News and tips from the industry leaders in email compliance.

This is a guest post from the team at Madrivo.

The mighty third-party cookie has long been the primary tool for many marketing companies. They offer a way to gain information about the behavior of potential customers, or other marketing strategies can target themes. 

With these being phased out due to privacy concerns, there’s never been a better time to transition your marketing strategy towards other types of data. But, of course, proactive is always better than reactive, so check out our tips for moving your marketing away from relying on third-party cookies. 

Instead, it’s time to implement a strategy that’s based on first-party data. Do this successfully, and you can look forward to all kinds of benefits. These include gaining deeper insights about your audience and being able to build a more engaging and personalized strategy as a result.  

The Cookies Are Crumbling 

Third-party cookies have formed a considerable part of the marketing strategy of many businesses — allowing them to track the behavior of an online user when they’re browsing different websites and then serving them targeted adverts for their own products.  

Many people are becoming increasingly more concerned about how their online habits are being tracked, with calls for laws around online privacy to be tightened. Tech giants like Google and Apple listen to these concerns and take proactive steps to protect their users’ data.

The first tech company to take action was Mozilla and their Firefox browser started the default blocking of third-party cookies back in September 2019. Apple followed suit, also implementing the default blocking of third-party cookies in their Safari browser in March 2020. 

That leaves us with Google Chrome, which is used by 70% of people online. Google’s initial plan was to block third-party cookies by 2022. However, this has now been delayed until late 2023. 

You may have heard the term ‘cookiepocalypse,’ which basically refers to the huge impact that the three main web browsers blocking third-party cookies are going to have on the ad industry.  

It’s not just web browsers that can track a user’s data either. That’s also possible to achieve via apps, which is why Apple also requires an opt-in from users before an app can track their data.  

All these changes mean that it’s time to pivot your marketing strategies to avoid being completely caught out as those third-party cookies crumble away. 

What’s The Solution?

If, like 40% of marketers, you don’t have a clear strategy for how to connect with your customers in a cookie-less world, we’ve got some suggestions for you. 

Rather than relying on third-party data like cookies, using first-party data instead places you in full control of your marketing strategy. In addition, switching to a strategy based around first-party data collected directly from your consumers minimizes the risk that the changes to privacy and tracking will have on your business. And, of course, you don’t need to keep on top of all those algorithm changes. 

First-Party Data  

First-party data is collected directly from visitors to your website or social media profiles. It includes 

  • Contact details like email addresses and phone numbers 
  • Results from quizzes or surveys 
  • User-generated feedback
  • Data from your social media profiles 
  • Behavioral data from in-app or on-site 
  • Profile information 
  • Customer feedback and reviews 

Because this data comes directly from your customers, it can offer a whole host of valuable insights. This data can be collected via a pixel on your site or social media and via forms designed to collect customer information. 

Ready to find out more about how to go about collecting first-party data? Here are some of our favorite methods. 

Email Marketing 

Many companies made the mistake of thinking that good old email marketing was dead in the water. But, as you might have guessed by now, that’s not the case at all. Building a comprehensive email marketing strategy with your customer’s details is going to be a key component of how successful companies operate without the data provided by third-party cookies.

Rather than be served ads that they start to resent, by actively opting in to receive marketing emails, you know you’re going to be connecting with engaged customers who are ready to find out more about your products or services. You can also use performance marketing email to push your message out to new potential customers. By offering bespoke offers tailored to their interests, you can build trust and so that you’re connected to their interests. 

If you’re not fully confident in successfully implementing a performance marketing email strategy, consider bringing on board a specialized agency with a pay-for-performance model.  

Benefits include:

  • An increase in qualified leads
  • Easier to create relevant content thanks to audience segmentation
  • High ROI
  • Effective market attribution 
  • Follows compliance guidelines 

You can collect email addresses at the point of purchase for newsletter signups, access to exclusive discounts, in exchange for valuable content like a relevant ebook, and more.  

For every dollar spent on email marketing, you can expect an ROI of around $44. You can also work towards creating increased engagement by using tactics including audience segmentation, A/B testing, and creating tailored experiences based on the behavior of individual users.   

SMS Marketing 

Some trends seem to go round in cycles, and that means that the humble SMS has gone from an old-school communication method to the latest must-have marketing strategy.  

The open rate for SMS is a huge 98%, compared to just 20% for emails. So while we’re convinced that email marketing is indeed a great strategy, combining it with SMS marketing makes complete sense. Part of the reason for its success is that SMS encourages an immediate reaction — many of us are hardwired to immediately click on any SMS notification that comes through, which means that most messages are opened (and replied to!) within just 90 seconds.      

While the email marketing space is pretty much saturated, that’s not the case for SMS. It’s a novel way for businesses to communicate with their customers and one that only 30% of favorite brands use. It’s also a fantastic way to drive more engagement, with 45% of recipients replying to SMS from a brand. Now’s the time to jump on this trend and reach current and potential new customers in an innovative and engaging way.  

These short messages are a great way to advertise the launch of a new product, offer time-limited discounts, or directly ask customers for their feedback. With a limit of around 160 characters, these little messages might be short and sweet but used the right way; those words can pack a lot of punch.       

For Both Email And SMS — Don’t Forget Compliance 

Setting up compliant email and SMS marketing strategies can take a little time and effort, but it’s absolutely necessary. Laws like the CAN-SPAM Act 2003 and The Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) need to be adhered to, or you risk some hefty fines.  

To create a compliant email marketing strategy, you need to follow these basic rules:

  • Offer a opt-out (unsubscribe) method 
  • Honor all opt-out requests 
  • Communicate opt-out requests with third parties 
  • Clearly identify your business domain and email address
  • Use clear and easy to understand subject lines
  • Identify your emails as commercial 
  • Include a valid physical portal address 

For a compliant SMS marketing strategy, make sure you include:

  • Gain express written consent prior to sending messages 
  • Clearly explain messaging rates
  • Offer information about the type and frequency of content 
  • Clearly describe how to opt-out
  • Provide a link to full terms and conditions 
  • Maintain records for at least four years 

Suppression Lists 

Because opt-outs extend to any third parties, like affiliates, that you might share your subscription lists with, it’s important to have robust procedures around this data. This will usually be in the form of suppression list management for both SMS and email marketing campaigns. To achieve this, you’ll need to collect and store all opt-out requests on a suppression list before distributing these securely to all your partners.

This might sound complex — and there is a lot that needs to be done to ensure compliance. To make things easier, it’s a good idea to automate the entire process. 

Abuse of email suppression lists is the most common violation of the CAN-SPAM Act, and fines can reach up to $43k per email. 

Down With Cookies: The Future Is First-Party Data 

As we start to look towards a world without third-party cookies, there are plenty of other options out there to replace them. You might find your marketing strategy sees an increase in ROI when you start focusing on how to best use all that first-party data collected directly from your customers instead.

Shifting towards marketing strategies like email and SMS gives you a way to build a true connection with your customers instead of serving ads to potential customers who, let’s face it, probably aren’t even reading your carefully crafted copy. 

As long as you make sure to create a robust strategy that follows the latest compliance guidelines around email and SMS marketing, you should start to see big results with a smaller budget. And what’s not to like about that?


About Madrivo

Madrivo is a performance-based marketing agency dedicated to multichannel customer acquisition solutions. Our unique services feature an exclusive network of vetted traffic sources that respect your brand while delivering quality and high-converting consumers. The company is headquartered in Las Vegas, NV, and has offices and team members across the globe.  

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