Co-written by Karen Wood
Until very recently, marketers heavily relied on third-party cookies to drive revenue and ROI from acquisition-focused digital ad campaigns. But with the recent convergence of consumers demanding greater privacy, new regulatory restrictions from state and federal governments, and changes to cookie data collection and consent from the world’s biggest tech companies, the world has changed, and cookies now have a much smaller role in a marketer’s toolkit.
But back in the heyday of cookie-driven marketing, the technology that marketers primarily relied on was the Data Management Platform (DMP), which made it easy for marketers to use third-party cookie data to segment and target new audiences. DMPs efficiently collected and organized cookie data across third parties and facilitated targeted outreach to specific segments across media outlets. But now that DMPs have fewer cookies to draw from, they don’t work as well. Marketers still need a way to attract and engage target audiences and orchestrate acquisition campaigns across channels. But without the DMP, how?
One approach is to go all-in on first-party data by way of the Customer Data Platform (CDP). CDPs aggregate brands’ own first-party data from across multiple marketing tools and platforms into a unified profile that can be used for analysis and cross-channel marketing. More formally defined by the CDP Institute, a CDP is “packaged software that creates a persistent, unified customer database that is accessible to other systems.” A CDP works well at giving marketers an understanding of who their customers are across these systems and is a great tool for re-engaging existing customers. What it does not do well is identify or reach net new customers that aren’t already in its database. And as marketers, we must always have a steady influx of new prospective customers (in addition to the churn prevention, re-engagement, and upsell campaigns CDPs are well known for). To be blunt, marketing cannot meet revenue goals with first-party data alone. There will always be a role in marketing for data that lives outside a CDP.
Another approach to acquisition marketing in the face of the DMP’s decline is to solely rely on the aggregated and obfuscated user segments that live within the big walled gardens such as Google and Facebook. While this approach may get the job done, it keeps marketers at arm’s length from things that really move the needle, such as insights into audiences across walled gardens, or the performance of campaigns across channels. While this approach is great for walled gardens, it’s limiting for marketers.
But there are new, better approaches to marketing that are gaining momentum, and Windfall is a great example of this new path forward. Not reliant on cookies, not limited to just first-party data, not a walled garden, Windfall offers a new way for marketers to gain deep insights into their data, identify new audiences for acquisition campaigns, and drive cross-channel engagement to prospects not acquired yet and to existing customers. And it’s all based on secure, anonymous, and highly accurate data, insights, and machine learning.
So, with all of these changing market dynamics, what are three steps you can take right now to improve acquisition marketing, without relying on DMPs or traditional, cookie-based ways to segment and target audiences?
- Understand your ideal customer profile and the true picture of your available markets. Analyze which segments make the biggest impact on your business, and pinpoint your opportunities for growth. Gain an accurate picture of where you should focus your spend.
- Focus your spend and acquisition efforts on true lookalikes against this audience. While Facebook and other channels offer basic lookalike modeling, each brand is different. By running lookalike campaigns based on your actual, proven, next best customer, you will increase ROAS and deliver more impactful results.
- Leverage solutions that rely on trustworthy, accurate, and up-to-date data sources, shared in a secure way that does not rely on cookies. There is a movement toward data co-ops and second-party data. Understand which of these solutions provides the right data for your business’s growth, and invest in strategies against those likely to be your highest value customers.
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