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August 20, 2020
With Google’s announcement to ditch the long-beloved cookie a.k.a. targeting pixel, many digital advertisers are scrambling to reevaluate their brand’s digital strategy. How will we target our best customers or potential new customers when we lose insight into their online behaviors?
Fret not Captain Digital Marketer, PunchDrunk Digital has you covered. There are multiple proven digital tactics that have been living on the cookieless diet and thriving.
#1: Contextual Targeting
Contextual Targeting is a no-brainer when looking at cookieless digital strategies. This digital tactic goes beyond the individual and focuses on website content. With the ability to target both on web article headlines as well as keywords found within the article content, you can build a comprehensive strategy that ensures your ads are in front of your ideal audience.
For example, you own a Motorcycle Dealership. You want to make sure new riders are aware of your motorcycle drivers ed classes and low-cost entry bikes for the new rider. With Contextual Targeting, you simply run a content targeted campaign and you can find your ad placed next to articles that new riders would be reading like Throttle Jockey’s article “10 tips for new motorcycle riders” or ValuePenguin’s article, “Average cost of motorcycle insurance.”
Pro Tip on Contextual Targeting: Make sure you partner with a digital advertising agency that knows how to build negative keywords into your Contextual strategy. For instance, you probably wouldn’t want your ad appearing next to a news story on a big motorcycle accident.
If the cookie is dead, leaning on physical data points is more necessary. A great example of this is someone’s physical address. If you have ever done a direct mail campaign, this digital tactic should make total sense to you.
Using either your mailing list or curating a list for you, we build micro-geofences around each address and then target ads to just those addresses. It’s taking the ad out of the mailbox and putting it in the household’s mobile phone, laptop, or even their TV.
Here’s a great explainer video that goes into Addressable GeoFencing in more detail: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MftvbcgtDAc
Pro Tip on Addressables: Set up conversion zone tracking. This will allow you to see how people responded to your ads by visiting your physical location.
Search is dead. Long live Search. One thing we know for certain, search is going to remain king of the digital kingdom at least for the foreseeable future. We search for everything, from “tacos near me”, to “what is the fastest mile time ever recorded”, hint it isn’t me. And though search is evolving, (check out our article: Local SEO Vs. Organic SEO ) as a collective we still rely pretty heavily on the search bar. Google alone receives about 63,000 searches every second.
Investing your time and energy in a comprehensive SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and PPC (Pay Per Click) campaign can’t go wrong. But make no mistake, a cookieless world could impact search in a mighty way if we are to see a loss of personalization. The trickle effect of this will no doubt be noticed most on those that were previously running search strategies and didn’t prepare effectively for the loss of the cookie.
Pro Tip: Search for your searches. Many advertisers don’t conduct searches for the keywords they bid on. We recommend buying a super cheap tablet or laptop and leave it just for conducting searches. Don’t have anyone create a chrome account so that the results are more ambiguous and therefore, more likely what your customers might see.
#4: Email Marketing
The return of Email Marketing is here. Much like Addressables, the use of a physical data point, say an email address, circumvents the need for a cookie and allows you to target people directly. Email marketing is a tricky channel and reminds of Narnia. There are some really great places to visit, but there are some shadowy areas that are best to avoid.
There are tons of different ways to tackle your email strategy, from using platforms like Constant Contact or MailChimp, to running sponsored ads directly through GMAIL. The most important thing we stress is to monitor your results. Too often we see people go all “set it and forget it” on Email Marketing and spend more time crafting the emails than checking to see if there were actually read. Know your open rates, check your link clink activity, and become good friends with your analytics. After all, digital marketing shouldn’t be a guessing game.
Pro Tip on Email Marketing: Custom templates and good headlines. I know, it’s two pro tips for the price of one, but both are essential. The headline gets the action. It needs to be good, honest (don’t be a clickbait scoundrel), and direct. Then when you do get someone to engage your email, make sure your template stands out. We want good design, pleasing to the eye, and something that captures the essence of your brand.
#5: OTT – Connected TV
Yes, this one gets hairy because currently, OTT has a lot of cookie-based features. You can match someone’s search and online behaviors and target them with streaming television commercials, but when we enter the cookieless zone that capability may be gone. So why include OTT on this list? Because marketers have and still are buying television commercials without a cookie. It’s called broadcast television and it works on rating points and programing indexing. You can match your ideal target demographic to the streaming shows that appeal to them.
This is a tough pill to swallow for a lot of digital marketers out there, but traditional media does work and it only works better when in partnership with digital. For those of you new to the scene, OTT or Connected TV is the ability to serve television commercials to streaming subscribers. But wait, isn’t that just… TV commercials? Yep, and that’s our point. The loss of OTT sophistication hurts, saying goodbye to the cookie will be tough, but there are decades of great marketing strategies that occurred before the cookie was ever born and there’s no reason for it stop now.
Pro Tip for OTT: Know what your buying. Too many people are running OTT campaigns thinking they are getting their commercials placed in front of people watching TV, but many OTT companies are really taking those ads and dumping them on mobile devices, laptops, and low-level streaming sites. Ask your provider for what networks your streaming television ads are placed on. If they can’t answer, that’s a bad sign. Follow up with what percentage of your ads are actually appearing on television. If they can’t answer, that’s a really bad sign.
How to Learn More About These Cookieless Digital Tactics?
There’s a lot to talk about when it comes to the cookie and even more when it comes to digital strategy. That’s why we are here to help. Feel free to contact us and we will be glad to help in any way we can.
PunchDrunk Digital, a little bit PUNCHDRUNK a whole lot of STRATEGY.