The end of cookies?
How to strengthen the customer journey.

In the second half of 2024, Google will remove third-party cookies. Third-party cookies are
data companies collect to track our activity on the net and offer us personalized advertising.
According to a study, as many as 90% of organizations rely heavily on these cookies.
Companies will therefore need to find another way to maintain customer interactions and
strengthen relationships. Customer Data Platforms (CDP) offer a solution.


The main reason for removing third-party cookies is privacy, although it seems logical that alternatives are emerging. With FLOCs (Federated Learning Of Cohorts), Google wants to enable the delivery of ads based on the browsing behavior of entire groups of users. This way, Google avoids keeping data and creating a profile for each individual. However, it is legitimate to ask whether this is not simply a new variant of classic cookies. In any case, it is best to be proactive: if your company can no longer serve personalized ads, the return on your ads will be greatly reduced.

 Instead of waiting for a solution from Google & co. it is better to focus on first-party cookies, i.e. the data your company collects, stores and uses on your domain. If you have a good relationship with your customers, they will share their data more quickly. Especially if you can offer them, in return, relevant information and offers based on their personal interests and buying behavior. Even better: today's customers expect you to meet all their expectations and provide them with a tailor-made service. It has become a must if a good customer experience is used to set you apart from your competitors. But how do you manage your customer data across all channels and turn it into real-time information?

The customer data platform

Most companies have a huge amount of customer data, but fail to get an overview of it to deliver personalized messages through the best channel at the best time. This is because the information is scattered across several data sets and depends on the environment where the interaction with the customer takes place (website, app, shop, etc.). On average, the customer journey takes place in more than three channels. Therefore, it is crucial to tackle this data fragmentation: a customer who buys a product on the webshop expects this experience to be transposed to a branch of the shop.

More and more organizations are looking at Customer Data Platforms (CDP). This platform collects all customer data in one place, making it possible to generate a 360° customer profiles. In addition, the system links databases that do not share customer data. Consider organizations' applications for marketing, customer service, and e-commerce. Personal customer data is also linked to information you received before that person became a customer (such as anonymous cookies), so you know exactly which devices that person uses.

By making this profile available to different departments in real time and by connecting customer data to many other systems (email, advertising platforms, content management systems, etc.), you promote internal collaboration on the customer journey and improve personalized interactions. Customer data platforms are, therefore, useful for collecting and activating data, gathering information, and gaining new insights.

Benefits of CDPs

The benefits of CDPs are manifold. As explained, the platform allows for personalized customer interactions. An example: someone is interested in a product on the website, but does not buy it. In this case, you can attract this person with a personalized offer and convince them to place an order. If they are interested in the offer, you increase your chances of making contact fivefold.

A CDP can also be used to exclude certain people from advertising campaigns. A customer who has already purchased a product no longer needs to see an advertisement. If your customer data is scattered in different silos, it is impossible to share it with other systems. A CDP combines marketing and purchase data, allowing you to focus on the right people to optimize your advertising budget. Connecting systems with information can go a long way. For example, a shop associate could share highly personalized offers and generate more revenue.

How do you recognize a good CDP?

Of course, CDPs do not perform miracles. It is therefore necessary to establish measurable objectives and to choose a platform that can meet the needs and objectives of your business. Today, many vendors offer CDPs.

Here are some characteristics of a good customer data platform:

  • Simplicity: CDPs can be very technical so a simple interface and user experience for your marketing team is essential.
  • Data handling: Ability to handle both known (CRM data, sales data, etc.) and unknown data (e.g. web analytics). 
  • Availability of API's: a good CDP includes a large set of APIs to connect to trading partners' systems.
  • Meet privacy and data protection regulations, especially if the CDP can guess a person's identity. 
  • Real-time engagement across channels: The CDP should not limit the number of channels over which you exploit the data. Data should be available in real time on all channels and devices on which you communicate with customers.

Much information is generated for each customer journey. A quality customer data platform, such as Genie, Salesforce's real-time data platform, allows you to quickly mine this data and use insights to make your customer experience more personal and engaging. In short, you'll better understand who your customers are and their needs. Even in a world without cookies.

Roel Naessens, Regional VP Marketing Cloud & Commerce Cloud at Salesforce.



The BAM Marketing Congress is your annual meet-up with professionals passionate about marketing.