There is an ongoing debate over the removal of third-party cookies and what the impact will be on advertisers and consumers. In the latest chapter, Google has now scrapped FLoC, a proposed cookie-replacement technology, in favor of a new system called Topics. The goal of Topics is the same – to remove third-party cookies from the Chrome browser, yet still provide advertisers with demographic data on consumers while respecting increasingly restrictive consumer privacy laws.

It’s interesting to note that other browsers – Firefox and Safari, for example – have restricted the use of cookies for some time. Yet, Google’s outsized influence on digital advertising, and Chrome’s lion’s share of the browser market, makes a cookieless web a serious threat to brands that rely on this technology to identify and target consumers. Which is why it’s high time for brands to establish their own process of customer identification and relevant targeting using high-quality “brand-owned,” first-party data.

First-party customer data is superior to third-party cookies and personal digital identifiers

The onboarding experience following product purchase and registration is an optimal time to capture self-reported, first-party data in the form of ownership data – an understanding of who owns your product, what product(s) they own, and other characteristics about the individual. As Michelle Esgar, Group Manager, Brand Experience at Panasonic, states, “Unlike cookie data, which is short term and limited primarily to marketing and sales, ownership data helps us understand who our customers are—far beyond demographics and purchase path. We can build better customer relationships, develop far more accurate marketing personas, and utilize owner insights to drive future product innovation.”

Registria, along with our brand partners, has transformed product registration into an engaging onboarding experience that results in a highly accurate and personalized first-party data asset. The onboarding experience also offers a key opportunity to collect customer consent, with opt-in rates commonly well above 65% (at times as high as 90+%).

The ability to capture owner-declared data – such as name, products owned, place of purchase, and purchase price – is key to identifying and understanding current product owners.

By knowing the product owner, brands can establish a direct relationship over the duration the individual owns the product, also known as the ownership lifecycle. During the stages of ownership, brands can manage engagement across the brand’s owned touchpoints and reach product owners with relevant communications and personalized support. Brands can also continue to collect first-party data throughout the ownership lifecycle, including when a customer reaches out to the brand for support and interacts with digital resources. As a result, brands can recognize customers more readily across many touchpoints, provide a better ownership experience, grow customer value, and influence brand loyalty.

Using ownership data to support market insights and customer analytics

Brands have an opportunity to use ownership data for market insights, persona development, and product development. For example, looking across ownership data and other data, a brand can pick up on patterns of behavior such as which products are most popular in which regions, generational preferences, or segments of consumers with a greater affinity to purchase product protection plans or subscriptions.

As the Senior Digital Marketing Manager at Cuisinart shares, “Ownership data is truly the best first-party data we have. It tells us who our customers are and then fuels many of the direct and indirect marketing efforts we undertake.”

Whats more, a deeper customer understanding and ability to connect directly with and retarget customers using the brand’s own data paves the way for a Direct to Consumer (DTC) offering, or in support of a brand’s own eCommerce platform, that can yield significant new revenue.   

Leveraging First-Party Data for Better Outcomes

Regardless of the cookie-replacement technology Google eventually rolls out, it’s time for brands to take action on the inevitable transition away from cookies and personal identifiers. Even Google is recommending that brands start adopting a first-party data strategy.

Superior first-party data sources, such as ownership data, will deliver more relevant marketing opportunities, more opportunities for personalization across the entire product ownership lifecycle, and give brands much needed control over the insights they need to identify, retain and attract customers. The results will be much sweeter than any cookie.

If you’re looking for strategies to collect more customer data and insights, an expert on our team can help you explore options. Raise your hand, here. I’ll be sure our team is prompt with great ideas.