By Corvidae

Retail marketers have had a tough time of it over the last few years.

Brexit, rising costs, the pandemic – to name a few!

And then just to top it all off, there are some pretty huge marketing changes that have happened recently, and more on the horizon, that will continue to affect customer acquisition strategies.

A new study conducted by Corvidae, in partnership with Censuswide, has taken a deep dive into one such challenge that’s set to change our marketing forever: Google’s removal of third-party cookies.

What is the survey about?

The survey explores three core areas to getting set up for success in the cookieless future:

  • Knowledge and preparation: How marketers are viewing the removal of cookies and current levels of preparation.
  • A review of existing solutions: How marketers are reacting to existing solutions – and if they plan to make any changes to their MarTech stack.
  • Life after cookies: How marketers plan to optimise their activity following the removal of third-party cookies.

It surveyed 150 CMOs, Marketing Directors, Performance Marketing Directors, Ecommerce Directors, Heads of Analytics and Heads of Data within the retail sector, identifying how retailers are preparing for the change, as well as the challenges they will face in 2023 and beyond.

What are the key findings?

So, what did the survey uncover? And what key stats can you use to your advantage if you choose to build out your cookieless strategy?

The overarching result from the report is that retail marketers aren’t sufficiently prepared for the impending removal of third-party cookies by Google.

This perhaps doesn’t come as a surprise given the chopping and changing we’ve seen from Google on the subject.

Over 80% are still reliant on cookies to support their marketing activities and measurement, with just over half (51%) stating that finding a new solution is only a medium priority for them.

85% shared that they believe there are sufficient solutions for the removal of cookies. This is despite almost half stating they will be using Google’s replacement technologies.

For plenty of retail marketers, making the move from a technology that has been the bedrock for reporting and analytics for decades is difficult. And that’s reflected in the results from the survey, as a quarter have placed finding a replacement solution as either low priority or not on their radar at all.

With 97% of respondents sharing they are concerned that the loss of third-party cookies will impact their ability to understand marketing effectiveness, many businesses are considering a cookieless future.

Despite the urgency to find a new solution seemingly lax amongst retailers, a disparity between certain functions was highlighted within the results.

Ecommerce Directors (38%) and Performance Marketing Directors (43%) have marked finding alternate methods as a high priority, which is far above the level of respondents as a whole. This could be caused by their proximity to marketing reporting and optimisation, compared to other functions surveyed.

Whether there is urgency or not, methods for understanding performance should be fit for purpose. Yet, the report findings around this topic show that this may be a struggle.

The headline statements include:

  • 89% are confident identity graphs and tools are a compliant solution
  • 84% plan to make the switch to GA4
  • 43% are reviewing Google’s replacement technologies

The majority still believe they can rely on tools like the IAB’s Unified ID – which was subject to a GDPR-compliance ruling by the EU – or Chrome’s tools, despite their likely 2% opt in rate.

Businessman use tablet and smart phone for Stock Market

The majority still believe they can rely on tools like the IAB’s Unified ID – which was subject to a GDPR-compliance ruling by the EU – or Chrome’s tools, despite their likely 2% opt in rate.

Most intend to use GA4 in the future despite the 2022 EU finding ruling it uncompliant under GDPR and local DPAs in France, Italy, Austria and other EU countries declaring it illegal, creating hundreds of legal cases already.

Why does it matter for retailers?

In a time of so much uncertainty for retail, marketers benefit from the ability to clearly tie the impact of their marketing activity back to revenue for the business.

In an ideal world, your customers would see your product or brand once, and instantly go to check out. But we know that’s not often the case.

People are interacting with your marketing content across multiple channels, devices and even locations. And cookies aren’t keeping up.

As soon as a user switches from laptop to mobile – or even browser to app! – the journey is broken, and third-party cookies tend to struggle to put the pieces together.

Retailers are beginning to focus on opportunities for low-cost acquisition across their marketing mix.

What can you do to get set for the cookieless future?

So, what can you do to ensure your retail business, and marketing measurement, is futureproofed?

Here are our top three tips:

  1. Get ahead of your competition: if the findings from this report show anything, it’s that many businesses aren’t prepared for a life without third-party cookies. That means plenty of your competitors are falling behind. Getting a robust strategy in place now to minimise the impact of the change on your marketing efforts will give you a strong competitive advantage.
  2. Do your research: there are a lot of cookie replacements popping up across the market. It’s important that you take the time to understand how you currently use third-party cookies, what you need from a replacement, and what will help you achieve your goals.

Educate the business: this change will impact more than just marketers. At the end of the day, this is a change that will greatly affect your ability to create more revenue in a cost-efficient way. So, making sure the entire business understands the real impact is key to ensuring you can protect the bottom line.

If you want to learn more about the latest industry insights, download your copy of the report here.

Published 13/09/2023




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