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Identity Resolution 101: Keys to Embracing 3rd Party Cookie Regulations Using 1st Party Data Strategy

identity-resolution-101

Marketers from all types and sizes of companies are concerned about the new regulations restricting third-party cookies on a customer’s browser and the effects it will have on advertising and data collection. Currently, customer identity is often measured by combining all types of online activity with third-party cookies and identifying who the customer is at all points in their journey. The practice of connecting all the data/online points of a customer is considered identity resolution and is used widely across all business verticals.

With new browser restrictions and regulations such as GDPR and CCPA, and moderating the placement of these cookies, customer identity resolution will become more difficult. Marketers and executives alike fear losing this ability to reach customers through advertising and remarketing campaigns. Instead of fearing the loss of third-party cookies, marketers should focus on building customer relationships, not just impressions or conversions.

We’ll explain how to use and improve upon the first-party data you are already collecting by:

  • Improving customer relationships by utilizing your current Customer Data Platform
  • Utilizing data clean rooms and server side tracking to fine-tune remarketing audiences for advertising spend
  • Ensuring compliance and monitoring for approved user data collection to align with GDPR and CCPA regulations

Customer Data Platforms: Improve Customer Experiences Without 3rd Party Tracking

Customer Data Platforms (CDPs) help to manage your first-party data, consumer privacy, and data rights. The actual purpose of a CDP is to connect ALL of your tools and platforms so that you have one persistent, unique identifier (created by the CDP) across all of these tools and platforms. The diagram below outlines the typical data flow for a CDP, which is positioned in the center of the diagram as the unified customer database.

Understanding the Roles of These Various Platforms

Analytics, DMPs, DSPs, and CDPs can overlap but have important differences. Many large corporations today typically have both a DSP contract + DMP/CDP contract + Digital Analytics contract, but the outlook may change due to GDPR and CCPA regulations. Some key differences are:

  • A DMP typically utilizes third-party cookies, which are becoming less reliable – (they are already gone in Safari and Mozilla Firefox, and soon to be gone in Chrome in 2022). Some people argue that DMPs are dying off since they rely on third-party cookies, where CDPs and GA360 rely primarily on first-party cookies and are the way of the future.
  • A CDP, like Google Analytics, can give insights into web traffic and traffic from other linked or imported sources. Along with traffic sources, GA 360 can serve as a “light” DMP and/or CDP, because you can integrate other data sources with GA. With all this data combined, you can build audiences in GA to pass to DV360 and Google Ads for audience targeting, as well as Similar Audiences, which act or provide the similar value as a DMP.

More information on how a CDP like Google Analytics can assist in your current marketing strategy be found in our previous blog post. 

Data Clean Rooms Open Doors for More Advanced Analysis

Another solution for marketers is to use a “data clean room” in a platform like Google’s Ads Data Hub (ADH), to create remarketing audiences and improve your advertising. ADH is the only data clean room accessible to most advertisers. 

Data clean rooms open doors for more advanced analysis. Companies interested in data attribution, customer lifetime value, segmentation, and a more in-depth understanding of their customers and advertising practices will find data clean rooms helpful. ADH offers insights into advertising from Google Campaign Manager, Display & Video 360 (DV360), Google Ads, and YouTube. Plus, Google is reportedly looking to expand this to cover Search Ads 360 (SA360) in the near future. Learn more about Data Clean Rooms and how ADH can assist your remarketing and advertising efforts.

Compliance and Monitoring for Approved Data Collection

The final step in this process is to ensure your data is compliant and not collecting any information on customers without their consent. While we are all familiar by now with GDPR, CCPA, ePrivacy, etc. – and hopefully have gone through steps to be compliant under their guidelines – it’s also important to implement and enforce privacy-focused processes within your organization. 

  • Maintain visibility into all sources of data collection on your digital properties
  • Define a list of approved platforms and collection behavior
  • Regularly review your “Approved Platform” policy
  • Ongoing policy monitoring of data collection behavior on your digital properties

Without regular maintenance of your governance policies, you risk being the next organization facing regulatory fines and an erosion of consumer trust. 

The New Normal

Privacy is the new normal. Users have increasing expectations of businesses to properly protect the information they are collecting from them. To thrive in this new environment, you must implement the processes necessary to not only create privacy programs but to maintain them.  Utilizing a tag auditing and monitoring platform like Tag Inspector provides unparalleled confidence that your data is complete, compliant, and efficient across your organization. Learn more about Tag Inspector and compliance monitoring here.

By focusing on building customer relationships, thus building a loyal following, customers will be more inclined to share their data. These loyal customers will help to improve your 1st party data via creating accounts on your site, logging in, and consenting to share their data. Fearing the demise of third-party cookies will no longer be a factor, as you’ll have more improved first-party data to view your customer journey and create identity resolution for your future campaigns.

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