Cookie Countdown: Preparing for a B2B Marketing Future Without Third-Party Cookies
The world of digital marketing and advertising is poised to change forever. Chief marketing officers (CMOs) and advertising professionals face the looming demise of third-party cookies, which have long served as the foundation of most digital advertising programs.
With third-party cookies gone, those in the industry will have to dramatically change how they target prospects and customers. That’s left many wondering the same thing: What can we do to prepare?
Thankfully, Google has given everyone some breathing room. While third-party cookies have already been phased out on Safari and Firefox, Google Chrome has postponed doing the same until the end of 2023. So for the moment, B2B marketers have some time to plan—but the clock is ticking.
Now is the perfect time for marketing pros to explore new strategies and technologies that can help them reach target accounts and guide prospects through the buying journey.
Let’s go through the pros and cons of some cookie alternatives and take a close look at why B2B marketers should strongly consider the powerful combination of omnichannel account-based marketing (ABM) and IP-based technologies.
How the Cookie Crumbles
For the uninitiated, all this talk of third-party cookies and automated digital marketing strategies might seem a bit like trying to read an ancient Mesopotamian script. So what exactly are third-party cookies, and why do they play such a big role in digital advertising?
The best place to start is with an explanation of first-party cookies. First-party cookies are small pieces of text code that, as the name implies, are dropped into your browser by the owner of whatever website you are currently on. They are largely centered on improving user experience and mostly assist in:
- personalizing browser experiences based on customer settings;
- storing helpful data like usernames and language preferences; and
- saving and storing user shopping cart contents, even when the browser has been closed.
On the flip side, third-party cookies are almost entirely devoted to automating and tracking online buyer behavior for programmatic advertising and retargeting. These cookies are dropped into a user’s browser from outside sources, enabling advertisers to:
- track user activity across multiple sites;
- develop logs of anonymized browsing behavior patterns; and
- Use those logs to target users with relevant display ads.
And why are they being phased out? It’s all about data privacy. Customers at large now demand greater visibility and control over how their personal data is used and shared. New regulations are emerging to address these issues, and Google, Microsoft, and Apple are following suit.
The Pros and Cons of the Basic Cookie-Less Alternatives
Some obvious and basic cookie-less options are available today. Marketers could fall back on contextual/keyword advertising. For example, Google can match your ads to relevant articles based on keywords, URLs, and apps. But since these ads will be served to a wide range of people that may or may not be on your target account list, there could be significant ad wastage.
B2B marketers might also use direct publisher advertising, the most traditional method of advertising. Marketers buy ad placements directly from specific business publishers such as the FT, WSJ, or the New York Times. The goal is to place ads on websites that you think your potential buyers frequent. But again, there’s no guarantee. It’s just a guessing game with ad wastage.
LinkedIn advertising is a growing channel for B2B marketers, given that it is the only social platform dedicated to B2B. However, ad CPMs are very high so using LinkedIn ads with a blanket approach to building awareness in your target accounts would be a huge hit to your marketing budget. LinkedIn advertising needs to be used wisely.
Overall, these three options all result in ad wastage and require significant ad spend to move the needle on target account engagement and revenue growth. A more sophisticated but effective alternative is omnichannel account-based marketing (ABM), with a coordinated mix of channels, IP technology, and first party data used at each stage of the buying journey.
Activate Omnichannel ABM for a Cookie-Less Future
Omnichannel ABM aims to deliver consistent, highly curated, and sequential messaging to target accounts across digital channels throughout the buying group journey. Hundreds of large B2B companies in technology, manufacturing, life sciences, and business services are seeing strong ROI with the following cookie-less omnichannel ABM “cocktail”:
1. Account-Based IP Display Advertising and Retargeting for Awareness
Account-based IP display advertising is a reliable privacy-compliant way to reach and engage key accounts early and throughout the buying journey. When integrated with a DSP, IP-based ABM platforms enable B2B marketers to send relevant, personalized, and “always-on” display ads to buying groups within target accounts wherever and whenever they are online—using their company IP address, division, and geographical location. Then, marketers can execute account-based retargeting based on ad views or website visits.
This is the best method for building awareness among known and unknown stakeholders within your key accounts. This has become crucial in today’s B2B world where buying groups are larger than ever and decision makers tend to remain anonymous for most of the digital buying journey.
Overall, it’s a zero-wastage, proactive outreach strategy. You know your target accounts are seeing your ads without having to wait for them to initiate the engagement. You’ll start raising awareness early and begin to shape their thinking before the competition.
2. Meta Account-Based Marketing and Retargeting for Consideration
The average person in the U.S., Europe, Africa, and the Middle East (EMEA), and the Asia Pacific region (APAC) spends more than two hours each day on social media, and it’s now possible to make Meta’s social platforms work for account-based B2B marketing. Marketers see the best results when introducing these channels during the consideration phase.
Using the advanced demographic targeting capabilities of Facebook and Instagram, you can deliver ads to users who have identified a target account as their employer. And with your ABM platform integrated with these social channels, you can create custom audiences to retarget key accounts that have visited your website. These audience lists can get highly targeted, narrowed down to key account members who have engaged with a specific product page, landing page, or piece of content on your site.
3. LinkedIn ABM for Decision
The optimal time to leverage LinkedIn for ABM is during the decision phase. When a key account shows a surge in buying intent, B2B marketers can build audiences for LinkedIn Advertising and Sponsored Messaging based on organization name and job title.
This is a proven way to overcome the high cost of LinkedIn advertising solutions, reduce wastage, and get the best bang for your buck.
4. ABM Email for Decision
Email is still a powerful way to engage with known buying group members in target accounts, and it is particularly helpful for building consensus with known buying group members during the decision phase. Some ABM platforms offer native email marketing automation. These platforms can help map the email addresses of known contacts to target accounts during initial campaign planning. And as anonymous visitors fill out contact information on your website forms, IP sensing technology can automatically associate their contact details with the right target accounts.
Email campaigns and templates can be set up within the platform—where dynamically-populated fields create highly customized messages. With much of the work automated, it’s easier than ever for B2B marketers to send timely meeting requests and offers via email when target accounts are getting ready to buy.
Seeing the Big Picture
The key to gaining a competitive advantage in B2B marketing today lies in using data to drive marketing and sales resource prioritization. Despite the death of third party cookies, marketers are still sitting on a huge untapped gold mine of data to drive target account engagement and revenue growth.
To leverage this opportunity, B2B marketers should choose an IP-based omnichannel ABM platform with an integrated account-data platform (ADP) that directly integrates with DSPs, Meta, Google, and LinkedIn—and can unite engagement data from website, email, and advertising activity at an account level.
By bringing all this marketing data together that would typically reside in silos, account-based analytics can uncover valuable first-party intent data based on account-level engagement across marketing channels. Marketing can pass these insights on when buying intent surges, so sales teams can adapt their tactics in a timely manner.
The end result is higher win rates, bigger deals and more revenue from target accounts—and no third-party cookies involved.
Considering the benefits, data-driven omnichannel ABM is well-poised to become the future of B2B marketing. While the end of 2023 may seem far away now, it will be here in the blink of an eye. The death of third-party cookies is inevitable, so it’s time to get prepared.
Melanie Parker is director of client solutions and operations at Jabmo, a?leading provider of?account-based marketing (ABM)?solutions to the?manufacturing and?life?sciences?industries. To learn more, visit jabmo.com.