As browsers, such as Google, cement their plans to comprehensively curtail third-party cookie tracking, and consumers get more proactive about protecting their online privacy; marketers must shift to a first- and zero-party data strategy to power their advertising and marketing initiatives. They must gain permission from their customers or risk being labelled as “creepy”.
The way to engage with consumers is through real-time, hyper-personalised experiences, a new eConsultancy report, in partnership with Cheetah Digital, reveals. The report, ‘2022 Digital Consumer Trends Index: Consumer Attitudes and Trends in Personalisation, Privacy, Messaging, Advertising and Brand Loyalty’ indicates that consumers across the UK are ready for a new era of ‘relationship marketing’.
Speaking with Paula Thomas on her weekly podcast “Let’s Talk Loyalty”, Cheetah Digital’s VP of Content and Data Tim Glomb breaks down key takeaways from the report, diving into consumer attitudes towards personalisation, privacy, messaging and brand loyalty in the UK.
Say goodbye to lazy, cookie-based tactics
Cheetah Digital’s report reveals that more than half of UK consumers (64%) believe cookie tracking is creepy. For marketers everywhere, it’s time to take note. “There is a better way and that’s permission-based marketing. It isn’t rocket science. In fact, it should be common sense,” Tim says.
Meanwhile, incognito browsing shot up 50% this year compared to last. “It’s like a revolt of sorts,” he points out. “For years, marketers got fat on cookie technology. We embraced technology that made us lazy marketers, putting the creative to the side and focusing solely on sales goals. And consumers are over it. They’re done. They don’t care about your marketing plan.”
Paula says that there’s a fine line between what’s okay to use and what’s just downright unacceptable. “I was recently speaking with a friend about a cold sore she had. And immediately, I started getting ads for herpes creams on my mobile phone. It was distressing,” she shares.
Tim says things like that happen all too often. “But the data continues to show that, year over year, people are getting increasingly frustrated with those types of tactics,” he says. “Marketers need to leave that approach to the real spies of the world and get on with building better relationships.”
Power of personalisation
It turns out, greater personalisation yields return-on-investment (ROI) and long-term consumer excitement – as long as it’s done correctly. “If you can personalise at scale, you’re not really doing what consumers expect,” Tim says. “Our report shows a 110% lift in people wanting to be treated as an individual, which really cements Cheetah Digital’s strategy and investment into personalisation engines.
“As a marketer, that’s something you can’t sleep on anymore. After COVID, people want to have a voice. They want to be recognised, and they want to be given recognition for their allegiance and loyalty to brands. The data speaks for itself — it’s not me saying you have to personalise; it’s almost 5,000 people telling you that.”
Before anything else, marketers need to create a strategy that involves getting closer to their customers. Customers are saying, ‘We’re happy to provide our data and sign up to your marketing program in exchange for relevant offers sent directly to me.’
Email also remains an incredibly effective tool for marketers to harness. When it comes to
driving sales, the report finds that email beats paid social and display advertising
by up to 128% in the UK.
“Email remains the number one driver,” Tim says. “It beats out banner ads, social posts and other channels for driving commerce. And it’s been around forever. Email is a staple, and it’s something every brand needs to have for a robust strategy.”
One of the reasons email remains effective year after year is its personalisation capabilities. “You can personalise email beyond just a first name in a database,” Tim points out. “Now, we can inject keywords into subject lines to influence the open rate.”
Feeling part of a community
This year’s report also highlights that consumers want to feel like they’re part of a community. In the value exchange economy, UK consumers are rewarding brands that make personalisation a priority, with more than half (54%) saying they will trade personal and preference data to feel part of a brand’s community.
“For a brand, that means creating a forum for customers to engage and get to know each other,” Tim says. “Brands can create value in more ways than points alone. Upgrades are great, but they’re not enough if you aren’t providing a sense of community and recognising individual actions too.”
Paula agrees, adding the importance of innovative loyalty. “With more of that, the whole industry will flourish,” she says. “Consumers will increase their levels of engagement once they have an opportunity to connect with a brand.”
Tim says Cheetah Digital prizes itself on having a robust, customised and emotional loyalty solution. “We don’t sell a one-size-fits-all solution. It’s bespoke; each brand is completely unique. We get excited when brands ask us to come up with something different that goes beyond points, rewards and transactions,” he says.
Future-proofing with relationship marketing
As the third-party cookie continues to crumble, one of the biggest revelations for marketers has been the sheer fact that relationship marketing doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg. Contests and sweepstakes, for example, are cost-effective methods of engagement.
However, to get the most bang for their buck, Tim says embracing technology is a must. “When brands start using technology to continue the conversation and listen meaningfully to consumers, their loyalty and product offerings become far more aligned with their audience. Technology enables marketers to give the right offer to the right person at the right time,” he says.