Before we get into the death of the cookie, we should talk about what a cookie actually is. At a basic level, a cookie is a small text file placed by a website on your computer when you visit. This file stores information about your activity on the site, such as page views, login credentials, and purchases, as well as any additional information you voluntarily give the website like your email or postal address. This information allows websites to deliver tailored content to their visitors, remember login credentials, set language preferences and a wide range of other functions that generally enhance the overall user experience.
However, not all cookies are the same and an important distinction should be made here.
First-party cookies are placed on your computer by the website itself for the purpose of providing enhanced user experience (as I described above). These cookies are generally considered “helpful” and as such are currently not under threat of disappearing any time soon.
But another type of cookie exists that sometimes blurs the line between helpful and invasive – the third-party cookie. A third-party cookie is essentially the same as a first-party cookie in that it is a text file used to store information. However, these cookies are placed on your computer by advertisers and are used to track your browsing history from one site to the next with the end goal of finding out what your interests are and using this information to serve you targeted ads. I’m sure many of us have noticed if you visit websites with a similar theme (surfing for example) you’ll tend to see a higher percentage of surfing-related ads. While this practice might seem commonplace today, many people find the use of their personal data for advertising to be an invasion of their privacy.
There’s no way to sugar-coat it, third-party cookies have been slowly dying for years, and recently, it seems like this decline has been increasing rapidly. But why? Why are third party cookies being picked on? In our research, the decline can be boiled down to three major factors: societal, technical, and legislative.
Recent legislation, such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), requires websites that collect personal data to disclose to visitors how and why they are using their data – allowing them to opt-out of all non-essential cookies (i.e. the ones marketers use). This has resulted in the rise of many people opting out of cookies, which has caused a dramatic decrease in the amount of information available through third-party cookies in general.
Furthermore, the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), which will go into effect in January 2020, will provide Californians with greater control over how their personal data is collected, handled, and sold by organizations.
But there’s a bigger picture here: All of these browser updates, societal shifts, and legislation underscore the growing sentiment and trend toward increasing personal privacy, and in turn, making it much harder for marketers to use third-party cookies to track consumers.
Well, that depends on how you’re gathering information about your target accounts. If you’re currently using IP address intelligence or reverse IP lookup technology for your account-based marketing you are ahead of the game, nothing will change, carry on. However, if you’re currently using cookie-based tracking for content personalization, retargeting, or a myriad of other things we need to make an account-based marketing strategy possible, you might find a bumpy road ahead.
If you’re reading this and a sense of panic has gripped you, I’ve got some good news and some bad news. The bad news is that for B2C marketers that rely on personal data to power their marketing strategies, we really don’t have an answer yet. It’s pretty much that simple. We don’t yet know of any alternative to cookies when it comes to tracking unique individuals or gathering personal data from website visitors.
However, if you’re a B2B marketer, you can breathe easy knowing that even though third-party cookies are on their deathbed, an alternative exists that can provide the crucial information you need for all the account-based marketing activities your team is doing.
IP address intelligence is the process of translating a company’s IP address into a set of traits about that company, called firmographics. These traits can include things such as company name, employee count, revenue, industry, geolocation, and more. Firmographics are the crucial pieces of information B2B marketers rely on to drive account-based marketing and deliver enhanced user experience on their websites.
What makes KickFire’s IP address intelligence unique is that because it is focused solely on businesses and not personal data or individuals, which makes it the ideal choice in a MarTech landscape that is becoming more and more hostile towards third-party cookies. In addition, because business IP addresses are typically static (i.e. less likely to change), the data collected based on a business IP address is not only more in-depth but is more reliable and less likely to become stale or outdated.
The beauty of IP address intelligence is that this technology is browser-independent. Why? Because an IP address is associated with the device itself, not the browser. Meaning the dominance browser providers have over cookies, does not, and cannot ever apply to IP addresses. Regardless of the decisions the browser providers make, IP address intelligence will always be able to deliver the vital data marketers need to power their ABM programs.
Over the years, we’ve witnessed the marketing landscape drastically change, but in our eyes, one thing has remained the same: IP address intelligence is and always will be the way forward for marketers. IP address intelligence is finally taking its place as the leading first-party intent tracking technology for businesses.
As we move toward a world of heightened individual consumer privacy and constantly changing browser restrictions, third-party cookies will soon breathe their last breath, and IP address intelligence will be there to ensure B2B marketers continue to get the account-level data they need to power their ABM strategies and even go beyond what they were able to achieve using cookies.
If you want to learn more about KickFire’s technology and how it can future-proof your digital marketing strategy, check out our TWIN Caching Guide.