So long, third-party cookies. You will not be missed, even by us advertisers.
While it’s true that the cookie-less world represents a curveball for the online marketing business, most ad agencies aren’t losing sleep over the issue, and you shouldn’t either.
In the end, consumers will get more privacy, digital ads will remain effective, and it’ll be a net win for all involved.
If you’re still curious about how this will all play out, here’s a quick rundown on what’s happening and how AMG is reacting
What is the Cookie-less World? What Exactly is Happening?
Back in January 2020, Google announced it would stop supporting third-party cookies within two years, citing privacy concerns on behalf of its users.
If you don’t know what a third-party cookie is, here’s an example:
Imagine you went to your favorite restaurant for the tenth time, and the manager remembered your name. That’s like a first-party cookie.
Now, imagine in the same restaurant, and a camera on the wall recognized you, recorded your arrival time, what you were wearing, and how long you stayed, etc. That’s more like a third-party cookie.
It’s called “third-party” because the camera is not owned by the restaurant (the first party). Rather, the device’s owner pays rent to the restaurant owner for the privilege. In addition, there are hundreds of cameras just like it at most every place in town, all owned by the same company, all aggregating data on you.
In the digital world, the cameras in the metaphor often take the form of ads that are owned by sites other than the one you are visiting. One big problem with this state of affairs is that, aside from the spy factor, it denies consumers an opportunity to opt-out; the camera never asks if you mind being recorded. Also, the data it’s collecting on you can be used to some pretty controversial ends.
Is it Game Over for Digital Ads?
Not even close. This may even be a positive change for the industry.
One reason is that some tangential changes are rolling out alongside the end of cookies that will mitigate the impact. For one, Google’s Privacy Sandbox project, which seeks to build a “thriving web ecosystem that is respectful of users and private by default,” is already setting the stage for a privacy-friendly internet.
Another reason is the consumers themselves, who don’t want digital tracking to go away because they favor the ads. A recent survey by Verizon Media found that 88 percent of respondents said they viewed digital ads more relevant, useful, and interesting. So it’s unlikely that any changes will occur that will diminish consumer experience in personalized ads.
What is Incite Media Doing?
This isn’t the first digital divide that Incite has navigated, and it won’t be the last. Much like how Apple blocked third-party cookies from Safari in 2019 and the world didn’t collapse, so too will we handily overcome this.
Here’s how we’re going to do it:
Working with partners. Incite Media is receiving status updates from all partners and closely tracking the ways the industry is moving. We’re happy to report that the quality of our supply chain is making progress in correcting itself and we’ll continue to be vigilant in monitoring our partners’ progress.
Preparing for media-buying adjustments. When it comes to media buying, Incite’s digital team is highly selective. Moving forward, we’ll beeven more choosy when it comes to spending your dollars, ensuring that each is invested on channels and with vendors who are effectively navigating change.
Advising spending on alternate channels where necessary. Some social media platforms may be at an inherent advantage in the cookie-less world, which favors platforms that will use first-party cookies. If we’re seeing better results on these channels, we’ll be passing this info along to our clients, along with new spending recommendations.
Keeping our clients informed. Moving forward, we’ll be appraising clients on what’s new and changing using easy-to-understand, jargon-free terminology. Our communication will make it clear how advertising is changing and what, if anything, our partners need to do.
Maintenance–it’s what keeps cars running, and what keeps businesses selling.
In that regard, marketing is the same as machinery in that both could use a little upkeep from time to time. A quick check-up now and then will pay huge dividends for your business.
It might take some time, but here are four ways you can keep your marketing program running at full steam:
Market Share Audit
What percentage of all the transactions in your market area–including from competitors, private sellers, and marketplaces–are you winning?
For many businesses, market share is the ultimate litmus test of success. Having your finger squarely on the pulse of your market is a must. Unfortunately, it’s often difficult getting the right intel as to how you’re faring relative to your competition.
For many, obtaining market share data is cost-prohibitive since the necessary data doesn’t come cheap. However, sometimes you get lucky and find a marketing partner or chamber of commerce that has access to the goods. In either case, it’ll be worth your while to dive in to that data.
TV & Radio Planning Check
No one knows your customers better than you. But that doesn’t always mean you shouldn’t double-check some of your assumptions, especially when it comes to TV and radio advertising.
For example, when buying media, are you providing specific objectives for each campaign? When was the last time you did some deep audience research? And how are you assessing your success post-purchase?
Auditing your traditional ad spend is not always easy work, and a little conventional wisdom will go a long way. If you have an expert in-house who can guide your efforts, you’ll be in a much better position. Alternatively, retaining an outside professional on an as-needed or per-project basis is smart work, as well.
Website Analytics Review
Even if you’ve got a marketing partner, it’s good practice to get a fresh set of eyes on your website’s activity. That way, you’ll be much more likely to spot trends in traffic, customer behavior, and market demographics, among other insights.
Briefly, here’s a few items you can check for when you’re doing your website analytics audit.
Site downtime. If you’re noticing huge drop-offs in traffic, you may be having site stability issues. Contact your hosting provider immediately if you think there may be an issue.
Bot traffic. Random, large fluxes of traffic can result from nefarious sources and muddle your data. Get an analytics filter in place ASAP.
Goals tracking. Without goals in place, it’s impossible to know if your website is working for you. Don’t limit yourself to just form fills–there’s tons of other valuable events to track.
Pixel issues. Occasionally, something can happen with your Google Analytics pixel (the snippet of code required to use analytics) and data stops being recorded. That’s a waste of valuable insight.
What’s the best thing about digital ads? Transparency.
The trackability of your digital spend means that you can almost always see where the waste is. With the right reports, you should be able to see what’s not working with your digital media, and afterward be able to stop the bleeding.
With a little practice, you’ll be able to spot some basic digital advertising mistakes, such as search engine marketing spend for non-converting keywords, and poor ad placements for display and banner ads.
No Time For A Check-Up? Let Incite Do It if For You FOR FREE
Experts say that market audits should be performed at least twice annually.
But what busy leader of an business has time for that? It’s hard enough just getting to the dentist once per year, much less make time for marketing.
Don’t fret–we’ve got you covered with a completely free Marketing Check-Up.
Specifically, here’s what we’ll do for you:
Assess Your Market Share–We’ll let you know where you know exactly where you stand in regards to the competition using high-fidelity data.
Analyze Your TV and Radio Planning–Our veteran media-buyers will chime on your traditional media buys with ideas for smarter spending.
Review Your Website Analytics–We’ll peek under the hood of your website and make sure everything’s in tip-top shape.
Audit Your Digital Marketing–Your digital may be doing well, but could it be doing even better? We’ll let you know!
BONUS: Co-Op Marketing Review, 100 Percent FREE!
With more than 10 years of marketing experience, we’re sure to find some way to make you money. Sign up for an audit now to get your results quickly.
Many of our clients have come to us in a panic to gain back control of their Google By Business (GMB) profile. It often happens innocently enough when an employee leaves without sharing account login details. What can you do if you see your Business Profile on Google is verified, but you have no idea who has control of it? Take a deep breath, relax and follow these simple steps to gain back control.
1. Log in to Google My Business with the Gmail account you will use to manage your Business Profile. Type in your business name and physical address to locate it at business.google.com/add. You can also pull up your business using Google Search or Google Maps.
2. Select your business name from above or click on “Own this business?” on the Business Profile as shown below.
3. You will then be directed to request access. Google provides you with the beginning characters of the current owner’s email address. If this is your Gmail, you can click on the Account Recovery help guide to get you back into your account. If you have no idea on the Gmail, click the “Request Access” button.
4. Complete the form information and click “Submit” to notify the current owner of your request.
5. If the owner approves the request, you’ll be alerted by email. If your request is denied, you can suggest an edit or file an appeal with Google. In our experience, you typically won’t hear back from the owner. This person probably doesn’t check the Gmail that is associated with the listing. Google gives them 3 to 7 days to respond. At that point you can go to your Google My Business dashboard and “Claim” or “Verify” the listing as your own.
Congratulations! You are now back in control and armed with a cost-free solution to generate more traffic to your website and business. With a more than 90 percent market share in 2020, promoting your business on Google is a no-brainer. Follow our guide to make sure you stay in control of your business listing and ensure all of your information is accurate, comprehensive and always up-to-date. If you are paying someone for search engine optimization, ask them about how they are leveraging your GMB listing as part of their service.