By Neel Pandya, CEO, APAC, Pyxis One
The last decade has seen the fastest, as well as, the most number of tech advancements ever. To broadly recall a few; we upgraded from 3G to 4G quite unconsciously, smartphones and tabs are everywhere, and social media channels have become synonymous with entertainment, marketing, and advertising. And now comes the turn of something that gained popularity in the last two decades but is all set to demise in this decade – cookies.
Cookies have been around literally since the beginning of the internet. It’s common knowledge that by clicking “Allow all”, you are consenting to the storage of first and/or third-party cookies on your device. This helps brands, and partners of the brands, enhance your experience and send relevant communication to you. Reports show, approximately 31.8 per cent of consumers are bound to click on the “Allow all” option in exchange for a seamless, unhindered web browsing experience. However, things are changing as I write this.
Change is brewing
Owing to rising concerns and complaints about how consumer data is being collected, stored and used, browser giants like Apple Safari, Firefox, and Google Chrome have either already disbanded their third-party cookie storage approach or are working towards the same. This essentially means the digital marketing landscape is changing rapidly. However, this does not necessarily have to spell disaster for marketers. Precision targeting and individualised communication between businesses and users can still mushroom by maximising first-party data collection on websites. This consent-based data collection helps increase users’ trust, reliance and retention on the platform.
But the marketing fraternity’s concern remains – how do we effectively target communication to the relevant consumers without cookies? The solution is Artificial Intelligence. We have evolved from the earliest forms of marketing to becoming digital natives over the last two decades and now we are progressing into becoming AI natives.
How exactly can AI help navigate a cookieless web?
To begin with, AI systems comprise complex neural networks that are fed and trained with incredible amounts of data. Based on this data, the AI begins to learn actions, predict outcomes and recommend optimal actions to achieve a particular marketing goal. The most heartening news for marketers however is the fact that AI is able to provide deep insights into the constantly evolving customer base and improve the understanding brands have of their users, without cookies. AI can bridge the gap in data that is proving to grow wider due to consumer protests and safety concerns about data collection and usage.
Right from enabling omni-channel communication to taking contextual advertising to a whole new level, AI is able to effectively fill the gap that cookie restrictions are bound to create. Deep learning algorithms and natural language processing models are becoming progressively more adept at identifying and predicting customer intent. These AI models analyse and learn from billions of first-party data points on brands’ owned channels as well as other external sources in order to make predictions and recommendations in real-time.
Jeff Bezos could not have been more right when he said, “AI is in a ‘golden age’ and solving problems that were once in the realm of sci-fi”. We live in a world that grooves to the tunes of tighter user privacy frameworks and responsible access to consumer data, as it rightly should, and AI is the paramount path towards achieving optimal ROI and uplifting business growth phenomenally. Additionally, with AI strengthening omni-channel communication, marketers can target user sets across channels thus amplifying campaign impact with conversational marketing.
In short, the impending cookiepocolypse does not necessarily paralyse businesses from achieving their long and short-term goals and desirable stature. In fact, it has opened doors to enable more opt-in-based targeting marketing methods and is acting as a spur for rapid technological advancements, keeping safety and privacy in mind. Remarkable advancements in every field, throughout the ages, have been made in the face of adversity and challenges. And so comes marketing and AI’s turn to propel forward in leaps and bounds.