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Marketing

Marketing your eCommerce Brand in a Cookieless World

Changes to the digital privacy landscape mean that it’s more important than ever for your eCommerce brand to become less reliant on third-party cookies. Understanding how your targeting, advertising campaigns and ultimately conversions will be affected is key to overcoming a cookieless world.

In this post, we cover what the platforms are doing, what you can do and how Cake can help your eCommerce brand when cookies get dunked.

What are the platforms doing?

While it might be old news that third-party cookies can be bad for consumers, the digital ecosystem needs time to adapt to these changes. Google delaying the timeline for ditching third-party cookies may have given platforms time to develop new solutions to help brands thrive in a cookieless future.

We contacted platform representatives and researched what marketing channels and digital tool providers are doing to overcome a cookieless world. 

Shopify

Shopify released their Future of Commerce report highlighting the challenges that a cookieless world will bring for brands and said that online retailers should “rehumanize their brands through communities, transparency, and shared values”.

Shopify encourages brands to set up and use server-side tracking. Shopify merchants can use the relevant Sales Channels, for example Facebook, to set up their pixel; although, for those who are not on the Plus plan, you previously may have found it tricky to implemented server side tracking like Facebook’s Conversion API without access to edit code on checkout pages.

Google Analytics

If you work in digital marketing or eCommerce, Google Analytics 4 should be on your radar. As a privacy-centric tool, GA4 has been designed to work with or without cookies. The analytics platform uses machine learning and statistical modelling to fill in data gaps as the world becomes less dependent on cookies, they call this ‘blended data’. 

Additionally, Google Analytics 4 uses first-party cookies, this type of cookie is compliant with new privacy laws like GDPR and the California Consumer Privacy Act.

Meta

Meta currently does not have a public statement or any information on how they plan to deal with the removal of cookies; However, the conversion API that came into play to combat iOS14 back in April 2021, will be an important tracking element in this new age of data collection. 

Snapchat

Snapchat plans to introduce new techniques to provide the most holistic, real-time view of results through advanced conversion modelling

Pinterest

Transitioning from relying on their Pinterest Tag, the platform have introduced their own Conversions API through the Shopify channel. The platforms Conversions API is currently in open Beta. So, any account that would like to use it can be added to the allowlist and they would need a developer's assistance to implement it. 

The other thing that is becoming more widely used in a cookieless world is Engagement retargeting. Moving forwards, we would recommend building audiences from previous Objectives, Campaigns, Ad Groups or even Pins that you have ran.

Webgains (Affiliate marketing)

When it comes to Affliate marketing, a cookieless future is no real cause for concern as alternatives to third-party cookie tracking already exist; some programs have switched to server-to-server tracking, and others have developed their alternatives to cookie tracking.

Webgains have been phasing out third-party cookies for a while with all their cookie tracking being set up as first party, meaning no impact should be seen once Google phases out third-party Cookies. They use two types of tracking across their platform, device and cookie.  

What can you do?

The banning of third-party cookies isn’t all bad, it makes way for more efficient methods of tracking and attribution, and gives brands a chance to strengthen their data pots ethically.

Here are 3 actions you can take to overcome a cookieless future:

A number 1 in a circle

First-party data 

Is profit dead in a privacy-first web? The answer is no. Brands should leverage first-party data as a path to profit; however, gaining compliance is key, so explore ways to gain compliance while engaging users. You own first-party data, but in order to gather it you must build a trusting relationship with your audience and earn their consent to having their information stored.

Brand building & social commerce

Boost brand awareness using paid ads or out-of-home advertising, use influencers to help build relevant lookalike audiences, provide valuable content to your audience and build a community online. Being able to rely on your current customers as brand advocates (and generating great User Generated Content as a result!) is a fantastic way to stop relying on third-party cookies, so invest in a good CRM platform and plan out your email/SMS marketing strategy.

Conversion modelling & attribution

With gaps in data widening in the online world, website conversion measurement can benefit from automation expertise like conversion modelling. Modelling conversions will allow you to have a more accurate view of customer behaviour by observing user signals through first-party cookies, such as device, date and time, and conversion type.

A new approach to measurement

Switching to data-driven attribution across your paid marketing channels and analytics will give you more accurate results. A data-driven attribution model analyses all of the relevant data during the marketing moments that lead up to a conversion. Paired with automated bidding strategies, it could also help to maximise ROI on your campaigns.

How can Cake help?

Brand owners shouldn’t have the stress of navigating a cookieless future on top of managing their eCommerce business, Cake can provide full eCommerce support and expertise. 

From eCommerce consultancy and brand strategy, to campaign planning and analytical insights, the Cake team are ready for the challenges and opportunities that a cookieless future will bring.

Autumn Blakeman

Author

Autumn Blakeman

Senior eCommerce Account Executive