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Event Industry Trends, Event Technology & Apps
27 March 2023 

A Cookieless Future for the Events Industry: 6 Ways Organizers Can Prepare

Bizzabo Blog Staff
Bizzabo Blog Staff
A Cookieless Future for the Events Industry: 6 Ways Organizers Can Prepare

For the last several years, marketers have heard about the cookieless future for the events industry. It all began after Google announced that it was ending support for third-party cookies and Apple announced the retooling of identifiers for advertisers

Although Google keeps extending its timeline, one thing is abundantly clear: It’s only a matter of time until we all live in a cookieless world. 

As an event marketer, you need to know the implications of the impending cookiepocalypse and what you can do to prepare. Keep reading to learn what cookies are, what a cookieless future means for the events industry, and specific actions you can take today to prepare.

What are cookies?

Cookies are small pieces of data that identify specific devices and follow them as they move across computer networks, tracking and storing information about each session. Advertisers and marketers use cookies to target specific users that fit their ideal customer profile based on their browsing history.

At a high level, there are two types of cookies:

  1. First-party cookies generated directly by websites the user visits
  2. Third-party cookies created by third-party websites that advertise on a website a user visits

Should event organizers stress about a cookieless future?

Although the end of cookies will certainly force every event marketer to reconsider their event strategy, there’s a lot to be excited about in the cookieless future for events. 

After all, we live in a data-driven age. While the end of cookies will make it harder to collect first-party data for many marketers, that doesn’t mean they’ll give up on collecting data altogether — quite the contrary.

If companies can’t collect identifying data from websites, where will they go to collect first-party data? Events! With the right tools in place, organizations can collect important data in myriad ways, including through registration, tracking, and even wearable event technology.

Forward-thinking companies are increasingly turning to events for data collection, but they’re also testing new tactics to collect data online. With that in mind, let’s look at some things your team can do to stay ahead of the game.

A Cookieless Future for the Events Industry: 6 Ways To Prepare

1. Customer Data Platforms (CDPs) and Identity Solutions

As the name suggests, CDPs are software that collects user-specific data from multiple sources (e.g., email, Facebook, company websites), consolidates it in one place, and creates a user profile that can then be shared across other tools, such as Google Ads and Facebook Ads, for more targeted campaigns. 

Data collected from these platforms include personally identifiable information, such as names and phone numbers, and non-personally identifiable information, such as publisher IDs. Using a CDP or identity solution, it’s possible to create robust profiles for specific users by piecing together data from hundreds of sources.

2. First-party Data Collection

If your business relies heavily on third-party data collection and you know that cookies are about to go the way of the dodo bird, it’s time to overhaul your efforts and focus exclusively on optimizing first-party data collection across your digital parties. One way to do this is to implement an area on your site for visitors to log in so you can better understand what matters most to each user as they move between pages.

3. Second-party Data Solutions

To supplement first-party data, you can enlist the help of second-party data, which is available from publishers like Facebook, Google, and Apple. By combining these two types of data sets, you can learn more about your customers than what’s available in your database.

4. Contextual Advertising

If you’re like most event marketers, you’re no doubt familiar with contextual advertising, which targets individuals based on the content they’ve consumed instead of the personal information the advertiser might have on them. For example, a marketer might advertise a reusable coffee mug in an article about coffee.

As contextual advertising solutions evolve and incorporate artificial intelligence, your team can build highly targeted campaigns that engage customers on a truly granular level.

5. Focus on the User Experience

Many marketers rely on third-party data to deliver strong user experiences. When third-party data disappears, staying committed to best-in-class UX is important for keeping website visitors happy and engaged. 

To do this, spend some time polishing all the data you have to make sure it’s as accurate as it can be. Ensure your customer lists are current, that people opt into your communications, and that your information is as up-to-date and accurate as possible. That way, you can confidently leverage it once third-party data is unavailable.

6. Work With Cookie-conscious Event Management Software

In addition to getting your online presence buttoned up and ready for the cookieless future for events, it’s also a good idea to make sure your event tech solution is built by a team that understands cookies — as well as associated data and legal compliance requirements

Bizzabo, for example, is intimately familiar with cookies and uses them across our web properties to learn more about our users and deliver the best experiences possible.

Are you ready to market events in a cookieless world?

Regardless of whether Google opts to kick the can down the road again, the writing’s on the wall: Third-party cookies will be gone before we know it. By taking a proactive approach and getting ready before the end of cookies arrives, your team will be in a much stronger position to continue making data-driven decisions when your slower-moving peers are left scratching their heads, wondering what to do next.

Want to learn more about what your event attendees think or feel before or after an event? Check out our article “51 Event Survey Questions You Need To Ask for the Best Insights.” 

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