Cookies have long been used by advertisers who want to track consumer activity on the internet in order to boost their advertising efforts.
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Essentially, cookies work like this: the cookie tracks the consumer, then the advertiser can better understand this consumer and address it in a targeted manner. The practice has had its place, but its time is drawing to a close.
In fact, Google and Apple recently made dramatic changes to cookies that anticipate a future without them. Lots of people have since spoken about how this will change the ad landscape, but there is one more important point to include in this conversation: how these changes will affect B2B and B2C advertisers differently. Here you can find out more about how each business model is likely to play out.
First party data versus third party data
Before getting into the topic of B2B vs. B2C, it is important to understand the different types of data. First-party data is the data on a company's website that is owned by the company itself. First party data is not affected by these cookie changes as it already belongs to the company. Companies can continue to see and track visitor activity on their own websites and channels as they see fit.
However, data from third-party providers are affected. This is the data that consumers track on the web on websites that are not your own. This can include browsing websites, purchase history, and more.
Similar: How a privacy-focused social media platform won millions of customers without paid marketing
B2B vs. B2C
When it comes to the impact of setting cookies on corporate advertising, B2B companies need to be viewed very differently than those in the B2C world. To start with, their go-to-market strategies are completely different. In recent years, B2B marketers have turned their backs on throwing a wide web. Instead, many are now choosing to create an account-based experience (ABX).
How is that related to cookies? Well, the goal of removing cookies is to protect consumer privacy. Instead of tracking individual data, in a cookie-free world, consumer data is displayed at the cohort level. Since ABX only identifies individual users as part of an organization or account, this is a great fit for setting third-party cookies. In fact, ABX's account-based targeting is similar to cohort targeting. In B2B, those who take a true ABX approach with intent data are already using an effective form of context targeting and are ready to compete in a cookie-free world.
B2C companies are a different story. These companies actually focus on individuals so the move to cohort data is sure to mess up advertising strategies. However, Google says its third-party cookies will expire in the next year or two, so the change will be more gradual than many people realize. Google is working on alternative ad initiatives that will generate at least 95% of conversions per dollar spent compared to cookie-based advertising, so other options will become available.
Similar: How Google's Upcoming Privacy Settings Will Affect Digital Marketing
Prepare for change
Now that you are aware of the main differences in how setting cookies affects B2B and B2C businesses, what's next? Businesses in every category must plan to modernize their approach to advertising and make the most of this next wave of privacy data.
The best way for B2B companies to accommodate these changes is to first check that their technology is ready for it:
Wondering if your marketing automation and account based solutions are based on multiple data sources or if they are mostly based on cookies? The former is ideal, of course, as the latter would mean you are severely affected.
Think about how your systems relate to intent data; is it through the use of IP address identification or cookies? Again, the former is what you want it to be. If your technique isn't prepared for these changes, while you have the time, it's a good idea to consider other options now.
Detect red flags in certain solutions that are billed as effective (e.g., email signature spyware and chatbot tools can clutter your data and generate inaccurate signals.)
B2C companies should stick with their existing advertising strategies for now, but keep in mind that the future will eventually be without cookies. Be on the lookout for alternative advertising strategies from big players like Google and be ready to go ahead without becoming so dependent on cookies.
It is always positive when technology providers put consumers and their privacy first, but it can be challenging. As long as you understand how these latest changes can affect your business, you can make the most of this next wave of advertising. Remember, cookies can crumble, but your ad strategy doesn't have to.
Related: 3 Reasons Why Privacy Is Important To Your Business, Brand, And Future