Setting Up Your Business to Receive Payments (What You Need to Know)

When you go into business for yourself, there are so many things to consider and set up. You need to get a website, outline your services, create products, determine how you’ll deliver goods, etc.
The one obvious thing that’s easy to forget is figuring out how you’ll receive payments. You may or may not want that first check to actually be a check so it’s important to set your business up to receive payments.
Here are some key things you can do.
Obtain a Tax ID Number
This is one of the first steps you should take to set your business up to receive payments. You can still accept payments without a tax ID number, but it will be under your personal social security number as a sole proprietor.
However, if you want a business bank account and a merchant account, it’s best to set up your tax ID number through the IRS.
Obtaining this will also make it easier to sort through business income and expenses come tax time.
Open a Business Bank Account
When you get paid the money has to go somewhere so it’s crucial that you open a separate business bank account. Most traditional and online banks offer a business checking account option.
Read the terms in detail and be mindful of any fees that could come up as well as how you can avoid them. With a business bank account, you can also set up direct deposit with clients and allow them to deposit checks directly into your account.
Set Up a Merchant Account
A merchant account is a type of business bank account that will allow you to accept payments via debit and credit card transactions. When a customer pays for a product or service, the funds will initially be sent to your merchant account.
From there, the payment can be transferred to your business bank account. Most merchant accounts will charge you a startup fee, a fee per transaction, and quite a few other fees so keep this in mind.
Consider an Online Payment Processing System
This is an alternative to a merchant account that may actually save you money. If you want to set up your business to receive payments online, you can choose options like PayPal or Due to help you send invoices and accept payments from clients and customers.
Transaction fees for Due are low and customers also get live account monitoring, chargeback protection, fraud prevention along with reports and analytics.
Most business transactions are conducted via credit card these days anyway so being able to accept these types of payments with ease is vital.
Credit Card Reader
If you’ll be handling payments from customers in person, consider investing in a point of sale card reader. Having this will allow you to securely set your business up to receive payments if you operate a brick and mortar location.
Square and PayPal are two of the most popular options and have transaction fees ranging from 2.5% to 2.7% currently. Many companies will even allow you to obtain your initial card reader for free. For example, PayPal runs some promotions where you can get your card reader for free.
Accepting payments should be the easy part when it comes to running your business. Luckily, it’s not difficult to set your business up to receive payments. Plus, you’ll be more than motivated to take action once you start preparing products and services to sell.
Choose which option works best for you when it comes to accepting payments and don’t be afraid to have multiple options ready to go.

How to Find New B2B Revenue Within Your Consumer Customer Base

Imagine an effective, streamlined way for enterprises with both B2C and B2B lines of business to identify cross-sell and new growth opportunities. It exists today. And that’s good news for brands under constant pressure to find new revenue growth tactics.
Consumer brands are already investing in marketing and the customer experience as ways to differentiate and grow share of wallet in their hyper-competitive markets. Now they are wisely turning their attention to data-driven processes. Doing so unlocks creative paths to driving growth from cross-sells without continually clawing their way to new customers.
Uncovering commercial opportunities
Perhaps ironically, one of the most promising and largest growth areas for consumer brands lies in their commercial solutions. Numerous brands have already recognized and capitalized on the huge opportunity of cross-selling commercial solutions to existing consumer customers.
Banking on their established trust with and access to these consumers, they are generating new revenues on the commercial side of their businesses. They are doing so by identifying and pursuing commercial opportunities through their consumer relationships.
Consider the examples of businesses that tap into their thousands and even millions of consumer customers to identify paths to additional commercial revenues. Banks like Citigroup and Wells Fargo can market business banking business owners who currently use their personal bank services. The same goes for insurance providers like The Hartford and Progressive, or lenders like LendingTree who can find potential business borrowers for their new SMB loans from their millions of consumer borrowers. Take Spotify, which just launched Ad Studio to help more businesses create audio advertisements. With over 200 million users, Spotify could target existing users who are in marketing, digital, or leadership roles at growing brands. The list of examples goes on and on.
In many cases, these brands are aware of a certain subset of existing business customers within their existing consumer customer base. However, with the right technology and data, they can identify a new set of existing consumers who are also business owners and highly promising prospects, labeled as Audience B in the graphic.

This is the sweet spot and low-hanging fruit for consumer brands. Once they identify and cross-sell to this segment in their sales and marketing efforts, they can see tremendous business impact. Namely, they can grow their reach to the entire population of business prospects.
Challenges solving the underlying data linkage problem
Like many customer experience and growth strategies, this one comes down to solving a technology and data challenge.
Most brands already have the essentials in place to effectively market to these prospective business customers: mailing addresses, email addresses, and phone numbers. However, they lack visibility into which of their consumers are also business owners and business decision makers, and which businesses they work for. That oversight is due to the failure to link the identities of consumer and business customers
Companies need to connect a third-party data source to their consumer data to identify that overlap. While certain solutions promise to enable this visibility, they have fallen short to date.
Data integration solutions and service providers like Epsilon lack the B2B data that enables the linkages between consumer and business. Plus, they are often deficient when it comes to APIs that enable real-time matching.
Data providers offer amazingly deep and broad B2B data. Yet they too are unable to link consumer contact data back to business information.

The reason for this linkage break is that consumer records contain basic data like personal email, phone, and address, while business records contain attributes like business phone, business email, title, role, and company. Because the two sets of data don’t share common data fields, it’s challenging – if not impossible – for these vendors to link the records.
The solution: unique data and APIs
A solution is now available to put an end to these frustrations. It addresses the key requirements below to overcome these limitations to date.
1. Consumer-contact-to-business-contact linkages.
The first step is linking consumer contact records to business contact records to identify matches. This is complicated since consumer records might contain just a name, email address, and phone number. With the right data and APIs, it’s possible to effectively enrich business contact information with additional consumer data in one profile, making it possible to then match to an existing consumer contact record. Not only does this enable your business to find each consumer’s business profile, it also enables you to mine your consumer customer base for the roles that matter to you (e.g., owners, VPs, directors, GMs, controllers, etc.).
As shown in the graphic below, we now know that Tim Barrington is the president and general manager of a company.

2. Business record linked to the business contact record.
The next step makes it possible to uncover information about the business, helping the brand further segment and personalize its business solution offers based on the business profile. This linkage also enables operations and data teams to enrich their internal systems with critical data points on existing business clients.
Continuing with the example above, we now see details about the company that Tim works for, including industry, size, and locations.
3. Matching technology to link records and resolve identities.
Just like your solution is only as good as the underlying data, your ability to match accurately and at high rates is equally as important. This process matches and links the same business and contacts records from many data sources to a single record with business ID or contact IDs. Ideally, the solution will use real-time, fuzzy matching models that apply machine learning to maximize the accuracy and rate of matches.
4. Third-party data ecosystem to enable linking and discovery.
Cross-sell may be a top priority due to the go-to-market efficiencies that often lead to shorter sales cycles and lower costs than new customer acquisition. However, visibility and access to the total addressable market is a major value add. The best solution provides access to large third-party data sources, which is important for two reasons. First, additional data sources create a larger matching pool, enabling higher match rates that pinpoint existing consumer customers who are also business buyers. Second, external data sources help teams identify net-new business buyers they can acquire.
Consumer-to-business matching in action
One of the largest banks in the US generates more than a third of revenues through its consumer business, but has grown its business banking to 22% of revenue. With a goal of driving even more business revenue, the bank wanted to identify likely business owners (LBOs) that it was unaware of within its consumer population.
Radius applied its B2B2C solution to help the bank identify commercial opportunities within its consumer base. The Radius solution delivered a 2x higher match rate than the bank could achieve using internal methods. The result is that the bank increased the number of LBOs identified for SMB marketing purpose by approximately 26%. It is able to pursue them by pushing a business marketing messaging through consumer channels such as web, mobile, branch, call center.
With the right data and matching engine, enterprises with both commercial and consumer business lines can cross-sell commercial solutions to current consumer customers. Unlike manual consumer-to-business reverse lookup approaches that yield low match rates, this sophisticated solution combining unique data and a matching platform delivers high, game-changing match rates.

6 Reasons for B2B Marketers to Get Savvy About CDPs

B2B marketers face complex challenges every day. They work with diverse teams that combine sales, operations, marketing ops, customer experience, and customer service. Across the revenue cycle, they struggle with not having enough flexibility in their data sharing to leverage insights in a seamless manner. Every day they are forced to live with a lack of data quality. Meanwhile, they have to contend with data scattered across silos created by a variety of software packages from multiple vendors that don’t communicate.
The good news is that automated customer data platforms (CDPs) can help with all of these issues. Here are 6 reasons B2B marketers need to get savvy about CDPs.
1. Be ready for RevOps
RevOps (or revenue operations) unify and optimize processes while focusing on people and their data. However, in order for RevOps to work for your business, you need to be monitoring the right metrics:

Win rates: this shows you the success of your sales team. By analyzing every stage of your sales funnel, you’re able to tell where sales reps are losing most of their opportunities.
Customer churn: this shows how much business you’ve lost over a time period. Tracking this daily can help you understand how your business is doing. Tracking churn over the long-term can help keep your business from disaster.
Customer acquisition cost: this shows what it cost to acquire a new customer.
Customer lifetime value: This metric demonstrates the growth of a company by showing the average amount your customer pays while engaging with your company.
Annual recurring revenue: this shows you the predictable part of your revenue stream. These typically include service, subscriptions, and maintenance. Annual recurring revenue provides a normalized value of monthly recurring revenue.
Pipeline velocity: this measures the speed that customers move through your funnel. This metric is one of the best ways for B2B marketers to understand their revenue operations health.

2. Perpetual data quality
While your business may not understand the need for perpetual data quality, rest assured your competition does. Without continuous high-quality data, you’re not going to be able to understand and connect with your customers. Having quality data will allow you to market more effectively while encouraging loyalty. However, to consistently have reliable data, an organization must continuously manage their data quality. This will allow you to have data you can trust and make more knowledgeable decisions faster.
Having quality data also means your employees are more productive. This is because they have to spend less time validating and fixing issues with data. In various industries where compliance regulations are potentially problematic (i.e. finance) having good data quality can literally save you millions in fines.
3. Matching contacts & account hierarchy with ID resolution
ID resolution helps you uncover customer insights and identify customers as they move through different touchpoints across your business. Knowing this information can expand growth opportunities, allow marketers and salespeople to see new upsell and cross-sell opportunities, and help your organization meet its sales targets.
For marketers, an automated CDP provides a more personalized customer experience with content that better matches the customer so you can customize their messaging. All of this translates to happier customers that will stay engaged longer because they were provided targeted engagement that matters to them.
4. Automate predictive & prescriptive analytics
Most of us are familiar with predictive analytics which uses statistical models and various forecasting techniques to predict what is likely to happen in the future. Predictive analytics provides insights based on data. In some cases, the algorithms may try to statistically fill in missing gaps and provide best guesses based upon the data that is available. This can be used for forecasting customer behavior and identifying trends and purchasing patterns.
Prescriptive analytics employs simulation algorithms to provide advice based on possible outcomes and help tell people what they should do. Using prescriptive analytics, the algorithms are able to look at a number of possible actions and then guide the person towards a potential solution. The algorithms try to quantify the effect of the decisions before they are made.
By automating predictive and prescriptive analytics, a CDP is able to combine the models and use machine learning to predict what might happen and offer advice on what to do.
5. Have your privacy compliance in order
With Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), and California’s Consumer Privacy Act, data privacy, and compliance is a legitimate concern for companies. The days are long gone when companies could assume that they could collect whatever consumer data they wished and use it as they pleased.
With these regulations, consumers now have the right to know what data you have collected about them, how you use that data, and with whom you wish to share that data. The California regulations also allow consumers to control the sale of their data.
Marketers have to use permission-based marketing which can help create trust between companies and consumers. Using an automated CDP helps companies become reliable data stewards, and enable the use of data to improve customer experience to provide a viable exchange between consumer and company.
6. Automate ongoing data enrichment
With concerns about privacy compliance, instead of buying numerous third-party data lists it’s more important than ever to focus on using first-party data enrichment. Data enrichment is the process of refining the data you have, to make it more accurate and relevant.
There are a number of reasons this is beneficial. One of them is that it allows you to identify duplicate entries within your content and then consolidate those records. It will help you improve the accuracy of your algorithms which in turn can help enhance key decision-making in the future. Ongoing data enrichment can also help you improve targeting of your marketing campaigns helping strengthen customer nurturing and engagement with more personalized messaging. In the end, automating your data enrichment with a CDP can lead to more sales and improve return on investment.
Are you savvy?
While life as a B2B marketer has a number of complex challenges, getting savvy about CDPs and understanding how they can resolve multiple issues will help you reap rewards across the enterprise.

Customer Identity and Access Management 2.0: Bridging the Gap of Identity

Customer identity and access management (CIAM) is taking over the customer login experience. There’s more at stake than just registration and authentication. If all you’re getting from your customers when they log in is an email address to send newsletters and passwords, you’re missing out on a host of benefits. In this article, we explain how CIAM 2.0 can help your business face the future head-on.
CIAM simplifies every business task that deals with your customers on an individual basis, including customers that haven’t registered on your site yet. With a single data hub for all identities, CIAM seamlessly links authentication, customer management, sales, marketing, business intelligence, and services. Consequently, this means that security and data protection are streamlined for you and your customers.
Can you really afford not to use CIAM?
“If your business isn’t using CIAM, you stand every chance of lagging behind businesses that are making the most of the technology and the customer data it collects.”
What Is Customer Identity and Access Management (CIAM)?
Customer identity and access management (CIAM) is a software solution that combines login verification with customer data storage and monitoring in a single location that links to all of your customer-oriented systems. CIAM gives you a centralized customer database that links to all of your other apps and services.
At its simplest, a CIAM solution consists of a customer-facing side with self-service fields for password, name, username, email, and data protection consent. Authentication features such as single sign-on, social profile integration, multi-factor authentication (MFA), and choice of communication preferences serve to enhance your customer’s online experience.

Logging on via your CIAM system is usually the first interaction a customer has each time they visit your site. A smooth and secure login experience is the minimum that today’s customers expect from a modern organization. It engenders trust and encourages your customers to come back to you time and again.
From an enterprise point of view, a CIAM solution has a number of useful features that can improve security, enhance customer data collation, and provide useful data to marketing and sales departments.
The data that’s collected about each customer can be tied into your company’s customer relationship management (CRM) software to benefit your sales and marketing team. It can be used to build an understanding of the complete customer journey—device, location, types of activities, pages looked at, purchasing patterns, and more.
The Standard Benefits of CIAM
A basic CIAM system provides these advantages for a business and its customers.
1. Streamlined customer experience
A streamlined customer experience shows current and future customers an organization that’s up-to-date and concerned about providing the easiest login possible.
By providing an easy login experience for your applications and services, you encourage customers to try out more of your digital offerings. The end result is a customer who is more embedded in your digital ecosystem, without any extra effort on your part.
“A streamlined customer experience shows current and future customers an organization that’s up-to-date and concerned about providing the easiest login possible.”
For example, implementing single sign-on through a customer identity and access management system means a customer only needs one account for all of your digital touchpoints. Whether your customers are signing in from a browser or a mobile device, they’ll benefit from not having to sign in repeatedly to different services again and again—encouraging repeat use of your apps and services.
2. Security for data and accounts
A standard CIAM system provides essential security features that safeguard both data and account access. For example, with risk-based authentication, each customer’s usage and login patterns are monitored, making it easy to spot unusual (and therefore potentially fraudulent) activity.
For use cases where you need an extra layer of security, you can enable multi-factor authentication (MFA), which verifies a customer’s identity by requiring a second step such as entering an SMS code or clicking an email link.
Your secure login procedures reassure customers that they are safe using your services—something that’s essential with the number of public data breaches reaching the news.

3. Scalability and uptime
With just one customer identity management system that’s fully managed for you, reliability is maximized, and the need for resources is kept to a minimum. A centralized login system for all of your apps and services makes it easy to add new services as they come online. A cloud implementation can quickly scale up or down depending on your usage, and automated failover can cut downtime to virtually zero.
“A modern CIAM solution reduces workload for your IT department and makes it easy to expand your business as your digital ecosystem grows.”
4. A unified view of each customer
By connecting the data gathered from all of your services and websites, you get a complete overview of each customer. With a full picture of everything a customer has done since the first time they visited your site, you’ll have access to real-world data in startling detail.

You can use this data to monitor customer journeys across multiple apps and services, create marketing personas that really reflect your customers, design new products or special offers, and direct your customers towards choices that will benefit you both.
When you understand your customers more deeply, you can reach them more easily and serve them better. All of this adds up to more revenue and a lower cost of acquisition and retention.
5. Compliance with privacy regulations
Privacy compliance is a critical aspect of any company handling customer data and an essential part of any online business. The EU’s GDPR is just one example of privacy laws that have a global reach, with their effect on any data flowing into or out of the EU. Most Western countries have similar regulations or are in the process of enacting similar laws, and the rest of the world is rapidly catching up.
If you have an online business that you want to keep viable in 2019 or beyond, it’s vital that you maintain compliance with these regulations. Here are some of the things you need to provide or be able to do to meet regulations:

Provide customers with a detailed report of their data that you hold.
Enable customers to access their data via self-service.
Allow customers to control which of their data you keep or discard.
Provide regulators a report of your user data usage and retention policies.
Show regulators the steps you take to keep customer data secure.
Show that you minimize data retention and avoid using data unnecessarily.

CIAM can also be tailored to meet the regulatory requirements of different regions—essential for a global business.
“A modern CIAM solution enables you to meet all of these privacy requirements and more, while simplifying the process and reducing the costs associated.“
The Evolution of CIAM 2.0
A customer identity access management solution can bridge the gap between your customers and the latest developments in identity and personal data protection—essential in today’s connected world. The evolution of CIAM 2.0 helps you take the next step in assuring your customers’ online safety, while continuing to simplify their online experience across new digital platforms.
Many companies are providing their customers with a modern digital experience thanks to a customer identity management system. If you want to give your customers the same advantages, the time to act is now.
6. Advanced login options
In the world of CIAM 2.0, a business can gain an advantage by implementing new and advanced login options that are not yet widely adopted. These login methods further improve customer experience, customer trust, or both.
Passwordless Login simplifies and streamlines the login process, while at the same time making it more protected. It also helps you present your company as a modern, secure organization that uses the latest technology to safeguard your customers. Passwordless login uses a customer’s email address or phone number to send them a one-time link that they click to log in.
One-Touch Login also allows customers to log in with a generated link sent to their email address or a one-time password sent to their phone. However, unlike Passwordless Login, the customer does not need to be an existing user in the system, and no credentials are submitted. In other words, the customer gets the benefits of secure access without the commitment of account creation.
Smart Login gives users a quick and secure login for the internet of things (IoT) and smart devices, which are increasingly becoming a vital part of today’s digital ecosystem. Smart Login delegates the authentication process for smart TVs, gaming consoles, and other IoT devices to another device that is easier and more secure for entering and managing passwords.

7. Optimized data collection
As customers become more savvy and cautious about handing over their data, businesses can leverage CIAM 2.0 to collect information in more respectful ways.
Anonymous Login allows you to assign an ID to anonymous users and use it to track their journey through your site. If these users proceed to sign up for a service, this ID is converted to a non-anonymous ID, enabling you to see which pathways tend to lead to customer registrations, as well as helping you monitor passing traffic.
Essentially, anonymous users are “shadow” logged in to their assigned IDs, letting you track many aspects of their usage and access. Data from potential customers that don’t sign up for your services can be just as vital as data from registered customers, helping you hone your product to attract more sign-ups.
Progressive Profiling allows you to collect customer data over time, as it’s needed. You can start by building a very basic profile with the simplest of login details (name and email, or a social login request for just these details). You can then ask for more detailed information as needed depending on which of your products customers go on to use.

Progressive Profiling is a great way to leverage today’s limited social login data and a fantastic way to let you build trust as you build up a picture of your customer. You can also use progressive profiling to measure how much your customers trust you by offering the opportunity to add more information without making it compulsory.
Social Login can be as much of a risk as it is a benefit in today’s digital environment when major social providers are plagued by data leaks and account breaches. With care, Social Login can still be a great way for your customers to access your services.
8. Consent management
As part of privacy compliance, businesses need to be clear with customers about their consent to data collection and communication.
CIAM 2.0 provides tools for managing a customer’s consent in order to give them understanding and control over that consent. Consent management involves requesting consent during registration and authentication and provides the ability to modify existing consents and apply new consents retroactively.
Stay Ahead of the Curve with CIAM 2.0
Today, we’re in the process of moving away from simple customer access to more complex data monitoring to gain a better understanding of each customer.
We’re also entering a new era governed by a complex ecosystem of data protection laws, meaning that the businesses of today and tomorrow will need to keep up if they want to continue to operate on a global scale.
As digital transformation continues to change customer expectations, companies will have to grow and change, as well. A CIAM solution like LoginRadius can help you achieve this with customer account information, including data, consent, and activity, accessible from one dashboard.

What the Death of Browser Tracking Cookies Means for Marketers: Part 1

Goumbik / Pixabay
The tracking cookie is crumbling and it’s about to make a big mess for marketers. Cookies are the most ubiquitous method for tracking consumer behavior and gathering data, and they’re used by nearly all adtech and martech platforms. Smart cookie-blocking technology led by Apple’s Intelligent Tracking Prevention (ITP) and Firefox’s Enhanced Tracking Protection (ETP) now block third-party cookies by default, and even Google’s Chrome will soon get controls that let consumers block cookies. Browser-level blocking, third-party ad-blocking apps, and new regulations like GDPR and the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) are quickly relegating the old cookie to the internet dustbin.
Adweek has called this a “fundamental change” in online advertising. What does the death of the cookie mean to marketers and advertisers like you? In this two-part series, we’ll look at what cookies are and why they died, and in part two, how marketers will adapt without tracking cookies. Grab a glass of milk and let’s dip in!
What Are Tracking Cookies?
Also known as “browser cookies” or just “cookies”, they are data that is set by a website or third party that is stored in the form of a text file in web browsers. Using the user’s IP address as a unique ID, cookies contain information like browsing history, user ID, session ID, and more. Cookies are created once any website is accessed that uses cookies. When returning to the same site, the browser sends the cookie file to the server and in turn, users get a personalized browsing experience.
The Difference Between First-Party Cookies and Third-Party Cookies
First-party cookies are set by the website a user is browsing and are used to keep track of activity as they move from page to page. They enable vital website functionality like authentication, maintaining shopping carts, website preferences, and login information. Without first-party cookies, users would have to log in on every page and would not, for example, be able to put an item in the cart and keep shopping, and no information (like shipping and billing addresses) would be stored, since very few websites store this data on their own servers. In short, without first-party cookies, the website experience would be awful to impossible. Since they only track activity on the site which someone is intentionally visiting, they are not generally subject to the ire (and blocking) that third-party cookies receive.
Cookie-blocking technology and government regulations are focused mostly on third-party cookies because they are the ones that track user activity across the web. They are placed in the browser via tracking pixels or Javascript code. What riles online privacy advocates is that third-party cookies do not originate from a website that a user has proactively interacted with. Advertising networks like Google Adsense, Propeller, and others are usually the source of third-party cookies, which are used to track users across multiple websites and use that information to more precisely target them with ads. There is no implicit or explicit permission to do this, so it can easily be seen as an invasion of privacy.
Firefox and Safari Burn Third-Party Cookies
Just like Apple quickly scuttled Adobe Flash from the digital landscape (which, honestly, nobody but Homestar Runner misses) it also put the first knife in the cookie. While both Mozilla and Apple have had third-party cookie blocking on by default for a while, ad networks quickly found loopholes in those protections.
With little financial interest in digital advertising and its main Google differentiator now being privacy protection, Apple made the move to Intelligent Tracking Prevention 2.2 (ITP) to seal up the digital loopholes and much more effectively block third-party cookies. Mozilla’s privacy-focused Firefox browser will follow suit with similar improvements to its Enhanced Tracking Protection (ETP).
Both ITP and ETP are able to block third-party cookies by preventing them from being stored in the browser, and to close the loophole exploited by advertisers, they can also prevent third-party cookies from being recorded as first-party cookies. Apple’s ITP 2.2 in Safari takes it a step further by cutting the first-party cookie lifespan from seven days to one day. They blockers are active by default in both Safari and Firefox.
Why Chrome’s Cookie Blocking Might Have a Bigger Impact
Google’s business model relies on collecting data about consumers—what they are shopping for, what videos they watch, and what they read, and surf for on the internet. Given the search giant’s dominance in advertising and that Chrome browser accounts for over 60% of the browser market share, Google’s opt-in version of ITP will be the ultimate swan song for cookies—and why the company may run afoul of antitrust law.
Since cookies aren’t compatible with mobile apps, alternatives like Advertising IDs and location data are already being used as a “real-world behavior” cookie alternative. Where Google could run into trouble is when and if it further develops its own browser ID-based cookie alternative. Since Google controls a majority of the browser market, 30% of the email client market, and over 40% of the display advertising market, it’s ripe for monopolizing the digital advertising and data markets. When you couple the data that only Google can monetize from Google logins with a potentially proprietary browser ID system, the domination looks even more complete.
Google, of course, is keenly aware of the implications, which is why it is carefully marketing all of its new privacy controls as a benefit to consumers. “Our experience shows that people prefer ads that are personalized to their needs and interests,” Google engineering VP Prabhakar Raghavan said in a blog post explaining the shift, “but only if those ads offer transparency, choice, and control.”
It has also kept fairly mum on what it will do in the absence of third-party cookies. The big question is whether or not Google will make a market-dominating move with a replacement. This is possible under a business-friendly (though entirely unpredictable) administration in the U.S., though unlikely when you consider the GDPR-governed implications in the E.U. and potential future action under a domestic administration that is less keen to digital monopolies. Google most certainly has a plan, but all we have for now is speculation. No matter what Google does, its digital dominance assures that it will guide the future of the entire adtech market.
Does the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) Regulate Cookies?
California’s upcoming CCPA enforcement in 2020 does not directly regulate the use of tracking cookies. However, CCPA defines the phrase “personal information” to include any information that “identifies, relates to, describes, is capable of being associated with, or could reasonably be linked, directly or indirectly, with a particular consumer or household.” It specifically identifies cookies as a type of data that qualifies as containing or being “personal information.” Since CCPA appears to treat persistent tracking cookies—such as those used by behavioral advertising networks—as personal information, it may cause companies that use them to fall under the purview of CCPA and require websites that use them to display an EU-style “we use cookies” banner and opt-in CTA. Beyond the disclosure requirements, it does not appear that CCPA regulates or bans the use of cookies per se.
The Consequences of Cookie Blocking
While the death of cookies will have far-reaching consequences across the marketing and advertising landscape, you don’t have to completely freak out yet, because at least we’re all in the same boat.
The biggest impact will likely be felt in programmatic advertising because programmatic relies almost entirely on third-party cookies as the foundation for user-level targeting and measurement. Without cookies, marketers can’t target users with highly relevant ads or determine whether those ads lead to sales. And given that digital ad spending in the U.S. alone is expected to exceed $129.34 billion this year and that programmatic advertising is largely seen as the financial foundation of the internet, this is a really big deal. Of course, the next generation of ad targeting is already in the works thanks to contextual targeting that was once the domain of mobile, so I would not expect this to cause the ad world to crumble. However, it may be a big shock to an already struggling media industry if their main source of income (digital ads) is in any way disturbed, which here is a distinct possibility.
One unintended consequence of shortening the lifespan of first-party cookies could impact how marketers track website visitors. Previously, an undeleted Google Analytics cookie could live on a browser for two years. With that lifespan shortened to as little as one day in Safari, it will cause a duplication of unique users and massive inflation of their numbers in GA.
While that might make you look good for a second, what it’s really doing is blowing up years of benchmarking user counts. Whether you are a publisher looking at unique pageviews or an e-comm marketer looking at site visits, this can end up making a mess of your historical data. “The fundamental challenge facing marketers with this latest release is visibility into how their digital marketing is performing,” said Ryan Storrar, SVP and head of media activation for Europe, Middle East and Africa at Essence in an interview with Digiday. “ITP 2.1 is the latest chapter in this story. There are steps that can be taken to limit the impact in the short-term, but, more broadly, a post-cookie world is clearly on the horizon and marketers need to get ready.”
Next Week: What Will the Post-Cookies World Look Like for Marketers?
Speaking of getting ready, in part two coming next week, we will look at what will replace cookies, how marketers are adapting, and if cookies will have an impact on call tracking platforms like Invoca. Stay tuned!