In today's episode, we're going to talk about a big item in the news lately, and that is maintaining your ability to market without third-party cookies.
00:00:25 - What Are Third-Party Cookies?
00:04:15 - Build Your Social and Email Audiences.
00:06:32 - Develop Your SEO, Content, and Affiliate Programs.
00:09:28 - Use Video Content to Solve Problems and Questions.
00:12:40 - Understand Where You Are in Having a Real Sales Funnel.
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Dodgeball Marketing Podcast #65: Maintaining Your Ability to Market Without Third-Party Cookies
In today's episode, we're going to talk about a big item in the news lately, and that is maintaining your ability to market without third-party cookies.
Michael Utley: Hey, everybody. Welcome to episode 65 of the Dodgeball Marketing Podcast. I'm Michael, this is Chris.
Chris Raines: Greetings.
Michael Utley: And today we're going to talk about something that's been in the news lately, maintaining your ability to market without third party cookies. That's kind of a cryptic, not awesome headline. It would've been better if we specifically called out how Facebook's being forced by, I guess browsers-
Chris Raines: And Apple, really.
Michael Utley: Yeah, and Apple. But yeah, let's get into this. So Chris, what are third-party cookies? Why is this in the news? Why are people asking us about it?
Chris Raines: Well, a third-party cookie is a cookie that you eat that someone else gave you instead of one that you baked. No, I'm just kidding. I feel like the cookies, a lot of people talk about like, "Oh, I got a cookie," but nobody really knows what it is. So here's what it is. A cookie is a piece of code that gets placed onto your browser. Like your Internet Explorer—
Michael Utley: On your physical computer—
Chris Raines: On your hard drive, on your computer. Code that someone else places. It's either all cookies or either first-party or third party. First-party cookies are cookies that the website you're visiting placed on there. Good example—
Michael Utley: Like cnn.com. You go to cnn.com.
Chris Raines: Yeah. Let's use e-commerce as an example because I can do apples to apple.
Michael Utley: Okay.
Chris Raines: So when you add something to the cart and then you say, "I don't want to buy it right now, I'm going to go over" and you have the little cart icon with the parentheses of one or two, however many things you put in your cart. That's a first-party cookie. The website placed that like, "Oh, this person has this item, this SKU in their cart right now." So that way it helps you out because you can navigate away and still have an active cart. That's a first-party cookie.
Third-party cookie is when Facebook tracks which product page you went to and then follows you around the Internet showing you ads. And when you're on Facebook showing you after that, that's a third-party cookie. So it's placed by a domain, that's not the domain that you are on. Google has third-party cookies with their app platforms, Facebook and Amazon. Tons of places have these third-party cookies. So that's what a third-party cookie is, it's something that another website placed on your browser that you didn't necessarily know about. It's not the website that you were visiting, so they're going away. Slowly.
Michael Utley: Yeah. They're being beaten out of the system. People don't want to feel creeped on. And even though retargeting and, "Hey, you've got this cart you can come back to," even though those ads are pretty effective, they create a general creepy vibe. And so we kind of think a lot of that stuff might go away and it's crazy because Google and Facebook essentially have the entire Internet covered. With one of their two platforms for retargeting.
Chris Raines: Yeah. And it's worth mentioning here, we brushed across it a minute ago, but I'm just going to restate it. Apple recently made a huge move to sort of remove or allow users to opt-out of third-party cookies. If you've had an Apple phone, you've probably gotten a script that said, "Hey, Facebook would like to track you across the Internet." You want to opt-out of that? And so in my industry with my company, we do a lot of Facebook ads and it hit in May of last year and there was a huge effect. A lot of people are opting out. So what that means for advertisers and for really any marketer is that you don't know how people are using your site with these other platforms, so that's been a seismic shift. Google has announced that they're going the same. Google is going to themselves remove third-party tracking, I think by the end of next year, maybe. So this is kind of the direction it's going, but I just want to interject that one thing. That was a huge event.
Michael Utley: That's good. So that's what we're talking about. All jokes aside, third-party cookies are a piece of data that are handled by a website that you're on, on behalf of someone else to track you. So, first up, how do we combat this going away for marketers? Because a lot of us are counting on it, even if we don't know it. If we're running pretty heavy media campaigns on the Internet, any agency that you're using, they're probably taking advantage of some of the best performing ads out there with things like retargeting or cart recovery. So how do we combat having this tool taken away?
Well, number one is build your own audiences, build your own direct relationship with people. And so that means you have to earn that. So a lot of times you have to earn that by providing valuable content and that content can be delivered through a couple of different channels. One is social media and another is email. So build your own followers, incentivize or give people a reason through the value of your content to follow you or to even opt-in, to give you permission, to reach out to them by email. So I think a lot of times couponing is sort of wasted on the disloyal. So couponing is often used to attract new people. I think it should be used more to populate the top of a sales funnel where you're not getting a sale, but getting permission to market to.
Chris Raines: A lot of e-commerce brands are doing that instead of pushing people to a product page and hoping that they can either buy then or they can follow them around the Internet until they buy. Well, since they're less able to follow them on the Internet now they'll get an opt-in opportunity for 15% off of your first order. So then at that point, now they've got first-party data, not just third-party data from Facebook or Twitter, wherever they serve the ad. Now they can follow them on their own in a way that's more controllable and less likely to get squashed by—.
Michael Utley: And empowers the consumer. The consumer really is empowered when they make the choice to opt-in. So my wife does a lot of the budgeting and shopping and everything for our family. And so she follows brands and opts into things and stays in touch and wants to receive their new product announcements. And so when they have the new offer or a new product line, that's directly in line with what she wants as a consumer to have timely information on. And so sometimes she'll say, "Hey, here's what you're getting me for Christmas." It's one of our little jokes. And a lot of times that format of that marketing was something that she opted into. So those companies were doing a good job of building an earning, an audience with her ahead of the time that the retargeting would've been needed, that will be taken away. All right, Chris, why don't you take the next one?
Chris Raines: Yeah. Ways to mitigate this retiring of third-party cookies. Develop your own SEO content and affiliate programs. So these are again channels that are more controllable, kind of a real estate that you own, other than ones you're renting from ad platforms and affiliates in particular. Like Michael, back in the day, affiliate marketing has been around since the Internet's been around, it's been a really powerful way to sort of piggyback on the trust that someone else has developed and kind of borrow that trust. And a lot of companies and brands are, because the ad platforms are starting to get a lot more unpredictable due to the third party cookie thing, they're moving towards these affiliate relationships. I have a client that sells homeschool curriculum and Facebook really kind of fell apart for us this year, so we're starting to do more affiliate marketing. So reaching out to other influencers in the curriculum world and developing relationships with them. So that's more sustainable, you don't need the third-party cookies to do that. So it's more of a farming strategy than a hunting strategy. It's more—
Michael Utley: You said a word there that I almost had in the outline for this episode and that was influencers. I think the role of influencers goes up in a situation where third-party cookies go down.
Chris Raines: Yep. No, I think you're right. I think you're right. And so, especially in the e-commerce world are going to that because the less tracking you have on the site via third-party data, the less powerful the targeting engine becomes for those. Right. So how do people know that Michael Utley likes duck hunting or whatever? Well, they track you across all the duck hunting sites and forums that you visit, right? So without ability to do that as an advertiser, you might become invisible to me. But if I partner with a duck hunter influencer, I know that I can get to you. So it's actually a more reliable way to get to your audience. It's almost like an old school... It's kind of going back old school to, if you're an advertiser targeting different TV programs because you know all the hunters watch the outdoor channel.
Michael Utley: Yeah. That's right. It is. It's kind of a throwback. We have a social media influencer in our family and it's been interesting to see how those metrics work and how the growth pattern works, but really the companies that are doing well using social media influencers as a part of their overall strategy for marketing. They're really happy when they just see consistent growth in audience capture. It's not that they want to see lightning in a bottle it's that they want to see a little bit of a creative growth every month. And so that's been a whole new universe of metrics that we've kind of gotten into over the last couple years. With stuff that we've brushed up against.
Another way to have a direct connection with your audience in a world after third-party cookies are sunset is to use video content to solve problems and answer questions. Video content is sort of a... I think of all creative work in marketing as kind of a tax. A tax that the publisher or the company marketing or the marketing agency on their behalf has to pay in order to earn attention. And video is the paper money of this tax. It's the big stuff, it's expensive, it's difficult to produce. It gets more expensive to handle. It gets more expensive to deliver and you have to bid a little bit higher on what it's worth for someone to take time, to take it in. A lot of that cost has come down with smartphones and with people just getting more comfortable handling video content and the audio's kind of gotten better as people have kind of gotten a feel for like how to shoot or record in a location where the wind's not whipping by and ruining the audio of something.
Chris Raines: Or inexpensive little mics like this.
Michael Utley: Yeah. Or microphones. Are these inexpensive? I didn't know, but—
Chris Raines: Like $97?
Michael Utley: Okay. See, that's not inexpensive to a lot of people. But a lot's changed. So if some of the production cost has come down where the real cost is, is in being thoughtful about the content that's being planned and produced because not only are you taking a chance when you invest the time and money to produce the video, you're also taking a chance when you ask people to give up their attention bandwidth in order to get that video. And so you still have to be very respectful and thoughtful about your approach.
But I think video content is one of the best tools for offsetting other things going away or becoming more expensive or more difficult. Video has gotten a little bit easier to do. But we see video as a significant portion. And I wouldn't say that more is always better. I would say that higher quality is always better.
Raines, you were always really good when we got into producing video years ago, you were always good. You and Gina were always good about forcing up the threshold of what was acceptable quality. I think I was always trying to say, "No. Let's just get the client, get an iPhone, go out to the parking lot. We'll get it done." And you were saying, "No, no, no, we really need a mic. We really need lights on this." And so even though the cameras have gotten lower cost and better, and the audio's kind of, some of that's gotten better. There's still this tax that has to be, or this expense that's being drawn in. So the quality online content is really about answering questions and solving problems for your customers.
So if you can do that in video format, it's a very popular format. You just want to always have a really, really thoughtful selection of your topic and shorter is better. So video, that's another tool in the toolbox to come back from not using third-party cookie ads.
Chris Raines: Awesome. Last one here. I would say this one start developing a real sales funnel if you haven't already. And we—.
Michael Utley: This is a great one.
Chris Raines: So we already kind of talked about one here. So for e-commerce, a lot of brands are going for that first-party email data instead of going for the sale right away. So hit a product page, email for a one-time coupon on your first sale. That's a classic use. You could do it something a little different, a higher funnel. If you're, let's say, a beauty brand, you could have an opt-in page that says, "Here's the top 20 tips." So like "look younger after your fifties", something like that, in your fifties, and have that be an opt-in alma. And then you can take that and you can remarket, so that's a real sales funnel. So you've got a capture, you've got a nurture sequence and then you've got a sale, maybe a coupon down the line.
So like thinking about your business in terms of like not, everybody's going to come to your website and take the exact action that you want them to take or buy your $5,000 program or whatever it is. So you need to think about how do you capture people up top and nurture them back down. So every bit, I mean, even local businesses should have some kind of sales funnel like that.
Michael Utley: Yeah. You should always be building audiences that you have a direct connection to no matter how small your business is.
Chris Raines: Yeah. Every business, no matter how small or local can develop a mechanism to capture people's email address. An exchange for some kind of value.
Michael Utley: That's right. Except Madison glasses.
Chris Raines: Except Madison—
Michael Utley: So yeah. A couple of other things on this. One thing that did not make it onto our outline today, and that we didn't cover as a topic we might cover more in the future is there are a lot of new options opening up for advertising. So podcasting has become extremely popular. So audio advertising through podcast networks where you can use demographic or subject matter targeting. That's another way to offset. And we're here to help. That's something we're offering. GoEpps is offering that - Dodgeball Marketing's parent company. Talk to us, if you want to talk about advertising and we'll be happy to help and get you into some of these programs that we do.
But yeah, that's it for today. Follow us and drop your comments. We're on Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, LinkedIn. We love hearing from everyone and appreciate the questions that come in by email. And so always let us know when you have subjects you want us to cover and stay in touch with us and let us know you're out there. And we can see it in the numbers. Love getting the comments and hearing from people. All right, thanks so much. That's been episode 65 Maintaining Your Ability to Market Without Third-Party Cookies. We will see you on the next one.
Chris Raines: Later, later.
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