Apple’s Intelligent Tracking Prevention and What Marketers Can Do About It
It seems every time we turn around, a new consumer channel is being introduced — another social media app, another home assistant, another way to engage. But as consumers press on with their always-on, ultra-connected lives, marketers are left struggling to just make basic connections between email, mobile, social and web identities without the added complexity of emerging channels. With consumers always on the go, sometimes interweaving between channels and devices simultaneously, a customer identity crisis has evolved that has made identifying a customer and connecting their behaviors across all channels a harrowing task.
And now there's a new tracking complexity to add to the mix. Last summer, Apple released a feature for iOS Safari called “Intelligent Tracking Prevention” that limits how long marketers can use their own first-party data to retarget visitors that previously visited their site. For years, marketers have had unlimited access to their first-party cookies and relied on how they would never expire unless the user cleared them or decided to navigate in private browsing. But now with Apple’s ITP, if an iOS shopper hasn't been to your site in over 30 days, the cookies that have been mounted in Safari will expire. When the user does eventually return to your website, they will appear to be a brand-new shopper with no history and no identity.
So what can retail marketers do when users view products or categories across multiple devices but wait longer than 30 days to purchase? How can retailers ensure that the experience they've carefully crafted for shoppers isn't sent back to square one when their cookies expire?
Identity Resolution is Key to the Customer Identity Crisis
To solve for the growing customer identity crisis, you must incorporate customer identity resolution. Identity resolution technology links all the behaviors and engagement patterns of specific, individual consumers even if customers are using multiple, different devices or user IDs. If a customer hasn't been recently engaged with your brand causing Apple ITP to erase their cookie and footprint, the next time they make themselves known, identity resolution can recognize them and connect their current interactions to previous behaviors, helping you take the next best action rather than starting from scratch.
Real-Time Behavioral Marketing is Crucial to Ongoing Engagement
Smart retailers are implementing behavioral marketing campaigns that take personalization one step further by tying together all channels to get a holistic connection of consumer behavior to power messages in real time. Having seamless, interrupted customer behavioral data allows you to create dynamic personalized experiences that will help customers convert and bring them back to the website even before their 30-day window expires. Once a customer has left your site, you need to remind them why they left in the first place — and I’m not talking simple cart abandonment messages.
Retailers have to take into consideration a customer's entire behavioral footprint to ensure they're re-engaging them in the appropriate way. Marketers today are not only sending triggered messaging to match behaviors to products, but they're also incorporating previous behaviors in their mass marketing sends. It’s understanding what products they're most likely to purchase next; what products they may need to complement some of their recent purchases; what promotions, discounts and back-in-stock items they'll want to snag; knowing what channels they're more likely to purchase in; and, when all else fails, knowing when they're disengaging and nearing that 30-day window. By doing this, you'll keep near-term and long-term engagement high and overall customer dissatisfaction low.
Kristen Hamerstadt is the vice president of marketing at SmarterHQ, a behavioral marketing platform, where she oversees demand generation, brand management, and marketing campaigns.
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Kristen Hamerstadt is the VP of Marketing at SmarterHQ, a behavioral marketing platform, where she oversees demand generation, brand management, and marketing campaigns. Prior to SmarterHQ, she led global marketing campaigns at Salesforce. She is also the Founder of Ladies in SaaS which is focused on building a strong, empowered community of women in tech.