Third-party cookies and related privacy concerns have been a topic of discussion for a few years now. Many browsers like Firefox and Safari have already blocked them to comply with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), while Google Chrome recently said it would gradually phase out third-party cookies for 1% of Chrome users from the first quarter of 2024 and will disable third-party cookies for all Chrome users in the latter half of 2024.
A cookieless future will see a reduced dependence on tracking user activity on the web to build a more privacy-focused digital ecosystem. The move has huge implications for digital marketers, making it more difficult to understand their audience and create and deploy personalized advertising.
Stronger focus on market research
During a 2021 survey among senior marketers from the United States, 51 percent of respondents said that third-party cookies are crucial for their current marketing strategy. The big question that comes up now is how marketers and advertisers will adapt to cookieless advertising. One way to tackle this new reality is to have a renewed and stronger focus on market research and its capabilities. Now, businesses have to dig deeper to understand their audience and deliver ads that resonate while giving utmost importance to user privacy.
Why does market research become important in a cookieless world?
In a cookie-less world, market research becomes crucial in digital advertising for several reasons:
- Limited Targeting Options: Traditionally, cookies have been used to track user preferences and needs for highly targeted advertising. In a cookie-less future, there will be fewer data points for advertisers to use for precise ad targeting. Market research can provide insights into consumer demographics, behavior and patterns which can optimize targeting.
- Attribution Challenges: It becomes challenging to attribute conversions and gauge the effectiveness of advertising campaigns accurately in cookie-less advertising environments. Market research can provide a complete view of the customer journey and help advertisers understand how various touchpoints contribute to conversions.
- Adjusting to changing consumer behavior: Advertisers must be agile to the ever-evolving consumer behavior. In the absence of cookies, market research can provide real-time insights into shifting consumer preferences and trends for advertisers to adjust their strategies accordingly.
How can Market Research Firms help the cookie-less world?
- Consumer Behavior Analysis
With cookie-based advertising out of the picture, market research will become a preferred medium to get insights into customer behavior, preferences and expectations. Without cookies, advertisers need to rely on alternative methods for audience segmentation. Market research can help identify demographic, psychographic, and behavioral segments within the target audience. It can also identify and monitor competitors' advertising strategies and campaign performance.
- Contextual Relevance and Content Strategy
Market research can identify the contexts in which customers engage with the content and make purchasing decisions. This helps advertisers to create content and advertisements that are contextually relevant and engaging.
- Engaging in social listening
Consumers today are present across different social media accounts. As per a report, 94 percent of business leaders think that social data and insights positively impact building brand reputation and loyalty. Tracking brand mentions, keywords and understanding consumer sentiment across social media channels helps advertisers create more integrated and impactful advertising campaigns.
- Understanding Brand Perception
Market research can be a good source for understanding brand perception without cookies. It can help brands access direct consumer feedback, evaluate their image against competitors, and get a comprehensive view of how customers perceive their brand. Brand perception does not remain stagnant. Market research helps track changes in brand perception due to change in product offerings, the impact of marketing campaigns or change in market conditions.
- Gaining Consumer Trust
Building and maintaining consumer trust is critical for a business. A study says that 95% of customers are more likely to be loyal to a company they trust and 92% will purchase additional products and services from trusted businesses. Market research allows businesses to engage with their audience transparently and ethically, showing their commitment to respecting user security and privacy.
New solutions for ad tracking, frequency measurement, capping, online session data, and location and search history are needed to move to a cookieless future seamlessly. Investing in quality market research can benefit advertisers by using essential data and insights to create more effective and ethical advertising campaigns for privacy-conscious consumers.