The cookie’s crumbling…. it’s time to reset your customer retargeting strategy

The cookie is crumbling - customer retargeting

There’s been a lot of talk recently about the impending impact of Google removing third-party cookie tracking. Here’s our two cents worth….

Many marketers rely on third-party cookies for customer retargeting digital campaigns. However, Google announced back in January 2020 that Chrome will no longer support third-party cookies. This was expected to happen by late 2022, yet Google recently made a surprising announcement that this would be delayed by up to a year.

Marketers breathed a sigh of relief at this news and have probably now moved this way down their list of priorities. But there’s no point in delaying the inevitable. Plus, believe it or not, there are actually more effective ways you can retarget your customers. 

Why are these changes happening?

In recent years, we have seen a number of data protection laws and regulations come into effect to recognise and respect customer privacy. Cookies are essentially ‘online identifiers’, tracking codes placed on a web visitor’s device after being generated by another website (other than your own).

Marketers need the ability to retarget their customers. Yet as a customer yourself, think how annoying these retargeted ads can be when not considered as part of the customer journey. You search for a product once and then it pops up every time you go online.  So with these impending changes approaching (albeit a little later than expected), we wanted to share some of our top tips on how you can say goodbye to third-party cookies, and get even better results.

1. Leverage your first-party data

Essentially, the removal of third-party cookies is forcing marketers to leverage the first-party data already available to them. This may be via one source, although it’s more likely you will have an eco-system of different data sources, such as CRM, eComm, POS, loyalty programs, email marketing platforms, to name a few. There’s a ridiculous amount of value in this data, and the majority goes untouched.

2. Integrate your data to gain a single customer view

The best way to leverage your data is by gaining a single customer view. This can be achieved by integrating all of your data points into one platform. There’s a process to this, but it’s not as complex as you might think. As a tech-agnostic agency, we have helped many brands integrate their data to create a single view. This is achieved via data cleansing and duplication removal, data hygiene and data enrichment techniques. Multiple transactions may be made through different channels, but by the same customer. Once the data integration is complete, it enables analysis of unique customer behaviours between the different transactional channels. We recommend you integrate your data into a dynamic list, therefore whenever a customer makes a transaction (either in-store or online) – it will automatically sync the data, ensuring you have near real-time insights on how your customers are actually behaving. 

This process doesn’t just help marketers market to their customers better, it will help other areas of the business plan better such as sales and operations. 

3. Identify relevant customer data fields you need

Once you have all of your data integrated, it’s easy to identify any valuable data that’s missing. By this we mean data that will help you engage with your customers better. For example, a hair care supplier may segment their content based on hair colour, hair type, favourite brand etc. Customers expect personalisation, if they receive something that’s not relevant to them, they won’t read it. Take some time to consider the data that you need to deliver personalised experiences to your customers. Work with your marketing and CX teams, listen to the voice of the customer to help you acquire additional information from your customers.

4. Target your customers based on their actual behaviour

This is where many brands fail. Blanket communications are sent to customers, which achieve low open rates and even lower click through rates. Customology’s research ‘The Unspoken Customer’ revealed that 45% of customers believe brands don’t target them with relevant content.  More and more customers have embraced digital solutions since the start of 2020, it’s a flooded market so it’s never been more important to make your brand stand out and cut through the noise. How do you achieve this? By sending relevant messages to your customers. You can go as deep as you like here, for example, contact the customer based on the last purchase they made, with products you think they will like based on their previous purchases, remind them it’s time to reorder their home food delivery or favourite shampoo. Let them know there is a special offer on their favourite products, recognise and reward them for being a loyal (high value) customer. We could go on and on here! 

5. Utilise alternative channels to communicate with your customers

Think of all the different ways you communicate with your friends and family; Phone, email, SMS, Facebook, Messenger, Instagram, WhatsApp, Tik Tok. Often you’ll be communicating to the same person via more than one of these channels too. Customers are just the same – there’s no one size fits all. They’re on the move and respond in different ways. So if you’re not getting the results you want from email, then give another channel a try. Back to our earlier points, once you have your data synced and understand how your customers are behaving, it’s so much easier to have a conversation with them and try something new. 


The cookie may be crumbling, but you can leverage your first-party data to make better use out of Google (and every other platform too).

Although the initial response to the removal of third-party cookies was unsettling for many, we think that it has reminded marketers of how they are communicating with their customers. It’s reinforcing the importance of communicating to existing customers better, to prioritise customer retention rather than chasing new customers. After all, a great relationship comes down to great communication. This is an opportunity for marketers to get ahead of the game, to get their data in order, to build stronger relationships with their customers – which will certainly have long-term benefits to the business and a very positive impact on revenue. 

Customology is helping brands market smarter, we’re revolutionising customer engagement through our innovative customer messaging platform, Vector.

Vector helps you centralise your marketing and deliver integrated campaigns across Email, SMS, Ad Audiences and Outbound Calls. Target your customers with relevant messaging based on their behaviour and actions – resulting in higher engagement, improved conversion rates and reduced marketing spend. Keen to learn more? Contact us on 1300 264 549 or

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