As we evolve towards a “cookieless” world in which first party data will become fundamental, the PPC industry is rapidly adapting. So how will businesses shift their PPC strategies to drive up first-party data and understand their customer behaviour as we approach the 2023 deadline for ending the use of third-party cookies, and what other trends will emerge in the next 12 months?
Below is a brief summary of some of the key trends we can expect to see in 2022 for the PPC industry.
Before we dive deeper into what the loss of third-party data means for businesses, here’s a quick recap of what third, second, first, and zero party data actually means.
Third-Party Data is data from outside your organisation and typically collected by web cookie tracking from multiple sources, such as browsing and advertising.
Second-Party Data is data that is collected, bought and sold between organisations.
First-Party Data is data that is collected by tracking and observing user behaviour and then interpreted by marketers to build out targeting efforts.
Zero-Party Data is data that is willingly provided by a person and specifies things like communication preferences. This might include subscribing to a weekly newsletter.
Third-party cookies have fuelled the growth of digital advertising since as far back as the mid-nineties, giving advertisers the ability to track people across the web and build user profiles based on browsing behaviour. Digital advertisers and PPC specialists have long relied on this third-party data, however these strategies are rapidly becoming obsolete as the scrutiny over data management, storage, and usage intensifies.
Mark Hughes, Head of Marketing at Rest Less, says “there will be an increasing focus on first-party data in 2022, as advertisers are forced to evolve towards a “cookieless” world – both to power remarketing of existing customers and drive acquisition through lookalikes etc… However, it makes the landscape more challenging for start-ups and niche brands – their ability to identify and target potential customers on platforms like Facebook to get themselves off the ground has been greatly reduced.”
Marketers must now pivot their focus away from relying on third-party data, and instead look into building a first-party data strategy that will build trust and still provide a personalised experience for users.
As platforms such as Chrome and Safari remove third-party cookies, this means that the likes of Google will stop selling ads targeted to people’s individual browsing behaviours, and those platforms will no longer allow cookies that collect data.
41% of marketers believe their biggest challenge will be their inability to track the right data.
44% of marketers predict a need to increase their spending by 5% to 25% in order to reach the same goals as 2021
23% of marketing experts plan on investing in email marketing software due to Google’s new policy.
For larger businesses, namely Google, Facebook, Amazon, and Apple, these changes will likely have very little impact, because they have the largest first-party data sets I the world. Those who will likely feel the biggest impact will be other SME’s and enterprises.
For those businesses who don’t have large first-party data sets, a huge impact will be seen on any products which involve remarketing, targeted marketing, and measuring campaign success. With the removal of third-party cookies, retargeting and targeting will become more challenging, although not altogether impossible. You will still, for example, be able to retarget customers using Google’s first-party data within its own tools.
The basic conclusion though, is that we won’t be able to truly measure the impact of the removal of third-party cookies until it happens.
In the meantime, let’s look at what trends we are likely to see emerging through these changes.
Undoubtedly the use of first- and zero-party data is the biggest trend that we are expecting to see this year. In order collect first-party data businesses will need to add tracking pixels to their websites which can record and collate information on customer behaviour. From this information, businesses should be able to paint a fairly accurate picture of their users buying behaviour and be able to build a bidding strategy, ad format, and messaging for each target group.
To collect zero-party data is collected directly from the customer who voluntarily shares their details. Examples of this include a website user who voluntarily signs up for a weekly newsletter. Or a customer who is looking to buy makeup online might take a quiz which determines which product is best for them. What is key to this is the value add. Customers must be motivated to give their details whether that’s by giving really key insights and resources via a newsletter, or by providing the perfect product through a quiz.
As within many different industries, AI and automation are likely to become big players in the PPC space. Automation underpinned aby AI and machine learning will help PPC experts complete tasks more effectively and efficiently.
AI can assist performance tracking, optimise bidding strategies, test ads, and monitor keywords, which means marketers can:
This ensures you are working as efficiently and effectively as possible.
For a long time, Facebook and Google Ads have been the dominant figures in PPC. However, other social platforms are emerging as strong advertising platforms including TikTok and LinkedIn. In terms of PPC specifically, LinkedIn is proving increasingly popular for B2B marketing, and
Bing and Amazon are also experiencing increased usage. If your business is omitting these alternative platforms, you could be missing out and falling behind your competitors.
With the new era of mobile-first marketing came a wave of change across website content, and now, PPC campaigns must follow the same trend. Mobile shopping sales in the UK are predicted to reach £105 billion by the end of 2024, with customer spend expected to increase by 181% by 2025. These statistics illustrate the importance of optimising PPC campaigns to cater for a mobile audience.
As mobile usage continues to exceed desktop usage, interactive design elements of digital advertising, such as visual graphics, video ads and voice search, will be the trends that help businesses become truly mobile first. This is because of factors such as people wanting to read short snippets of information on a smaller screen rather than long paragraphs, and people on-the-go wanting a more hands-off experience with voice search.
Despite the removal of third-party cookies, businesses who invest time into creating smart bidding strategies, ad testing, and keeping up with emerging market trends will still be able to generate great PPC Marketing ROI. To ensure you are maximising your efforts and that you are on the front foot at every turn, it’s important to first of all to make sure you have top PPC talent in your team to put the right processes in place ready to execute and deliver your PPC strategy.
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