How FMCG brands leveraging data for targeting in a cookie-less world

To truly capture the customer’s attention, brands need to understand they cannot proceed with a one-size-fits-all, mass-blast strategies

Manoj Dawane September 10, 2022 12:50:46 IST
How FMCG brands leveraging data for targeting in a cookie-less world

Representational image. Image courtesy Lars Frantzen/Wikimedia Commons

Data has always been used to run well-oiled marketing campaigns. The shift towards online shopping, e-commerce and social media instantly generated far more data than earlier, with apps and websites freely tracking customers’ online behaviour. Digital marketing leverages such data to determine new product launches, market trends, swings in customer behaviour, and so on. With concerns on privacy rising, regulatory control has queered the pitch for marketers, more so in the FMCG sector that needs to make quick changes to adapt to market requirements.

Top internet browser Google has announced that it will end third-party cookies from Chrome by 2023. Apple’s Safari and Mozilla’s Firefox browsers have enabled users to opt-out of ad tracking cookies. Globally too, nations have taken action to protect online privacy. Collection and sharing of personal information to third parties without prior consent of consumers is under the scanner. According to UNCTAD, 137 out of 194 countries had put in place legislation to secure the protection of data and privacy. The stringent 2018 General Data Protection Regulation in Europe, the California Consumer Privacy Act of 2020, Singapore’s Personal Data Protection Act, and so on, are some examples of such global laws. In India, a revised Data Protection Bill is slated to be moved in Parliament in the winter session. With such a clampdown, advertisers and marketers must evolve new ways to get consumer data, and also act on it without defying privacy principles.

In a recent survey by Boston Consulting Group and LinkedIn, 39 per cent of marketers claimed their campaigns had been impacted due to the changes, and 56 per cent expected to see a worsening impact over the year. Marketers are thus scrambling to put in place data management strategies that are in compliance with privacy norms.

To truly capture the customer’s attention, brands need to understand they cannot proceed with a one-size-fits-all, mass-blast strategies. With such high growth forecasts for digital campaigns, it’s important to tread carefully. Marketers should invest in specific technologies to customize engagement. Sustained campaigns must be initiated to attract and retain customers.

Studying consumer behaviour in a cookieless world

In the past intrusive, repetitive, and mass blast campaigns were disliked by customers, and that gave rise to the need for privacy. But customers do expect personalized and relevant interactions from their favourite brands. Therefore, it is now becoming important to meaningfully interact with the customers rather than simply transact with them. Once a personalized campaign sets in, customers can also become potential brand advocates. The way millions of consumers globally engage with the brand through the Kellogg’s Family Rewards program is an example of fine customer engagement through data collection.

To identify market and distribution opportunities, many companies are investing in marketing command centres called Sixth Sense to create Identity Solutions.

To create value for the business and the consumer, it’s important to invest in first-party data. For the FMCG sector, it’s important to move to first-party data for better accuracy, relevance and ROI. When the data exchange is contextual and meaningful, customers will happily share data. Such information then must be catalogued, stored, and used in line with privacy regulations. For that, you need to build advanced analytics, and use them wisely, for contextual targeting. A road traffic alert on a route you are likely to take, for instance, is contextual information that anyone would look forward to receiving. It’s also important to steer clear of intrusive campaigns or too much of unwarranted familiarity. For example, showing Facebook pictures for identity is likely to annoy customers. Brands can use Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML), location intelligence, and so on, to drive relevant campaigns that engage consumers, like sending information of a sale happening nearby, or a new store opening.

Marketers can also create value by investing in measurement tools that to track changes in business outcomes in different markets, and advanced marketing-mix models that employ granular customer insights for better results. Building strong, trust-based customer dialogues will hold the key to a more effective data strategy in a cookie-less world. Chrome’s Privacy Sandbox for interest-based advertising (FLoC) or any other renditions of it, provides anonymity, while at the same time allows advertisers to use behavioural targeting at a segment level. It groups people with similar interests together. The new market strategies will respect privacy and at the same time will bring in more personalization into customer engagement.

There is a resurgence of panel-based measurement and extrapolation of behaviours to population, based on statistical principles. The behaviour from a panel can be studied with new age technologies of data capture from smart devices. The cookie-less future is already here.

The author is Founder and CEO, VTION Digital Analytics. Views are personal.

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