Online marketing in the cookieless era – GA4 and personal data

Among the most important trends in digital marketing is the concern for data privacy and site access. More than 70% of ecommerce platform users say they use online services to ensure a higher level of data protection. These include search engines that protect browsing privacy, encrypted emails and deletion of access history.

Yet marketers need customer data to design marketing strategies and messages that enhance consumers’ online experiences and provide them with useful information, meaningful details, memorable images.

The solution is to build a data protection strategy that puts customers at the centre. This requires redesigning data collection and measurement methods in a transparent way that gives people certainty and control over the information they choose to share.

To meet this need, the move to Google Analytics 4 marks the beginning of the cookieless era. As of July 1, 2023, the new version of GA will no longer rely on information stored in browsers about website visitors.

Well-known cookies are at the center of a controversy over users’ rights to privacy versus the need for companies to collect data about customer consumption behavior: Has anyone else used that site? In what ways did he or she interact with the product pages?

Important details for marketers and sales professionals are obtained based on the sharing of browsing data to third parties, and to prevent this more and more users are blocking access by checking the options to ignore and delete cookies (whether basic, functional, behavioural or targeting cookies).

To solve this information dilemma, GA4 is changing its approach to analytics and using new machine learning and AI technologies. Thus different protocols are initiated to fill in the gaps with statistically relevant blended data, but which do not violate GDPR requirements.

For the new method of data interpretation to work, with the move to GA4 online marketers need to consider a mix of solutions and platforms, in an omnichannel and multichannel approach:

  • Customer and site user data platforms;
  • content management and content optimization systems;
  • marketing automation platforms;
  • Email marketing applications and solutions;
  • Testing and optimization procedures;
  • segmentation and targeting solutions;
  • Customer-oriented marketing solutions for audience retention;
  • video editing software solutions;
  • artificial intelligence applications.

In the end it’s a matter of trust. Online marketing messages must communicate honestly and openly about how cookies are collected and transparently show at what point in the customer-site interaction this information gathering occurs.

This is the only way to get data that is also relevant, not just current and collected from the entire mass of users. In this way, a personal connection to the brand is created, and the foundations for audience loyalty can be laid based on a genuine connection.

The old tracking the customer journey needs to be replaced by a new one, which can be stated as assisting the customer journeyfrom the first click on the website to the conversion.

This is achievable by using the right tools, such as Google Analytics 4, and establishing direct communication with users through interactive content, transparent messaging and a fair data privacy policy.

These actions are complemented by efforts to amplify data collection from primary sources and to obtain data from secondary sources such as social platforms and publishers.

Online marketing in the cookieless era is getting an important chance to reinvent itself by reorganizing the entire ecosystem to become a tech-based field instead of a predominantly responsive one.

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