Preparing for the Future of Digital Marketing using CDP+

NextRoll's Tech Stack Series #3

For anyone working in marketing technology or online advertising, there’s been a lot of talk about third-party tracking cookies. This technology has been around for nearly 30 years and is used to help marketers track, identify, and target users to display the most appropriate ads on websites. However, with growing awareness of privacy concerns, the days of third-party cookies appear to be numbered. Google expects to start phasing them out in 2024, web browsers like Safari and Firefox stopped supporting them a few years ago, and iOS mobile platforms never really allowed them in the first place. 

To meet the needs of the changing landscape and prepare for the future, we rolled out NextRoll’s Customer Data Platform (CDP+) in early 2022 to help users continue to serve the best messages to the right customers at the right time.

A Brief Primer on Cookies 

Most cookies are actually helpful. First-party cookies are associated with a specific website. They are designed to help streamline and enhance the user experience by remembering preferences, emails, shopping cart histories, or even making recommendations for products or media the user might enjoy. These cookies don’t track users when they leave the site and might only record the website data and the user's IP address. While these cookies might be essential to have a website function as designed, they still require users to opt-in and accept them under privacy laws like GDPR.  

On the other hand, third-party cookies are created by organizations other than the website owner to provide functionality on the owner’s behalf. Online advertising companies often use them. Most of these cookies anonymously track people as they surf the web to gain insights into their interests and habits or what they purchase. With this knowledge, advertisers can tailor ads to people they know will likely be interested in their products or services. For example, a user checking out recipes, cooking tutorials, and equipment could see increased targeted ads for pots, pans, kitchen gadgets, or meal kit companies. Data privacy laws consider these non-essential cookies, which are the focus of most legislative efforts to restrict cookies.  

Privacy advocates have concerns about these third-party cookies, the amount of data they collect, and how unscrupulous data brokers can cross-reference the data they collect and use it to de-anonymize and identify individuals. Many governments have passed privacy laws regarding data collection, including the European Union's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) or California's Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), to prevent abuse of users' data. 

More on Rebalancing Privacy and Precision on the Open Web

How CDP+ and Audience Segmentation Helps Find the Right Customer  

Marketers and advertisers must develop tactical, unique solutions to target or segment users and potential customers without third-party data. One way we’re ensuring our users can continue to target their customers in a post-third-party cookie world is through our new CDP+ technology. We redesigned and rethought how we use the data and created segmentation to develop this forward-thinking technology, which builds highly accurate profiles to help target potential customers. 

CDP+ leverages first-party cookies and is enriched by customer data, including account and contact data and email addresses. For AdRoll customers, it can incorporate data from e-commerce platforms like Shopify, while RollWorks can import information from CRM programs like Salesforce. The system then cleans, authenticates, and unifies the data to create a 360-degree view of the user. These profiles are used in several ways to trigger a favorable outcome (like a conversion), including placing ads across the internet, sending targeted emails, and helping to optimize campaigns for our customers across the various ad channels.    

Powered by our unique and capable technology, CDP+ provides a framework for dynamic audience segmentation down to a granular level. Some customers might want to create a segment of users who added items to a virtual shopping cart but never completed the purchase. In contrast, others might want to target a group of people who like shoes from a specific zip code and bought $100 worth of merchandise in the past three months. The benefit here is this NextRoll technology gives users the ability to accurately and precisely target their marketing efforts instead of being very generalized and unfocused.   

The other great challenge we face is tracking users across devices. If one of our client's customers visits a site using a laptop and a smartphone, it takes a tremendous effort to match them up. But CDP+ can manage and aggregate data in near real-time. It collects data points from our clients for every visitor and interaction. This can be a billion points of data every day. But our platform can crunch this data to find these cross-device matches. So that marketers can target the user with the right messages across channels and devices. Learn more about NextRoll's Unified Identity technology.  

We’ve positioned NextRoll, so we’re less exposed to changes made to third-party cookies. By focusing our technology on first-party cookies and other data sources, we continue to provide a high return on investment to our users. We’re also actively involved in discussions with the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) regarding the future of third-party cookies and other ad-related issues, so we’re constantly working to stay ahead of the curve. We know significant changes will come to the marketing technology and online advertising industries. Still, our focus is to help make a seamless transition for all our clients so they continue to grow and connect with new customers daily. 

Learn more about how our AdRoll and RollWorks platforms support customers for today’s advertising landscape and the future of marketing.