The elimination of third-party cookies has been one of the more predictable trends in digital marketing in the past few years. Over half of marketing managers saw this coming before GDPR had even come into effect. Yet, it wasn’t until earlier this year that many marketers began to realise the true impact that this consumer privacy measure would have on their digital advertising campaigns. 

Despite Apple (Safari) and Mozilla (Firefox) having already blocked third-party cookies, it was Google’s announcement earlier this year that marked a major milestone and put marketers in hot water. With its dominant market share, Google’s decision is set to change online advertising; while brands, agencies and martech vendors have since been scrambling to figure out how to adapt.

The impact of third-party cookies sunsetting can be remarkable. Eliminating vast pools of third-party data means a limited number of platforms where advertising data can join together; making tech giants even more powerful. However, where one door closes, another door opens. By decreasing their dependence on third-party cookies, marketers will begin to make their first-party data channels, such as email marketing, work harder for them. It may be another two years before we wave goodbye to third-party cookies for good, but in the meantime, there is a real opportunity for marketers to up their game and get ahead of the curve, by enhancing their email marketing programmes.

Oh, brave new world

Of all the components of the marketing mix, email marketing is perhaps the one that’s come along furthest. After a slow start, it has evolved into a fast, cost-effective and highly responsive tool for marketing, sales, and customer relationship teams. 

Email marketers have long understood the power of email marketing, as well as the importance of the long-term strategy of building profiles and putting data to work more effectively. The humble, simple email is actually not that simple. In fact, it is one of the most worthy weapons in our daily battle against competitors. For most industries, email marketing is key to business success. Doing it effectively can have a direct, positive impact not only on sales, but also on customer engagement and loyalty. 

While email remains user-friendly, and definitely one of the most cost effective methods of communication, it bears significant commercial value that translates into positive results towards strategic business KPIs – such as customer satisfaction, customer loyalty, and repeat business. Email has the ability to be the glue between consumers and brands. Everything from promotions, educational content, retargeting can all be done using your most precious first-party data asset: Email.

The phase out of third-party cookies brings email in the epicenter. Email marketers have the opportunity to make the most of their customer base, adjust their email strategy, and bravely exploit new possibilities. More importantly, they now are in a position to lead the charge on motivating their organisation to see the benefits of making an incremental investment in email and the martech ecosystem. 

Email drives a hefty return on investment and can also lead to long term revenue, but only if it receives the attention and investment it deserves. The humble email has evolved in value and importance, and it can affect an organisation’s relationship with its customers. No matter how thoroughly designed and well executed your loyalty programmes are; if your customers don’t feel valued and appreciated, if they feel being ignored or not properly informed, they will look for alternatives. They will look at your competition. 

Now is the time to evangelise that retention is the new acquisition, because companies that don’t believe it, will find themselves out in the cold this year.