience targeting, your data is anonymized. Additionally, you can clear them from your browser at any point. However, bad actors are using third-party cookies and nefarious techniques known as “fingerprinting” to track users in ways they cannot easily control or prevent—hence the new browser updates.

What’s the Difference Between a First-Party and Third-Party Cookie?

First-party cookies: First-party cookies are created by—and track activity on—the website the user is currently viewing. They do not track the user across outside domains. First-party cookies are vital for providing a consistent experience across a brand’s website. Without them, you wouldn’t be able to stay logged in across a domain’s website pages, put an item in your online cart and continue shopping, or receive product recommendations tailored to your shopping history. 

In that sense they can be a win-win for brands and consumers. The brand gets to provide the consumer a more personalized experience that is more pleasant for the consumer and often more profitable for the brand.

Since first-party cookies track activity on websites the user is voluntarily visiting and provide the level of website personalization we’ve become accustomed to, they will remain unaffected by the recent privacy changes.

Third-party cookies: Third-party cookies allow websites to track users across domains. For instance, while you’re shopping for grills on a retailer’s website, another company could set a third-party cookie on your browser, which would track your session data from the retailer. That other company could, in turn, sell this data. 

Browsers and regulatory agencies are now blocking third-party tracking cookies because bad actors can use them to collect your data without your explicit permission.

First-Party Data Is More Important Than Ever to Marketers

Much of the martech ecosystem has been built around third-party cookies. Advertisers use them to understand audience behavior, including their location, interests, the webpages they visit, and the products they buy. 

But now, instead of relying on cookies and looking to third parties to inform their audience targeting, marketers are making a concerted shift to fully leverage their first-party data. In fact, a recent industry survey found that 82% of marketers plan to increase their use of first-party data. 

First-party data contains rich insights about your already-existing prospects and customers that marketers can leverage to personalize consumer experiences and drive better business results. Additionally, it provides a competitive advantage since you maintain exclusive access to it. Companies often have swaths of untapped first-party data at their disposal, including subscription data, CRM data, purchase data, app data, and data from phone calls to their call centers and locations. But advances in martech powered by AI are helping them turn this data into actionable insights to improve performance and results.

AI Turns Phone Conversations Into Actionable Marketing Insights

That last data source—phone conversations—is near and dear to us at DialogTech.  When a consumer calls your business, they’re engaging in a multi-dimensional interaction with your brand that offers far more information than clicks or what digital forms can collect. Phone conversations are literally telling you the caller’s intent, urgency, and preferences. They are relaying what products/services the consumer is interested in, where they are in the customer journey, what barriers exist to the sale, and much more. And at the end of the call, you have all the data you need to tell if they are good lead, if they converted to a sales opportunity or appointment/customer, and what to do next with them.

To capture this data at scale, marketers are using call tracking and analytics solutions like DialogTech that are powered by AI. With call tracking, marketers can capture not only what marketing campaign and online interaction drove a call, but identifiers for who that caller is, including their phone number. Then, with conversation analytics, you get a deep understanding of why the consumer is calling and the outcome of the call. 

All this data on each caller can then be activated in digital ad platforms like Google Ads, Bing, and Facebook Ads Manager, as well as digital marketing tools like Google Marketing Platform, Adobe Experience Cloud, LiveRamp, and more to better target those consumers across search, social, and display with the right message at the right time to convert them.

Will DialogTech Be Affected by Third-Party Cookie Blocking?

DialogTech tracks online visitors for our customers, on their behalf, and at their invitation, similar to a Google Analytics or Adobe Analytics. We have never and will never engage in the questionable or wrongful types of online tracking that Google’s upcoming changes aim to prevent. Our SourceIQ solution uses first-party cookies which are unaffected by the new browser updates and regulations.

How Can Marketers Target the Right Audiences in a Third-Party Cookieless World?

In a post-third-party cookie world, marketers can still use a combination of martech and adtech solutionsincluding DialogTechto support audience targeting. Here are 3 strategies to consider.

Tip 1: Leverage People-Based Marketing

In the absence of third-party cookies, more marketers are using people-based marketing for audience targeting. People-based marketing is the process of combining insights from every consumer interaction to build comprehensive audience profiles. Marketers then use these profiles to deliver relevant, helpful, and personalized experiences across multiple devices in real time, whether online, in person, or over the phone. 

People-based marketing works by uploading all the offline consumer data you have at your disposal—CRM data, email addresses, job titles, purchase history, call analytics data, and more—to a secure identity resolution or customer data platform like LiveRamp, Tealium, or Signal. The platform then ties it to your online data sources. Finally, the platform constructs comprehensive consumer profiles and anonymizes them with unique identifiers.

But keep in mind, your people-based marketing is only as good as your data. The more attributes you know about each consumer, the more accurate your identity resolution profiles will be. A disconnect in channel data can result in incorrectly tailored experiences that waste spend and alienate potential customers. However, when executing people-based marketing campaigns, most brands have only connected a few of their channels. A 2019 study by Evergage found that 74% of brands had less than half of their channels connected—and 21% had none. 

To enhance audience targeting, leading marketers are pushing their call analytics data to their identity resolution or customer data platforms. This includes identifying data such as the caller’s name, phone number, and the geographic location they called from, as well as data mined from the conversation, such as whether the caller was a quality sales lead, their product/service interests, and if they converted to a sale. 

This data provides valuable insights into consumer purchasing intent and can help you re-engage them with more relevant ads. For instance if you are an insurance provider and someone placed a call, stated their interest in car insurance, but didn’t convert, you could retarget this caller with relevant digital ads for auto insurance across various channels. 

Tip 2: Build Audiences from Callers for Better Google Ads and Facebook Campaigns

Most marketers are familiar with building audiences from their own consumer data in Google Ads and Facebook Ads Manager. You import lists of consumer email addresses or phone numbers, and Google and Facebook can retarget them with the best ad messaging, use them in lookalike campaigns, or exclude them from seeing irrelevant ads.

It’s a practice that is growing in popularity. According to Merkle’s Q1 2019 Digital Marketing Report, customer match and similar audience clicks from Google search ads are growing. Conversely, clicks from cookie-based RLSA (Remarketing Lists for Search Ads) audiences are in decline. 

Share of Google Search Ad Clicks by Audience Type  Source: Merkle

To inform their audience targeting with additional first-party data, marketers are using DialogAnalytics to capture insights from consumer phone conversations. Based on those insights, DialogTech segments callers into nuanced lists and passes the lists to Google Ads and Facebook Ads Manager to better inform targeting. For example, marketers could use DialogTech to create lists of callers who expressed interest in a particular product/service but didn’t convert. They could then target members of this list with additional ads for that product/service, possibly with special offers. They could also create lists of callers who bought that product/service over the phone to exclude them from seeing future ads for it. Or build lookalike audiences based off callers who did convert.

Tip 3: Craft a Persona-Based SEO Strategy

An additional tactic to reach your target audience in a post-third-party cookie world is to use persona-based SEO strategies. Instead of targeting them proactively with Facebook or display ads, however, this tactic works to entice the right audiences to your site when they search for relevant products. By creating and optimizing content that appeals to different audience segments, you’ll be able to bring them to your website organically when they are in the market and actively shopping.

Before you begin to develop an SEO strategy, you’ll need to gather insights to build a profile of your target audiences. You’ll need to determine the demographics of each audience, how they navigate the site, and what content drives the most leads. Then, by collaborating with sales and leadership teams, you can learn the key phrases your audience is voicing, the content that excites them, and the pain points they’re experiencing. In addition, call analytics can offer valuable insights into how your audience is talking about your products, what key phrases they use, and what questions they frequently ask.

Financial services call transcription DialogTech records and transcribes calls, making it easy for marketers to see questions callers ask

Once you’ve fleshed out a profile of your target audience, you can begin crafting an SEO strategy tailored to their needs. Start by optimizing your most important lead-generation pages for the keywords that your audience frequently voices. Next, add messaging that addresses your audience’s specific pain points and fills their knowledge gaps. Finally, streamline your navigation—if there are certain pages that usually send your audience bouncing back to the homepage, the navigation may be confusing and need retooling. 

After you’ve successfully implemented this strategy, your audience will come to you organically to read content that interests them and answers their burning questions. In addition, when you streamline your website according to your target audience’s navigation tendencies, they will stay engaged longer and your conversion rate will increase.

To learn more audience targeting best practices, download our eBook, Fuel People-Based Marketing Success with Call Analytics.

To learn more audience targeting best practices, download our eBook, Fuel People-Based Marketing Success with Call Analytics.

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About the author:

Derek Andersen

Copywriter, DialogTech

Derek is a copywriter at DialogTech. He graduated from Illinois Wesleyan University with a degree in Marketing and Creative Writing. He enjoys running, playing guitar, and staying up to speed on the latest news in marketing and technology.

See more posts by Derek Andersen

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