The Big Idea
By 2022, Google will phase out third-party cookies for Chrome, the leading global web browser. These cookies allow companies to track consumers’ actions and behaviors across multiple websites to serve the most relevant, personalized advertising. However, this paradigm shift creates an invaluable opportunity to focus more on the customer experience (CX). By leveraging specific tactics that create meaningful connections between your brand and consumers, you can increase brand loyalty, word-of-mouth referrals, and bottom-line profits.
If your advertising efforts currently rely on third-party cookies to lead monetization, the sooner your company pivots away from these practices, the better. If you’re not entirely sure about using cookies and want to stay ahead of the curve, keep reading. Focusing on the customer experience will provide greater revenue returns for years to come. In this article, we’ll highlight the different kinds of data cookies, why third-party cookies are going away, and the actions you can take to support the customer experience to reap the rewards.
What are Cookies, and Why Do They Matter?
Cookies are pieces of data, such as the websites you visit, saved passwords, language preferences, and actions that you take on a website, and they are stored in a user’s web browser. For example, if you place items in your cart on an e-commerce site, leave the site, and then return days later, you will see the items saved into your cart thanks to cookies. Businesses rely on this consumer data to gain insights and to create effective marketing strategies. There are a few different types of data cookies, and they are categorized by who collected the data. For this article, we’ll focus on first-party cookies and third-party cookies.
First-Party Cookies vs. Third-Party Cookies
First-party cookies are collected directly from your consumers which means that both the quality and the accuracy of the information are high. These data cookies include actions, behaviors, and interests consumers display on your website, social media, or subscriptions, as well as non-digital data such as customer feedback or information from surveys or other CRM-related forms. First-party cookies are free, so it’s not only the most reliable information, but it’s also cost-effective data collection.
Third-party cookies, on the other hand, track consumers’ website visits and actions across multiple sites, and they must be purchased. These data cookies can tell you the frequency of websites visited and what purchases were made. For instance, if you wanted to know what other websites your customers are visiting when they’re not on your site, third-party cookies would tell you. These pieces of data are organized into categories such as demographics, interests, industries, and/or behaviors and are sold by a third party, paying websites for their first-party data. Third-party cookies have allowed companies and advertisers to deliver precise targeting, but it’s been at the expense of consumers’ trust.
Why are Third Party Cookies Going Away?
While third-party cookies can enhance your advertising, consumers want to choose and limit how their data is captured and used through transparency, and Google agrees that increased privacy is the ethical path forward. A staggering 81% of consumers say that the potential risks they face because of data collection outweigh the benefits of using the internet.
Firefox and Safari phased out third-party cookies in 2013, but the reason why Google phasing out third-party cookies for Chrome is so significant is because 56% of the global marketplace uses Chrome, so the volume of tracking and ad spend is much greater. Google has shared that the removal of the third-party cookie was announced two years in advance specifically to give companies the ability to strategize, test, and develop solutions that support the needs of consumers and businesses.
If you’re already using first-party cookies, the good news is that you’ll continue to have access to this vital information about your customers, and the privacy concerns are minimal. With third-party cookies going away, this shift provides a competitive opportunity to focus on what has proven to matter most to consumers when choosing brands to make a purchase: their overall experience. If you’re not focused on the customer experience (CX) from beginning to retention, we’ll break down the tactics you can develop and refine to meet your business needs and accelerate success.
How to Use Customer Experience (CX) to Increase Revenue
The customer experience (CX) is exactly what it sounds like; it represents consumers’ personal experiences with every aspect of your brand, from your website to the product and/or services, as well as the conversations with representatives and on social channels. More than two-thirds of companies compete on customer experience alone, and that’s probably because 86% of consumers will pay more for a great CX.
By investing in the CX, you can deepen customer relationships which:
In today’s highly competitive market, customer experience determines consumers’ decision-making when choosing companies, so it’s imperative to prioritize relationships with current customers since increasing customer retention rates by just 5% can increase profits by 25% to 95%.
Utilize First-Party Cookies
First-party cookies should still be used to understand current customers and website visitors. You can uncover advertising behavior, create target personas, and discover gaps in content to strengthen the path to purchase. First-party cookies provide valuable insights including geography, demographics, referring websites, and activities visitors have taken while they were on your page. Collecting first-party data is as simple as uploading a tracking pixel to your website, and this can be used in ppc search marketing campaigns to re-engage website visitors after they’ve left.
With this vast data at your fingertips, you can personalize communications to deepen relationships and still tap into a holistic view of consumers without third-party data. Additionally, you can gather comments and suggestions on social media, during live chats, or through surveys and forms to create experiences that surprise and delight your audience. 72% of customers will share a positive experience with 6 or more people, and your goal with CX should be to get customers talking and referring your brand to their colleagues, friends, and family.
Invest in AI for Customer Service & Personalization
To tackle growing expectations for accurate and personalized communication delivered quickly, companies are turning to AI to handle certain aspects of their customer service.
While trust in bots has fallen to 28%, almost 70% of consumers first try to resolve their issues on their own. Up to 67% of consumers prefer automated self-service compared to speaking with a representative, and knowledge bases are preferred over any other self-service channel, yet less than one-third of companies offer self-service options such as an AI-powered knowledge base. With these resources, consumers can resolve issues quickly, and sales representatives can receive suggested articles or supplementary information to streamline customer calls and save time.
AI can also offer greater personalization through automation that can effectively handle scale. If you’ve ever received an email with your first name or push notifications reminding you of an appointment or sale, then you’ve experienced these tactics. Data shows that 49% of consumers have made impulse purchases after receiving a more personalized experience, and you can improve your online conversion rate by roughly 8% when you include personalized customer experiences.
By 2023, the number of companies expected to invest in AI to handle customer service is expected to make up 40% of the market. AI not only supports customer service efficiency, but automated personalization also leads to greater revenue.
Create Connections with Social Media
Social media is the number one channel for brands to connect with consumers, and meaningful relationships lead to brand loyalty and greater revenue. Research from Sprout Social found that:
- 57% of consumers will increase their spending when they feel connected to a brand.
- 65% feel more connected to brands that have a robust social media presence.
- 70% feel more connected to a brand when the CEO takes an active role on social media.
If you’re unsure of the kind of content you should post to engage your followers on social media, consider that 40% of consumers said they feel more connected to brands when they foster conversations online for participation, and 39% of consumers want companies to feature employees. No matter your business model, consumers alike want to feel heard, and they want to see the hard-working people behind the scenes that make your company unique in a highly competitive market.
By creating interactive social content and showcasing senior leadership and employees when appropriate, brands can create deeper connections with their customers leading to increased revenue.
With third-party cookies going away, the customer experience is more valuable than ever. Consumers are demanding greater privacy while expecting greater speed and personalization than ever before. By leveraging first-party data to surprise and delight consumers, enabling AI applications to handle the low-hanging fruit of customer service needs, and utilizing social media to develop deeper connections with your consumers, you can expect an improved customer experience that increases your bottom-line profits.
Ready to take your customer experience to the next level? Schedule time to talk with our experts now.