It’s always been an interesting choice of words to call cookies and device IDs “persistent.” To most people, being surreptitiously followed and monitored at all times would likely be described as “stalking.” It’s only the stalker who refers to himself as persistent.
Granted, many a stalker has started out with good, if misplaced, intentions. Cookies are no different, as they played a large role in making the infant web a useful platform for commerce and connectivity. Over the years, we squeezed a ton of utility out of cookies, eventually expanding into device IDs—but as the web has evolved to become intertwined with all aspects of society, it’s time for these data trackers to move on.
By now, you’ve no doubt come across your share of industry-shifting perspectives from the likes of Google, Apple, and other media juggernauts. A lot of the progress being introduced here is technically and operationally complex, which will add quite a few new wrinkles to the already convoluted cross-device attribution models and media-mix models that brands struggle to piece together. DTC brands are especially susceptible given their over reliance on Facebook, which in turn relies on the tracking methods that may come under fire in the future.
It’s a rocky road for a brand, no doubt—but better than a road leading to nowhere. The industry has acknowledged it needs to forge better relationships with consumers—not only to regain and retain trust, but also to start building a practical and reliable sense of consumer identity so we can all stop buying attribution snake oil.
There’s no shortage of technical and operational innovation required to reach this new marketing frontier, but the foundation is simple: build consensual relationships with your customers. Ask permission. Communicate. This novel approach is simply called participatory marketing. Embrace it.
Fairing has skin in this game, of course—because our product gives users a voice, and helps brands start a transparent relationship right at the birth of their customer. With short, concise surveys, we aim to develop a natural dialogue at a pace that is comfortable for the customer. Done right, it leads to customers who welcome playing an active role in their brand’s growth, rather than feeling squeezed for the value they possess.
But it’s no accident we’ve built such a product. Monopolies fall, models break, and oases become mirages—it’s all part of marketing’s evolution, and marketing at its core starts from the realization that your customers know something you don’t. You can try to gain that knowledge through tricks, hacks, and other temporary solutions destined for extinction…or, you can just talk to them. Transparency is evergreen.