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What does the loss of third-party data mean to B2B marketers?

In today’s digital age, privacy is a growing issue for both individuals and companies consuming data. Increasing user concerns about privacy and the use of third-party cookies has forced the industry to make changes that will restructure the way marketers target their customers through display advertising. While this makes thing more secure for users, it makes it more difficult for companies to identify prospective customers.

The effect on programmatic display advertising

Traditionally, target marketing is done through intent signal monitoring where information is collected about the types of content contacts interact with online, and then analyzed to find patterns that indicate an individual or account is actively in-market and researching a purchase. Previously, a large portion of this information came from third-party cookies. With the move to address privacy concerns, platform publishers such as Google, Amazon, Facebook, and Apple, now are eliminating cookies in their products, removing this source of critical data for marketers. This leaves B2B marketing and programmatic display advertising platforms looking for new sources to credibly track user behavior across the internet.

In the short-term we may see a decline in display advertising targeting efficiency due to the loss of third-party data. More data means more precise targeting and better conversion rates for companies. This benefits both the marketer and the buyer. No one wants to be inundated with ads about things that are of no interest, and marketers are going to be unsatisfied with the results.

So, what is the answer? How do you effectively reach buyers that are in market for your product or solution?

Building wider data networks

The short answer is that the demise of third-party cookies will result in the rise of first-party behavioral data across all channels of B2B marketing. Large-scale third-party solutions are going to have to adapt quickly. This means that data-driven marketing and demand generation platforms will build wider networks to compile data from publishers’ content, Java script, and first- and second-party data.

For B2B display advertising programmes to be successful they need an extensive amount of data to find the buyers that are in market for a specific product or solution. Identifying the patterns in the B2B customer purchase journey is critical to this process. Content-based targeting can’t replace the knowledge that third-party cookies provide about a user viewing similar content five times in the last couple of weeks on multiple sites. To combat this problem, data aggregators will need to find the sweet spot that’s a mix of data partners to provide a base for advanced analytics. 

Intent data sources

Meaningful targeting based on first-party data requires scale and understanding of the data source. In general, intent data sources fall into several categories including:

  • Identity graph: This database uses natural language processing, machine learning, and artificial intelligence analytics to examine behaviors that identify intent signals. This information is user provided and includes email addresses and site logins.
  • Publisher data: This is a high-quality source of intent signal data. A publisher – the entity that owns a site or other digital channel – is most likely to know who a visitor is through site registration or newsletter subscription. Marketers can use this information to target content.
  • Location and movement data from mobile devices: Using IP and other mechanisms, one can identify where individuals are located. This source is used mostly for firmographic and account-level validation. This data can be misleading and needs to be validated.
  • Advertising real-time bidding (RTB) data: This data helps establish domain- or company-level intent at an aggregated level. It provides a layer of value, but as a stand-alone source of intent monitoring, it has limited value, since you want to ultimately identify the individual who is expressing purchase intent. Also, much of this data category is devoted to consumer and pop-culture content consumption, not B2B purchasing. It can, however, be used as part of a history pattern for future analysis.

To be successful while adhering to privacy laws, companies must evolve their marketing practices by using intent monitoring that no longer relies on third-party data. Restructuring the way B2B marketers target customers is the key. There must be a mix of quality data sources for a wide breadth of intent signal data, as well as some type of verification that the information is accurate.  

To learn more about privacy and many other topics, attend the 2021 True Influence Summit on 21 January 2021.

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