Don’t panic: Google’s lockdown on customer data is a good thing

March 18, 2021

Google pixel changes

As Google phases out support for tools that track customer-identifying information, your fan data won’t be impacted

On the heels of their 2020 decision to phase third-party cookies over the next two years, Google announced earlier this month they will soon no longer support tools – including third-party pixels – that track user activity and Personally Identifiable Information (PII) online. Instead, Google’s entire advertising ecosystem – including their Chrome browser and other web products – will be powered by privacy-preserving APIs that prevent individual tracking.

Today, consumers who browse an online shoe store, for example, may later receive a promotional email from the company and be followed online with targeted ads as they browse other websites, social media platforms and app stores, even if they never explicitly provided their name or email address to the company. This type of targeted collecting, tracking and use of customer-identifying information, without the consumer’s consent or knowledge, is what Google aims to eliminate. 

Your CDP does not track your customers as they browse the web, access third-party sites, or scroll through social media; it simply collects and consolidates the data your customers knowingly share with you, enabling you to build detailed fan profiles, identify traits and develop insights into your fans’ behavior.

What Google’s privacy changes mean for your CDP

The short answer: Nothing. Because your CDP consolidates and uses your first- and second-party data, Google’s restrictions on data tracking won’t impact the content, value or effectiveness of your CDP now or in the future.

The long answer: We believe the most effective way to market to your fans is by connecting with them in a meaningful, relevant way, which requires gathering data and insights directly from your customers with a privacy-first, consent-driven mindset. The customer information housed in your CDP is made up of first- and second-party data that comes directly from your fans via your brand’s owned systems – such as your ticketing system, your email marketing platform, and your CRM – as well as your various digital properties, like your e-commerce system and first-party pixels embedded in your website.

Your CDP does not track your customers as they browse the web, access third-party sites, or scroll through social media; it simply collects and consolidates the data your customers knowingly share with you, enabling you to build detailed fan profiles, identify traits and develop insights into your fans’ behavior. And, with our Facebook Custom Audience Integration, you have the power to create and market to lookalike audiences using your existing fan data to continually reach new fans and grow your customer base.

The true value of using first- and second-party CDP data

Effective, relevant targeted marketing can be done without needing to track users as they move across the web; relying on your first- and second-party data gives you unparalleled insight into who your fans  are, how their behaviors change over time, and how effectively you’re engaging with them through marketing and other outreach. We welcome Google’s announcement because, in addition to enhancing privacy for digital users, it will push marketers to learn more about their audiences and connect with customers on a more personal level. It also presents a number of opportunities for you to:

  • Remain focused on your first-party data and invest less in appending more generalized third-party data.
  • Leverage more of the machine learning models in your CDP to unlock customer journeys and identify the most likely paths to conversion, as well as predict, plan for and respond to changing fan behavior. 
    • The robust insights and segmentation options built into your CDP help you to better understand your audiences and monitor when, how, and how often your fans engage with your content. This information helps you identify what’s not working so you can focus on what is.
  • Use the Cohort Builder and Cohort Analyzer to create custom lists made from accurate, up-to-date fan data from as recent as the day before and export these lists to your chosen digital advertising platforms like Facebook and Google. 
    • Using your custom lists as a starting point, you can leverage the lookalike audience capabilities of these platforms to expand your reach and grow new audiences.

While Google’s steps toward a more private and secure web browsing experience pose a significant challenge to advertisers who rely heavily on Data Management Platforms (DMPs) and other tools that track customer-identifiable information extracted by third-party cookies and pixels, the consent-driven, privacy-first approach to data collection that feeds your CDP ensures your fan data will remain accessible, relevant and accurate while also respecting and safeguarding your fans’ personal data.

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