Does Your Customer Data Speak Cookie? It should - Lift361

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Does Your Customer Data Speak Cookie? It should

By Ed Higdon. Posted in Insight

November 29, 2019

Retailers work hard to collect and manage critical data about customers, data that allows them to develop segments for targeted marketing communication. Given all the resources that go into data collection, it should be simple and seamless to use that data for every type of marketing.

In direct-to-consumer cases like email and direct mail, it is very easy to use that data. In other cases, for example with Google and social media, it’s not always quite so seamless. Digital marketing platforms (DMPs) have their own “languages,” and retail data sets and customer segments don’t always “speak” to those platforms. It’s like trying to fit a square peg into a round hole.

Does that mean that customer data is useless when it comes to DMPs? Must retailers start from scratch and keep their digital profiles separate from their in-store and e-commerce profiles and segments they worked so hard to cultivate? The short answer: No. However, getting retail data to “talk” to DMPs does require somewhat of a language translation that can be easily used to target existing and prospective customers online.

That language? Cookies.

Why Cookies?

A cookie is a small data snippet that attaches to a web user’s browser whenever they visit a website. That cookie’s code is stored on the user’s browser for a set period of time determined by the creators of the cookie. That cookie “attaches” to the user’s profile in the browser and impacts the way the user interacts with other pages. It tells the browser that the user has visited a website and what the person did there. Then, when the person visits other websites, that cookie can trigger ads relating back to the original website.

For example, if you’ve ever visited Zappos to look at shoes and then those shoes appear in ad form on every other web page you visit for the next two weeks, it’s because of cookies.

As you may already know, cookies are used to facilitate a wide range of digital marketing. They store important user information and behavior that allow advertisers to target specific audience groups based on factors like:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Location
  • Interests
  • Behavior on your website
  • Search engine behavior
  • Social media behavior

Cookies can be controversial – but whatever your personal opinions may be, it is undeniable that cookies are a pivotal piece of the digital marketing puzzle. Cookies allow retailers to reach the right customers at the right time and hyper-target ideal potential customers. They also help retailers understand exactly how effective digital marketing is, and where dollars should be invested.

Can Cookies Bridge The Gap Between Internal Data and DMPs?

Anyone who uses the internet on a regular basis has a vast cookie pool. But those cookies don’t necessarily translate to an individual’s offline shopping behavior, nor does that offline shopping behavior currently attach to cookies. This creates a huge gap for retailers looking to target their ideal customers online.

Retailers can’t just take their internal customer data and make it fit into Google or Facebook as-is. Offline data doesn’t “speak” Google. Google doesn’t “speak” Facebook. Without a bridge between them, retailers can flounder when trying to target the right people with the right messaging.

However, by leveraging cookies, those gaps can be closed. Retailers can take cookie profiles from specific customers and customer segments and use those profiles to target “lookalike” prospects online. Retailers can go out into the digital universe and, using cookies, find people just like their ideal customers.

Do You Need A Data “Translator?”

Because cookies are so controversial, there has been speculation that they may be going away in favor of other indicators like device ID – but even if cookies are phased out, retailers will still need to develop that intermediary “translation” step to ensure internal data can be leveraged on digital platforms.

Lift361 helps retailers “translate” their internal data into a language that fits with DMPs every day. If you’d like to learn more, please contact us today.