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Retail Performance Platforms Can Boost Brands in a Cookieless Future

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Covid-19 has expedited the shift to a hybrid online-and-offline shopping experience. But recently, many advertisers have been lacking direction on how to meaningfully connect and target consumers as we enter a cookieless future

Brands searching for ways to connect, understand, and engage with consumers throughout the omnichannel journey can find an abundance of data through retailer performance platforms that can be impactful, actionable, and measurable in future campaign planning. These platforms can offer onsite (such as sponsored search and display) and offsite (such as digital out-of-home and social media) opportunities for brands to attract shoppers, and these advertisement opportunities can then be measured and analyzed, leading to more valuable interactions.

The Shift to First- and Second-Party Data

Despite ad platforms and web browsers shifting away from cookies as a means to collect, and more importantly, track consumer data, brands can still use data to understand and connect with their audience. 

Until now, third-party cookies would leave a crumb path for brands to follow consumers through their dot-com journey to gain insight into the other websites they visit, the interests they maintain, and the actions they take. This data would then be used by brands to create targeted campaigns for the audiences to whom the message would be most relevant. 

With the recent rise in privacy concerns, and the subsequent changes in collection of data announced by Chrome, Firefox, and others, conversations about trust and value to the consumer have risen to the forefront—which I believe is where they belong. 

First- and second-party data offers brands a fresh opportunity to connect closely with consumers and build trust. These datasets can include shopper intent, purchase, behavioral data, and more. Retailer consumer data, which provides point-of-sale information and a holistic understanding of shoppers, can be turned into relevant messages and offerings. This exchange is more transparent with first-party data, as shoppers know how the data is collected and how the retailer is using it to provide them value. 

Leveraging Retailer Performance Media via DOOH

First- and second- party data reveals a truer picture of consumers to brands while fostering trust. This information allows for success and a myriad of ways to connect with consumers at different touchpoints, both on and offsite.

For example, out-of-home (OOH) is a traditional technology that bridges the gap between on and offsite targeting, making it an essential part of the omnichannel shopping experience—one hat does not have to rely on third-party cookies. With innovative technology, near real-time data can be matched with audience targeting and e-commerce consumer data to inform Digital-Out-of-Home (DOOH) strategies for onsite experiences by indexing screens against audiences to identify areas of opportunity.

Brands looking for new ways to connect with shoppers in light of the cookieless future are now looking to DOOH since it can get closer to the point of purchase as well as strongly influence buyers’ choices. Previously, OOH was seen as an upper-funnel strategy to broaden awareness. Today, OOH can get much closer to purchase decisions. For instance, OOH advertisements can reach consumers in the parking lot of a supermarket or physically inside the store as people are making critical buying choices. 

Guiding the Customer along their Journey

Beyond OOH, brands can use first- and second-party data to guide consumers throughout the omnichannel experience. For instance, display or banner ads on Retailer Performance Platforms can pique shoppers’ interest and awareness. Further down the funnel, highly regarded social influencers can drive consideration of a product. Then, digital promotions can increase conversions by making sure that the right message is delivered at the right moment. Whether a shopper decides to purchase a product through e-commerce or in stores, brands can reach shoppers digitally or onsite at the grocery shelves where shopper intent is highest.

To close the loop, brands should be measuring and evaluating the success of each retailer campaign as a whole to understand performance and optimize over time. With digital media and promotions, brands can even dynamically shift creative, messages, and channels as they’re being measured and evaluated. This has become increasingly valuable to brands today as conditions are constantly changing, particularly amid the pandemic and recovery.

Overall, the shift to first- and second-party retailer data will give the industry the push it needs toward a more trusting and understanding relationship with consumers. The shift is also beneficial to brands since it offers better insight, more opportunities for successful touchpoints, and creates the possibility to measure and optimize. 

Steven Boal is CEO and Founder of Quotient.