Digital marketing’s reliance on third-party data to target customers is fading into the background faster than Harry Styles’ latest outfit.
The digital landscape is now about paying more attention to user privacy across the web, which means tech giants like Apple, Google, Meta and others are making changes to protect users as they interact online by stripping away the tracking and data collection marketers have relied on for the past several years. While it’s been a slow burn for this to migrate through the U.S. market, the biggest push to date came in spring 2021, when Apple rolled out iOS14.
The update provided users a choice they never had before – control of their own information and viewing habits. Users now have to opt-in to allow their data to be collected, which many initially declined. However, each of the different tech companies have developed their own unique methods to work around the obstacles so they can continue to offer advertising options to marketers.
So, what does that mean for your digital marketing agency and the ability to develop lead generation?
Digital marketing agencies adept at the latest industry practices have noticed significant target audience changes within ad buying platforms during the past two years. For instance, Google Ads changed the types of audiences that marketers can target for campaigns.
It is becoming increasingly difficult for advertisers and marketers to properly report on lead generation efforts. Previously on social media platforms, marketers were able to report on where leads came from, from what platform, whether they were male or female, their age range and other specific user information.
But that is changing. Meta has now created its own server option to connect and track data, while other platforms still rely on cookies and/or pixels. Marketers are waiting with bated breath to see how platforms like TikTok, LinkedIn, Twitter, Reddit and others will shift how they collect data.
But difficult doesn’t mean impossible – not if you have a knowledgeable agency at your fingertips.
Increasingly, there is a push to use first-party data, because you own it and have immediate access to the data. Strategically, it is better to use this data since the users are already an engaged audience, which is better for lead generation. Third-party data access is more limited and less dependable, as companies still using this practice are unable to collect the same types of data they once did.
Another challenge facing companies is the lack of sophisticated contact segmentation in their customer relationship management (CRM) systems. To use a CRM most effectively, it requires the sales team to document how users progress through your sales funnel and user journey. It’s useful to know which leads talked to representatives and watched a webinar but didn’t buy a franchise. By leveraging the CRM data, marketers can create more strategic user journeys.
As trends in digital marketing change, so do industry best practices. Sure, they require rethinking how to develop quality leads and newly defined strategies, but complacency in a changing marketplace isn’t what any growing company wants.