third-party cookies

If you take away a marketer’s cookies.

If you take away a marketer’s third-party cookies, they’re going to ask a lot of questions. This article provides answers for Pardot users and beyond to overcome the challenges of losing the third-party cookie.

As most of us are aware by now, in an effort to protect consumers’ privacy, all major browsers’ third-party cookies will be going away. Many browsers have already phased out the ability to use third-party cookies and Google has announced that Chrome will stop the use of third-party cookies before 2022. As many consumers breathe a sigh of relief, many marketers are left in a frenzy. Let’s take a look at what the differences are between third-party cookies and first-party tracking, what this means for Pardot users, and how, as a marketer, you can overcome the challenges this cookie change may cause. 

Third-Party Cookies vs First-Party Tracking

For a quick refresher, let’s review the difference between third-party cookies and first-party tracking: 

Third-party cookies: Cookies set by a website other than the one you are currently using. Do you know when you’re looking at a winter hat on your favorite retailer website that uses third-party cookies and then all of a sudden that hat shows up as a banner advertisement on every website you visit until you just can’t take it anymore and break down and buy the hat? You can thank third-party cookies for that level of cyberstalking.

First-party tracking: This cookie is set by and only by the website that you are currently on. In this case, you are looking at that same winter hat from your favorite retailer but this time they’re using first-party tracking, that retailer can send you an email promoting that hat, place banner ads on their own website/landing pages promoting that hat, or incorporate keywords into their marketing strategy to promote the hat on relevant blogs, but the hat will no longer be popping up on every site you visit.

First-Party Tracking and Pardot

For Pardot users, this means that Pardot will no longer use third-party cookies to enable tracking across domains to connect activity to one prospect. In Pardot, you will want to have only one tracker domain set up. If you have multiple domains, all of the domains should be subdomains associated with the same root domain to ensure Prospects are tracked across all of your sites and assets. Other pre-work before turning on first-party tracking will also need to be completed. Some of these items include a default campaign for your tracker domain, adding a new tracking code to your website, and removing any old website tracking code that exists. The sooner you start transitioning your org away from third-party cookies, the longer you will be able to test the first-party tracking features while still using third-party cookies as a fallback.

Marketing in a First-Party Tracking World

What does this mean for marketers and their digital marketing efforts? The good news is, the demise of third-party cookies doesn’t mean the end of digital marketing, but it will force marketers to think differently. There are a few ways you can revamp your digital marketing strategy to ensure that you are still able to produce a meaningful, tailored experience for your audience:

Contextual-Based Targeting

Contextual targeting uses keywords to target an audience with advertisements. If you are using digital advertising, the ads will need to be relevant to what a viewer is searching for and seeing on their screen. If we’re using the same winter hat example from above, this would mean that rather than the retailer’s advertisement for that hat following the consumer to every site they visit, the hat ad will only show up on sites that are related in some way, for example, a blog that is discussing the best gear to wear in winter. If you’re using paid media, make sure to set up the connector to Pardot to monitor your keywords and seamlessly report on the effectiveness of your campaigns.

Geofencing 

Geofencing will not be affected by the loss of third-party cookies, so continue to incorporate that into your marketing strategy. In Pardot, continue to segment lists by city, state, or region to send highly relevant emails centered around the consumer’s location. This can include incorporating dynamic content into your marketing that tailors to a region or sending highly targeted invites to events.

First-Party Data

Start gathering as much information as you can about visitors. Send visitors to your website, Pardot forms, and landing pages to get them to convert from visitor to prospect. Direct them to a newsletter sign-up, event announcements, or product updates. Driving visitors to convert is going to be key when third-party cookies are no longer available.

Progressive Profiling 

It is now imperative that you start incorporating progressive profiling into your form strategy.  You can use this awesome Pardot function on your forms to collect additional information such as product interest, company size, phone number, etc. (more first-party data other than just email addresses.) The goal here is that you will want to capture anything and everything you will want in order to target your messaging pushed out to prospects.

The obsoletion of third-party cookies is a scary concept for all marketers to grapple with and now that we’re almost halfway through 2021, it is vital for Pardot users to prepare their org for the sunsetting of the third-party cookie. The up-and-coming switch does not mean the end of tracking for your organization, however, there are quite a few technical and strategic considerations to implement prior to toggling the switch from third-party cookies to first-party tracking, specifically in Pardot. Cloudtegic would love to partner with your business to ensure the imminent transition from third-party cookies to first-party tracking is a smooth experience, click here to set up a call.