The Death Of Browser Cookies & What That Means For Online Ads

For 25 years, third-party cookie technology was the main source of DATA that forms the basis of advertising. However, due to growing privacy concerns and regulations, technology companies and more specifically “Internet Browser” companies like Apple (Safari), Google (Chrome), Microsoft (Explorer), and Firefox and others have started to implement stricter privacy policies when it comes to tracking people who are using those browsers through what is known as the third-party cookies. Some browsers—Safari and Mozilla Firefox—already no longer support third-party cookies. The announcement by Google that it too will block these cookies in Chrome by end of 2021 has provided the impetus for a range of responses from martech, adtech, advertisers and publishers.

To be clear, there is no threat to first-party cookies, the cookies used by websites to collect information about users who have chosen to interact with them. On the other hand, Thirdparty cookies are created by domains that are not the website (or domain) that you are visiting. These are usually used for online-advertising purposes and placed on a website through adding scripts or tags. A thirdparty cookie is accessible on any website that loads the thirdparty server’s code.

Take for example the Facebook Pixel ID, which is simply a snippet of code that is embedded within the web site that automatically tracks users’ activities like browsing products, and shopping carts (even abandoned ones) that feeds into the Facebook advertising algorithm that enables businesses to target users on Facebook more efficiently. It is through the Pixel ID that Facebook is able to display an ad showing the product that you left in your cart a few minutes ago.

With browsers blocking that kind of code to be used on web sites, this leaves online platforms like Facebook (along with businesses and online advertising agencies) somehow in the dark and the overall efficiency of online advertising goes down drastically. This poses a big challenge for businesses as they need the data to optimize their online ads but they can no longer rely on third-party cookies to do that.

How To Overcome The Challenge Of No Third-Party Cookies

No longer able to rely on third-party code to collect user data that is essential for optimizing online ads, businesses are now faced with the challenge of collecting that data themselves directly on their sites and then send that data to online platforms like Facebook where that data is used to help them optimize their online ads targeting.

That does not mean that businesses now need to start hiring developers and build software development team as there are other companies that can do that for them. However, this is something that businesses now need to plan and and, more importantly, budget for.

One of the most efficient solutions to help businesses tackle that challenge is the Customer Data Platform, CDP; a solution that collects, unifies, and centralizes the customer data of a business across the different channels, offline and online. That data can then be used by the business to efficiently engage their customers and to also optimize their online ads by sharing that data with the likes of Facebook and Google.

One of the many advantages of a CDP is that it enables the business to easily control which data to share with the online ads platforms as opposed to having third-party cookies blindly sending all information out. This means that business can still be able to optimize their online ads while adhering to the privacy regulations.

The UrbanBuz CDP Platform With Online Ads Integration

With the UrbanBuz Customer Journey Management (CJM) platform, a business can quickly centralize all their customer touch points, online and offline, and with the very user-friendly and intuitive design along with seamless integration with online ads platforms like Facebook and Google, they can easily connect their data to their online ads accounts, control what data to use to optimize their online ads, and measure the ROI of those online ads offline and online.

Customer data is critical to the success of a business now more than ever as privacy regulations are locking down on random and blind data gathering without the knowledge and consent of customers. However, businesses now can take control of their relationships with their customers and gather data they desperately need for their growth in a safe and efficient manner.

To learn more how UrbanBuz can help you optimize your online marketing, click HERE.

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The Retail Business, COVID-19, and The Dark Stores

What is a dark store?

We all know what is the brick & mortar Store but what is a dark store? In simple terms, dark stores are traditional retail stores that have been converted to local fulfillment centers. Traditionally, grocery stores were the leaders in that area, but the concept can be extended to all product retailers, including fashion, beauty products, fragrances, home furnishings or electronics.

What happened in the early days of COVID-19?

With the COVID-19 pandemic, retailers had to completely shut down their retail stores and ended up with a lot of physical space housing a lot of products that they were unable to sell.

Businesses that did not have e-commerce presence, rushed to establish their e-commerce sites only to realize that it is not a simple, cheap, and quick endeavor. Those who already had e-commerce capability, soon ran into the delivery logistics nightmare which resulted in frustrating delays and much-longer-than-usual order times, similar to what Amazon has experienced worldwide.

On the other hand, some agile brands just switched their physical stores in city centers and malls to dark stores serving their neighborhoods, in order to shorten delivery times and provide a faster and more convenient shopping experience.

The rise of the hybrid store

Though Dark Stores were a necessary move during the lockdown period of the pandemic, they will not be the right solution going forward after lockdown restrictions get lifted.

On one hand we acknowledge that consumers who have experienced, for months now, home delivery, curbside pickup, and online shopping; would very likely continue doing that to a certain extent after the COVID-19 dust settles. On the other hand, we also acknowledge that consumers still value the tangible experience that comes with being able to interact with and purchase items in store.

Brick & Mortar stores have to quickly evolve to becoming hybrid stores or what we call true omni-channel stores, in order to make more efficient use of their expensive physical space and their staff. They will continue to serve partly as dark stores for their neighborhood while serving a certain number of walk-in customers at a time, respecting the social distancing rules.

Efficient technology solutions needed 

With the right out-of-the box technology solutions and proper customer data,  omni-channel stores can become a reality without adding a lot of stress on the brand team. By leveraging the proper communication channels like WhatsApp along with automation and easy access to customers microsites, a business can continue to provide great customer experience (including ‘click and collect’ or ‘buy online and pickup in store’) and generate needed traffic and revenues during these tough times.

To learn more how UrbanBuz can help you turn you retail store into a hybrid dark store through our AI powered customer journey platform, click HERE.

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