For years, digital marketers relied on cookies to track customers and target ads, filling an enormous “cookie jar” with data. But privacy concerns have regulators and browsers planning to raid the cookie jar, with some eliminating third-party cookies altogether in favor of automotive Customer Data Platforms (CDPs).

For the automotive industry, cookies have driven online sales and service. But without them, automotive marketers will struggle to reach customers and gain insights to optimize their marketing strategies.

The end of the third-party cookie signals a new era of stricter data privacy and security. To adapt, automotive marketers must turn to their most valuable and compliant data source: first-party customer data. And to unlock the potential of that data, you need an automotive customer data platform or CDP.

CDPs help collect and activate first-party data to deliver personalized experiences across channels. They provide a “safe haven” for your data, you can truly understand your customers, strengthen relationships and drive improved business results, even without cookies. CDPs can also collect and use third-party data from websites and apps, but stricter privacy laws make third-party data less accessible. 

For automotive marketers, implementing a CDP solution should be a top priority. The cookie jar may be nearly empty, but with a CDP, you’ll have another source to fuel your marketing and accelerate your business into the future. The time for action is here.Read on to learn more about how CDP for dealerships works, the solutions available, and how automotive marketers can integrate CDP data into channels like Google Ads. Let’s start by investigating who, or what stole the cookie from the cookie jar. 

How Automotive CDPs Work Infographic

Who Stole the Cookie From the Cookie Jar?

Cookies are small files that store information about your online activity. They help websites and advertisers track your behavior, interests, and identity across the web. Cookies can help provide a personalized experience, but they also raise privacy concerns for users who don’t consent to
collecting and sharing their data.

In recent years, cookies have faced increasing scrutiny and regulation. Browsers like Safari, Firefox, and Chrome block some or all third-party cookies by default, limiting advertisers’ ability to target and measure audiences across sites. On top of that, Google will phase out third-party cookies in Chrome entirely by 2024.

Without cookies, digital advertising and publishing industries face major disruption:
  • Marketers will lose data to reach effectively and measure audiences, impacting personalized ads and marketing optimization
  • Publishers will lose a key source of revenue from selling ad space and audience data
  • The digital ecosystem will need to adapt as cookies crumble. For marketers, the cookie jar will feel empty

CDPs: Collecting Your Most Valuable Data

To prepare for the end of third-party cookies, marketers are turning to first-party data: information collected directly from their customers. Many are implementing automotive CDPs or customer data platforms to leverage that data.

CDPs are software solutions collect and combine data from various sources to create unified customer profiles. CDPs ingest data from places like the following:

  • Your website, mobile apps, email, and social platforms
  • CRM and POS systems
  • Marketing automation, advertising, and analytics tools
  • And more

Using the data, CDPs generate a single, comprehensive view of each customer to enable

  • Personalized experiences based on known interests and behaviors across channels
  • Cross-device identity matching using deterministic data versus probabilistic assumptions
  • People-based metrics for more accurate ROI measurement and optimization
  • Accurate measurement of customer engagement, retention, and lifetime value

CDPs put the power of data in your hands. They help you understand your customers, strengthen relationships, and drive revenue, even as third-party data sources decline. CDPs offer a solution for businesses seeking new ways to market and monetize without cookies.

However, CDPs also have key differences from cookies:

  • Data collection requires customer consent via opt-in or properly designed first-party experiences
  • Profiles are built using disclosed data provided voluntarily by customers versus tracked behaviors
  • Insights enhance the customer experience and relationship versus fueling a data marketplace
  • Data use is transparent and provides value to the customer and brand versus covert or exploitative

While cookies continue to crumble, CDPs take a customer-centric approach to data. They help brands move from covert tracking to building mutually beneficial relationships based on trust and transparency.

Still, CDPs do not replace all cookie use cases. Additional solutions may be needed for the following:

  • Targeting new audiences by inferring interests from their online behaviors. CDPs start with data from known customers
  • Cross-device mapping and frequency capping for ad campaigns in environments where deterministic data matching is impossible
  • Analytics is essential to gain a holistic view of all website visitors, including those who do not log in or provide information

CDPs and cookies can work together while cookies remain, but marketers must prepare for a day without third-party cookies. Investing in customer data strategies and platforms centered on first-party insights gives you a robust alternative and the ability to thrive even after cookies disappear
for good.

Why Cookies Are Crumbling, And CDPs Are Rising

For decades, cookies have enabled digital marketers to track customers across websites and personalize their experience. But cookies face increasing regulation and user pushback over privacy concerns. Major web browsers now block some or all third-party cookies by default. Without cookies, marketers will lose the ability to perform several common tasks:
  • Reach audiences across websites based on their online behaviors and interests
  • Retarget customers who visit and then leave their site
  • Analyze the customer journey and how people navigate their website
  • Measure the ROI and optimization of marketing programs that span channels
As a result, the digital ad industry faces significant disruption. But for marketers, there is hope in first-party data, the information you collect directly from customer interactions. By implementing platforms like CDPs to harness first-party data, you gain alternatives to third-party cookies and tools to accomplish so much more:
  • Build personalized experiences based on actual customer attributes and behaviors
  • Map the cross-device, cross-channel customer the journey using on-site events versus probabilistic assumptions
  • Gain people-based metrics to optimize engagements and accurately measure marketing ROI
  • Strengthen customer relationships and loyalty through transparency and value exchange

While third-party cookies disappear, first-party data strategies and automotive CDPs allow marketers to survive and thrive. Some key benefits of a CDP include the following:

  • A unified, shareable customer database to power personalization across touchpoints
  • Integrations with analytics, marketing automation, and experience optimization tools you already use
  • The ability to work with known customers by name versus inferring interests from tracking unknown site visitors
  • Built-in compliance and governance frameworks to manage data privacy and transparency responsibilities

CDP for car dealers provides a sturdy alternative as the third-party cookie crumbles away. By implementing a CDP and taking a people-driven approach to personalization, you gain sustainable ways to understand, reach, and engage the customers you know and equip your dealership for success regardless of the platforms and channels yet to come.

Cookies have met their end, but customer relationships are forever. Automotive CDPs offer a solution to stay close to your customers even after those third-party cookies finally come tumbling down.

4 types of CDPs Infographic

Under the CDP Hood: Four Platform Types for Automotive Marketers

CDPs offer different capabilities to harness customer data. Automotive marketers should evaluate options based on their needs:

    • Data Collection CDPs gather information from your systems and sources
    • Analytics CDPs help you analyze and understand your data
    • Engagement CDPs enable you to act on data by personalizing customer interactions
    • Orchestration CDPs provide end-to-end capabilities from data to insights to action

The main types of CDPs include:

1. Data Collection CDPs

Aggregate data from your website, social platforms, CRM, and customer service systems. They collect information to build customer insights and segments but cannot activate data or control experiences.

2. Analytics CDPs

Focus on generating insights and modeling using data visualization, predictive analytics, and machine learning tools. They provide understanding but need additional solutions to act on insights.

3. Engagement CDPs

Specialize in activating data for personalization across channels. They tailor messaging and experiences but typically rely on external data sources.

4. Orchestration CDPs

Provide data collection and activation with journey mapping and the ability to synchronize interactions across channels. They offer an end-to-end solution but at a higher cost.

Many CDPs combine multiple capabilities, so analyze options based on what’s most important for your goals. Data collection and analytics CDPs may require additional tools for marketing automation or personalization. Engagement and orchestration CDPs typically provide more all-in-one solutions tailored to cross-channel experiences. But they can also integrate with third-party tools.

For automotive marketers, an orchestration CDP may be optimal for handling data from all customer touchpoints, especially as on-site interactions return. But an engagement CDP could also achieve tailored messaging across narrow channels. Review solution options based on your current stack, needs, and budget. The right CDP will provide tangible value to gain, retain and boost the lifetime value of your customers.

Recommended Automotive CDPs and Platforms

While customer data platforms (CDPs) are used across industries, automotive-specific CDP solutions are less common. However, some general-purpose CDPs provide capabilities tailored to automotive marketers and integrate with dealership technologies. These platforms offer ways to leverage first-party data and gain customer insights.

With third-party cookies crumbling, automotive marketers must turn to solutions that help capture and activate their own data. By implementing platforms that provide a holistic customer view, you can strengthen engagement, improve retention, optimize the ownership lifecycle, and drive tremendous business success.

These solutions integrate data tailored to dealerships and OEMs and provide capabilities to support critical objectives:

  • Tealium AudienceStream: Collects and activates customer data across channels. Helps deliver personalized web and in-store experiences
  • Salesforce CDP: Enables personalized journeys and omnichannel engagements. Has options for automotive marketers and provides a customized view of customers to strengthen retention and loyalty
  • Adobe Experience Cloud: Aggregates data sources with AI to provide insights, profiles, and orchestration. Partners with brands like GM and enables personalized campaigns and in-vehicle experiences
  • OnAudience: Ingests and normalizes data from web, social, and CRM sources. Facilitates advertising based on purchases, service history, and more
  • Treasure Data: Provides a data lake, analytics, and personalization with machine learning. Delivers real-time insights and predictions to optimize marketing and ownership lifecycle
  • Amperity: Collects, matches, and analyzes data to create profiles and orchestrate personalization. Enables VIP experiences and tailored offers based on customer value and behaviors
  • mParticle: Integrates data into unified profiles to understand customer journeys across devices and personalized power experiences through apps and partners
  • Outsell: Captures behavioral and transactional data to distribute personalized communications and recommend products through channels. Enables lifecycle journey mapping
  • Orbee: Leverages aggregated car data, driver history, and proprietary scores to personalize customer auto insurance

These platforms offer capabilities ranging from data collection and segmentation to advanced journey orchestration and predictive modeling. Evaluate how they could support your digital marketing, showroom personalization, customer retention, and business optimization goals before signing on with a new provider. Their automotive experience will ensure solutions tailored to your needs.

With third-party cookies disappearing, look to first-party data and platforms to accomplish your marketing goals. You can achieve an accelerated dealership future by gaining a holistic view of customers and leveraging those insights.

What’s in Your Customer Data Jar? Key Examples for Automotive Marketers

For automotive marketers, a CDP can aggregate data from numerous sources to comprehensively understand customers and power-tailored experiences. Here are examples of data that can be integrated into a CDP:

Customer Information

  • Contact details: Names, addresses, phone numbers, email addresses
  • Demographics: Age, gender, income, marital status. Provides context for needs and life events
  • Vehicle ownership: Current and past vehicles. Enables personalized service, trade-in, and loyalty offers

Sales and Service Data

  • Vehicle purchase history: Details of vehicles bought or leased, like make, model, trim, and purchase dates. Supports targeted marketing for vehicle accessories or upgrades
  • Service records: Maintenance, repair dates, and costs. Reminders and special offers can boost retention and loyalty
  • Warranty coverage: Expiration dates and eligible services. Prompts for service visits before the warranty concludes

Online/Offline Interactions

  • Website visits: Page views, searches, clicks, and forms. Tailor site experiences and serve relevant content
  • Test drives: Schedule, vehicles, and feedback. Follow up while interest is high and track the road to purchase
  • Showroom visits: Inquiries, consultations, and interactions. Facilitate seamless online-to-offline experiences

Marketing/Campaign Data

  • Responses: Email opens, clicks, and conversions. Determine effective content and channels for individuals
  • Ad interactions: Impressions, clicks, and conversions. Refine targeting and creativity for greater performance
  • Lead sources: Website, social, email, apps, or call center. Focus investment on channels that convert best for each segment

Communication History

  • Email, calls, and texts: Opt-in preferences and conversation logs. Streamline communications and strengthen relationships

Social Media Engagement

  • Interactions: Likes, comments, shares, and messages. Tailor social media marketing and advertising to interests
  • Profile data: Activities, connections, and preferences. Develop lookalike segments and personalize experiences on the brand’s social platforms

The specific data integrated into a CDP depends on dealership systems and objectives. With a platform to collect and activate these insights, automotive marketers gain an advantage: the ability to understand customers deeply, engage them meaningfully and drive more excellent lifetime value. Even as third-party data sources disappear, CDPs offer a solution to fill your cookie jar and move your dealership forward.

Ready to Rev Your Customer Data Engine?

CDPs enable you to leverage first-party data and power your business into the future. But is your dealership using one yet? If not, what’s stopping you, and what will the cost be of not adapting?

It’s time to take action with a CDP, no matter where you are in your customer data journey. Dealers that wait risk being left behind as the market changes. The good news is that you can start by evaluating options and taking your first step.

Choose a CDP and go. Start small if needed, learn, then build from there. Your success depends on engaging the customers you have today. CDPs provide the fuel to take your dealership to new levels:

  • Understand customers deeply with data transparency and value
  • Reach them meaningfully with personalized experiences across channels
  • Build loyalty through customer-centric relationships based on trust

While third-party cookies have an expiration date, CDPs offer a solution to collect and activate first-party data for sustainable results. But only if you rev your engine and get started. The road ahead may have twists, but your competitive edge waits on the other side. Choose a CDP, start your engine and go.

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