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Retail advertising beyond the cookies?

Everybody loves cookies. However, in this article, we are going to talk about a different kind of cookie. Online advertising is not going to look the same after 2023. Why? Because Google announced last year that it is letting go of third-party cookies. How is this going to affect FMCG brands and retailers? What can they do to make sure that they still offer personalized experiences to shoppers? 

Well, while this is a big change for every marketer, agency, and client, this is not the end of online advertising. We are going to talk a bit more about how this change is going to affect online advertising, with a focus on retailers and brands, and what can be done to still target customers correctly. 

Farewell, third-party cookies! 

While we might be inclined to say that third-party cookies helped brands and retailers offer hiper-personalized experiences to their customers, cookies were never the best solution. In the last few years, many customers complained about the Big Brother feeling they experience every time they enter an online store and see exactly what they searched for a few days ago. 

For customers, the fact that third-party cookies are going to be gone for good is amazing. After GDPR was put in place, people started to be more careful about their personal data. Letting go of third-party cookies is going to put another brick to the foundation of data privacy online. 

Google is not the only tech giant that is putting data privacy under the microscope. Apple announced that, with their latest update, people could block IDFA at the app level. This means that apps will be required to ask users for permission to collect and share data.

IDFA (Identifier for Advertisers) is a unique identifier for mobile devices and it is used to target and measure the effectiveness of advertising on a user level across mobile devices.

While customers might be happy knowing that their data won’t be collected by other websites, the decision to let go of third-party cookies is going to have a different impact on FMCG brands and retailers. 

How are FMCG brands and retailers affected by this decision?

Most FMCG brands sell their products in-store and you might think that this change is not going to have a great impact on their advertising. This is not true, especially since most brands and retailers are opting for a harmonized retail approach. Selling in-store and marketing both online and offline is a challenge for retailers and brands. The loss of third-party cookies is going to put more pressure on them to turn this decision in their favor. 

To really understand the impact of the loss of third-party cookies, we need to understand how these cookies work. 

First of all, there are two types of cookies used on the internet at the moment:

  • First-party cookies
  • Third-party cookies

First-party cookies are files created and stored by one domain that the customer is visiting at the moment. For example, when a customer enters Amazon.com, the website is going to collect these cookies to better understand the user and offer personalized offers. However, the website is not going to share this data with other websites, vendors, and so on. 

Third-party cookies don’t work in the same way. They are created and stored in the browsing history of any user. Chrome, for instance, can store cookies for each user for a certain amount of time. These cookies can be used by retailers, brands, service providers, and others to create ads for specific users. With these cookies, you can be targeted easily and that’s why they offer the Big Brother feel. 

For instance, if you searched for shorts the other day, simply to see the prices, you might see ads on social media and on other websites you visit later on about shorts. Strange feeling, right?

However, for brands that want to have a presence online, these cookies were a Godsend. Now that they are slowly eliminated by multiple browsers, including Google Chrome, it is going to be a bit harder to target customers as easily. 

FMCG brands and retailers, don’t panic! We’ve got you covered. Here are a few things that you can do to still offer amazing, personalized experiences and offers to your customers, without messing with their data privacy.

What can you do to still offer personalized offers and experiences?

Fortunately, there is still enough time to figure out the next steps, taking into consideration the fact that Google postponed this big change from 2022 to 2023. While most brands still want to get the best they can in the 2 remaining years, it’s best to start searching for alternatives ahead of time. 

   1. More First-Party Data Collection

Start by working with the tools you already have. Having a website gives you the opportunity to collect important data from your users. However, make sure that you always follow GDPR guidelines!

Focusing on first-party cookies can offer customers the possibility to receive more personalized experiences. You can find out what pages and products are appreciated by shoppers and what needs to go. 

   2. Contextual Retail Advertising

Another great option for FMCG brands is to focus on contextual advertising. How? Contextual advertising focuses on placing ads based on the page content through keyword and topic-based targeting, instead of using behavioral targeting. 

For instance, if you are an FMCG brand selling eco-friendly cleaning products your ad could be placed on a blog about eco-friendly products. People who are reading about eco-friendly alternatives would be interested in finding out about your brand and they won’t need to give up their privacy. 

   3. Retail Media

Another great option in the post-cookie era is Retail Media. While it might sound like a new buzzword, retail media is really a hot topic at the moment, especially because of the shift to online shopping, caused by the pandemic. 

How does retail media work? Retail Media helps brands reach shoppers with relevant ads at the digital point of sale on their retailer partner websites or apps. If you are a brand selling on a marketplace, your products will be shown on a competitor’s product page or on a relevant page on the website. This offers customers a great personalized experience and it doesn’t need data collection. 

   4. Focus more on in-store marketing

We are not saying that you should forget about the online environment. However, FMCG brands are more likely to sell right at the point of purchase. This is why we recommend you focus on in-store marketing and find innovative ways to attract attention in grocery stores. By using a robotic display like Tokinomo you can increase brand awareness and sell more. 

While letting go of third-party cookies might not come as a surprise for many, FMCG brands relied heavily on these cookies and that’s why they could be affected. However, making a few changes and focusing on an alternative could help you stay on top of the competition and still offer personalized experiences without affecting privacy.

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