The demise of the third-party cookie sparks a major shift in digital marketing industry-wide. Google announced this year that it would phase out the use of third-party cookies from its Chrome browser by 2023. Following suit with competitors like Firefox and Safari that have already phased out third-party cookie tracking, Google’s announcement comes as a final nail in the coffin for a data source that has been the backbone of online advertising for decades.

Third-party cook have been used by advertising and marketing technology platforms since their inception in 1994. By tracking how consumers browse the web, third-party cookies enable marketers and advertisers to effectively retarget consumers with display advertising that is aligned to their browsing history. If you’ve ever felt that sense of deja-vu after seeing an ad on Facebook that is exactly the product you were recently shopping for, chances are third-party cookies were involved.

To stay ahead of these changes, property marketers will have to reset their advertising strategies and look toward solutions that aren’t reliant on the use of third-party cookies. There has been speculation around workarounds that replace this type of tracking, but the most fool-proof solution for digital marketers at this point is to embrace tools that use first-party data.

Let’s break down the types of tracking you’ll want to be aware of as you plan your multifamily marketing efforts around this change…

A closer look at third-party cookies

Third-party cookies allow you to learn about consumers’ online behavior outside of your website. A third-party cookie is a tracking code that is created by an outside source, such as an advertiser, and placed on a web visitor’s device. That cookie tracks individuals’ online behaviors as they move from site to site. In turn, an advertiser can use this data to generate detailed profiles, build retargeting lists and create display advertisements related to the customer’s browsing habits.

How first-party cookies differ

In the absence of third-party cookie information, first-party data and cookies will play a larger role. Google referred to first-party relationships as “vital in a privacy-first world,” and this approach is the most widely supported solution to the deprecation of the third-party cookie. Rent. uses a proprietary first-party database in its advertising and is more sheltered from upcoming changes. However, other providers that rely on third-party data might suffer as new restrictions unfold.

A first-party cookie is a code that only tracks user activity data from the website they are currently visiting. This contrasts with third-party cookies that track users across multiple sites. Businesses often use first-party cookies to improve and simplify the customer experience by remembering passwords, form information and user preferences.

Marketers can also use first-party data to gain an understanding of customer behavior that takes place on their website. In this one-on-one, trusted environment, customers provide businesses a direct, detailed view of their shopping behavior and preferences. Because of this, first-party data is considered to be a much richer and more reliable data source for marketers to use.

Three ways your property can prepare for this change

Leverage first-party data in your marketing strategy and targeting efforts

This change makes it imperative for properties to build relationships with their prospects and renters through all digital touchpoints, and access marketing tools that leverage first-party data. Having a robust CRM or PMS in place to track renter interactions with your property will allow you to analyze first-party data and better inform your marketing strategy.

Quality data will also help you deliver high-performing ads regardless of third-party cookie restrictions. Search engine and social media advertising solutions that leverage first-party data will be your best bet for creating hyper-targeted ads that effectively generate leads. Rent.’s advertising solutions use proprietary, first-party data sets to target renters that are actively searching in nearby areas.

Stay up-to-date on new innovations and user privacy requirements

Tech giants like Google, Apple and Amazon as well as others in the industry will continue innovating and creating cookie-less tracking techniques. This also means that competition will heat up as these players block new targeting and tracking methods from each other’s platforms.

Most recently, Google has started testing a replacement technology called Floc (federated learning of cohorts) that will enable advertisers to identify and target a group of customers with similar interests. However, this is still in the works. Floc has faced skepticism from the industry as well as lack of initial support from competing web browsers.

At this time, the state of privacy and the depreciation of the cookie is in flux. The journey to a new tracking model that balances the need for consumer privacy and business tracking goals will continue to evolve over the years. Understanding user privacy concerns, new restrictions and staying up-to-date with industry news will help you to stay ahead of surprises.

Take advantage of your full digital marketing mix

Strengthen every link in your digital marketing chain from search and social advertising, to email marketing, listings and reputation management. With a well-balanced marketing mix that takes into account future changes, you can reach renters at a variety of touchpoints and reinforce your presence as a trusted community. All-encompassing services to cover search, social, display and video advertising that are all powered by first-party data.

A cohesive marketing plan will allow you to quickly deploy other effective tactics if you are impacted by advertising changes. Plus, it will build trust with your audience so they feel comfortable sharing information that will strengthen your targeted campaigns in the future.

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#Search ads
#Social Ads
#Multifamily Advertising
#Third Party Cookies
#First Party Data
#Performance Marketing