Have you ever had an online advertisement that followed you for days? It appears when you scroll through social media, in the sidebars of your favorite news column, and above the navigation bar of that website you like. Like a ghost, he follows your behaviors with a calm, sometimes frightening determination. This “e-haunting” is due to digital marketers, who track your online behaviors to showcase their products and drive sales.
Over the past few years, digital marketing efforts have changed their strategies. Previously, marketers relied heavily on third-party cookies to deliver highly targeted advertisements. Through various web browsers, they were able to collect sensitive consumer data and retarget campaigns based on this very specific information. The use of these strategies has resulted in serious risks to privacy and public mistrust. There’s a reason why so many internet users block cookies from their web browsers today.
Fortunately, the world of digital marketing is moving in a new direction. This new era focuses on protecting consumer privacy through less invasive advertising tactics. The tides began to change in 2017 when Apple launched its Intelligent Tracking Prevention program. This program started the trend of blocking third-party cookies, which are being legally removed by 2023. Browsers like Safari and Firefox are already following Apple’s lead, while Google Chrome is well on its way.
New research from AdRoll suggests that there are many new tools and strategies that digital marketers will use when cookies go down for good. The leader in e-commerce marketing highlights many other channels to use that are secure, informative and much more creative.
Contextual targeting isn’t a new digital marketing strategy, but research suggests it’s making a comeback. Although often confused with behavioral cookie targeting, it does not make decisions based on individual user data. Context-specific ads are personalized for an audience as a whole; they are relevant to the content of a website and its audience. For example, an ad for a brand of coffee might appear on a pancake recipe page. Or, an advertisement for an airline might appear in the travel section of a new site.
Contextual targeting protects user privacy while remaining relevant to user interests. It also allows ads to look organic without being overly personalized. Automated technologies are helping digital marketers find their place in this “post-cookie era”. A good example is AdRoll’s brand awareness solution, which uses artificial intelligence to help brands locate their target audiences and match their ads more accurately. The company’s AI takes note of the website’s keywords, content and images to find the best results.
Overall, contextual targeting offers digital marketers the opportunity to build brand awareness among a wider audience without relying on behavioral tracking.
Mailing lists are a great, cookie-free way for digital marketers to engage with a brand’s established audience. This example of first-party data is exactly what it sounds like: it’s a list of email addresses that users have offered to a company in exchange for special news and updates.
The purpose of mailing lists is to create a more direct relationship with the consumer. Users who sign up for mailing lists are more likely to convert because they are already interested in the business. By including conversion forms and calls to action, marketers can increase ROI and get an idea of what customers are looking for. They can also ask subscribers specific questions to collect more data. Trust is built when customers share their preferences and develop their data profiles independently.
Mailing lists also protect customer information from third parties, and the relationship remains between the company and the user’s inbox. This exclusivity makes it a surefire way to safely improve customer interactions and boost sales.
Organic social media
Digital marketing isn’t always about creating ads, and it’s just as important to drive sales through organic social media strategies. Organic social media marketing includes all content pieces that are not paid promotions. Marketers can engage with a brand’s followers by posting consistently and creatively without spending a dime.
So how can a business maximize its reach without targeted ads? First, marketers need to focus on their brand identity. Selecting strong keywords for SEO purposes is a great way to start. Keywords help users find products and services when browsing their search engines. Strong keywords target a business’s niche audience while remaining broad enough for new leads to be discovered. Incorporating these keywords into social media posts can improve a brand’s visibility with relevant audiences. The same consistency should be considered when improving the visual aesthetic of a brand.
Marketers must constantly create and publish content once this brand image is established at all levels. Adroll suggests planning your content cycle up to three months in advance. To avoid feeling overwhelmed by a busy content schedule, embedding evergreen content is a great way to reuse items when something new can’t be created.
To be successful in keeping subscribers engaged, marketers need to mix up the different pieces of content that are posted. Whether it’s a fun TikTok dance or an Instagram Employee of the Week series, organic social media is more successful when it feels authentic. The values and interests of the consumer must be at the center of attention.
A focus on creativity
Although third-party cookies have been an easy way for marketers to track consumer data, the future of digital marketing looks much more innovative. The age of privacy demands that the e-commerce space learn more about consumers through relationship building tactics. With the average American seeing between 4,000 and 10,000 ads a day, new channels like these are needed to replace the “electronic obsession” of the past and build consumer confidence.