When The Cookie Crumbles: Consequences For The Affiliate Marketing Industry

Madrivo Media

When it comes to driving targeted and personalized advertising, third-party cookies have been vital for brands who are interested in better targeting prospective consumers. 

But, with user privacy rules changing, the third-party cookie, along with the revenue they provide affiliate marketers, is set to crumble. 

The cookiepocalypse is coming

With members of the public becoming increasingly concerned about exactly how their online data is being used to track their behavior and gather information on their online habits, there have been plenty of calls for consumer privacy laws to be tightened. And tech companies are listening to their users. 

How each company chooses to regulate third-party cookies vary, but many of them, including the behemoths Apple and Google, are now looking to protect their users from the data-gathering power of the small but mighty cookie. 

Apple has now banned third-party cookies by default in their Safari web browser and requires apps to request permission before tracking user data. 

Mozilla’s Firefox browser has been blocking third-party tracking cookies by default since September 2019.  

While Google had initially planned to phase out third-party cookies by the middle of 2022, this has now been delayed by two years. With Google Chrome being responsible for 70% of web users, the tactics used by Google are significant, and this change will have a massive impact on the affiliate marketing industry as a whole. 

These changes to user privacy and how we can track data will significantly affect affiliate marketing. Unfortunately, despite now being the time to act, many businesses haven’t yet decided how to approach these changes. 

One study found that almost 40% of senior marketers and publishers didn’t have a concrete plan for running their business without third-party cookies. Don’t let your brand be a part of that statistic. 

First-party data is one of the keys to success 

The changes to privacy and tracking might be huge, but the good news is that these changes also come with enormous opportunities for businesses to pivot to a new strategy where they are in total control. Addressability, or having the capability to reach targeted customers during an ad campaign, is one way to replace third-party cookies. So, what’s one of the main tools you can use as you create your new strategy? 

The humble email. 

We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again – email is not dead. One of the most essential tools to replace third-party cookies will be the email addresses of your customers. Known as first-party data, access to these email addresses gives you the power to create an email marketing strategy that’s so successful you won’t even miss those cookies.

In addition to using email marketing strategies for your existing customers, you can use performance marketing email to connect with and acquire new customers too. Choose the right strategy, and you can connect with your future customers to offer them bespoke messaging and tailored offers. A well-thought out performance email marketing strategy can provide you with a range of benefits, including:

  • Qualified leads thanks to accurate audience segmentation 
  • Increased brand awareness 
  • High ROI 
  • Accurate market attribution
  • Meets compliance and anti-fraud guidelines 

The great thing about your email database is that customers have to actively opt-in. That means they’re generally already going to be engaged and interested in your content. Nurturing this relationship allows for more connection, which usually equals increased revenue. 

With an average ROI of $44 for every $1 you spend on email marketing, this tactic works. Yes, you might want to use it combined with other forms of results-driven marketing like search and social, but first-party data may swiftly become a cornerstone of your strategy.

It’s possible to create even more engagement through an email marketing strategy like segmenting your audience, using A/B testing, and creating bespoke on-site experiences based on an individual user’s preferences. Email performance marketing is a tried-and-tested strategy with a winning combination of a relatively low budget that still yields impressive results. 

Ready to find out more? Schedule a free 30-minute demo call with a member of our expert team to learn how you can succeed in a cookie-less world.

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