Little Debbie Crumbls Crumbl: Ad Attribution in a Privacy-Centric Digital Marketing and Advertising Climate
with Immutable Data Licensing Contracts Using TIKI!
Hey there! Welcome to a new kind of newsletter. Moving forward, our focus is on product, product, product. So our new newsletter will focus on—you guessed it…product. It’s moving from monthly to weekly, and each week we’re going to highlight a use case for our brand new consumer data licensing technology. The first ones are fake, but as this beast grows we hope to feature actual instances of businesses finding success with our product. Tons of effort is going into this endeavor, so we hope you enjoy, and if ya dig it, please share! We’re looking to onboard as many businesses as we can in 2023. Thanks for joining us on this wild ride! We’re so proud of what we’ve built. - The TIKI Team
DISCLAIMER: This is not a real case study. You could venture to say that this is parody. While the industry statistics cited within are real, we at TIKI have no affiliation with the mentioned brands, especially McKee Foods, Inc. Don’t sue us, please. Have you seen Nathan For You? We’re joking. But our product really can help! – SF
In the wake of rampant privacy changes from major tech players and governments worldwide, the reliability of utilizing cookies to measure ad attribution for marketing campaigns has been greatly impacted, with 44% of marketing leaders anticipating increasing spend by between 5-25% to meet pre-2021 metrics.
Ah, the wonderful world of digital advertising. So much data to measure, target, and optimize those ads! But wait... do consumers actually want all their online activity to be tracked? Not so much. And governments have taken notice, with privacy laws popping up left and right. We've got the GDPR in the EU, plus state laws in California, Virginia, and Colorado. Big tech companies like Apple and Google are jumping on the bandwagon and making privacy a priority, which is shaking things up in the world of digital advertising in a major way.
For example, in 2021, Apple's latest software update included a new feature called App Tracking Transparency, which requires apps to ask users for permission before tracking their data across other apps or websites. Google is also phasing out support for third-party cookies in their Chrome browser, expected by the end of 2024, leaving marketers in a scramble to adopt new ways to keep up with a rapidly changing landscape.
In a recap of marketing trends in 2022, HubSpot reported 71% of marketers reported an increase in marketing spend, with 85% stating they are reliant on third-party cookies to some degree, and 77% agreeing that the phase-out of third-party cookies made their jobs more difficult.
Whether or not we are truly entering into a “cookieless future,” remains to be seen, but at this point in time, cookies are still a coveted asset for marketers. If they can get their hands on them, that is. Companies now need to let consumers know what data they want to collect, and gain permission prior to collecting said data. As a result, cookie banners have been popping up everywhere on the web. For a while, most people just accepted that cookie tracking was part of the internet experience. Sure, it was annoying, but it came with the territory, just like expecting mosquitoes during your summer camping trips.
Now, however, with cookie banners becoming a necessary experience, most consumers are just turning off all cookies other than the required ones, or even leaving the website altogether in favor of one without a giant cookie banner interrupting their experience.
Look, we all know those cookie banners are a real drag. They take up valuable screen real estate, slow down your browsing experience, and worst of all, they don't even give you anything in return. It’s not a Shocker on Shock Street scenario when users are hesitant to opt in to these things.
According to a study by Ruler Analytics, only about 31% of consumers actually give their consent for cookie tracking.
Of course, this number varies depending on the type of website and industry, but the fact remains that companies are missing out on potential opportunities to connect with customers.
But here's the thing: marketers and advertisers are a crafty bunch. They've been coming up with all sorts of alternatives to measure attribution, target and retarget consumers, and create lookalike groups. These are the kinds of tricks that used to be a given, until regulations and policy changes put a damper on things.
So, what can we do to fix this cookie consent problem? Well, I've got a few ideas up my sleeve. Let’s just say that there are ways to incentivize people to opt-in without being too pushy or invasive. It's all about finding that sweet spot where everyone wins.
We’ll dive into TIKI’s solution in a bit, but first let’s take a look at current methods businesses are using to fill the gap previously occupied predominantly by third-party cookies.
Social Media Targeted Ads
Social media giants like Facebook and Instagram collect a ton of information on their users - stuff like demographics, behavior, and interests. And businesses can use this data to create highly targeted ads that reach the right people at the right time.
But it's not just about targeting existing customers. Businesses can also use their own customer data to create "lookalike" groups on social media, which can expand their reach even further. They can track impressions, clicks, and conversions in real-time to analyze the performance of their campaigns and make adjustments to increase effectiveness.
But here's the catch - the amount of data available on social media is limited to what users provide to each platform. So while it's a powerful tool, it may not be as comprehensive as utilizing third-party cookies.
That being said, social media ads can be a valuable asset for businesses looking to reach specific audiences and track the success of their campaigns. And when it comes to social platforms, Instagram, YouTube, and Facebook are the top three choices - with Facebook and Instagram offering the biggest return on investment.
The Push for First-Party Data
Enter first-party data!
First-party data is data that businesses collect directly from users. It includes things like website analytics, email subscriptions, surveys and feedback forms, loyalty programs, and social media engagement.
It's not as comprehensive as third-party data, and it can be biased towards those who already engage with the brand. But with a consistent and engaging online presence, businesses can collect more data over time and build a more complete picture of their consumers. Not exactly a silver bullet, but a strategy that makes a ton of sense, can be used in tandem with available third-party data, and is gaining lots of steam in the industry.
Privacy-Centric Topics API with Google
Well, well, well, looks like we got ourselves a new kid on the block in 2023: the Topics API for the Google Privacy Sandbox.
Within the Chrome browser, the Topics API generates weekly topics on device-level based on a user’s browsing behavior for that week. Then, when the user visits a website, the Topics API shares three topics with the website and its ad partners, one from each of the previous three weeks, to help serve up personalized ads.
This fancy tool uses machine learning and natural language processing to identify topics, which could potentially pick up those elusive long-tail keywords that traditional keyword targeting methods might miss. But here's the catch: you gotta use the Chrome browser for it to work, and let's face it, not everyone's a Chrome fanatic. Sure, 66% of people worldwide use Chrome or Chrome-powered browsers, but 66% ain't 100%, if you catch my drift.
UID2, RampID, and Universal Identifiers
Hey, have you heard of the universal identifier? It's a pretty slick way to track behaviors and interests across platforms without third-party cookies. Basically, each user gets assigned a unique ID that's tied to some personal info, like their email or login ID. Whenever they interact with a website or app that uses a universal identifier, their ID gets stored on their device and tracks their activity across all their devices and platforms.
In terms of compliance, most UIDs require users to give their consent to be tracked. Companies like Trade Desk and LiveRamp have their own versions of universal identifiers, like UID2 and RampID, respectively.
The best part? Because most UIDs comply to privacy regulations, they’re a legit alternative to third-party cookies. But again, another catch - setting up and maintaining universal identifiers can be a real pain, and they need wide adoption across different industries to work well at scale. It's gonna take time and teamwork to get the most out of these bad boys.
Get the Context
Alright, hold onto your seats, folks, because I'm about to blow your mind with this one. Contextual advertising is a crafty alternative to third-party cookie tracking that relies on, you guessed it, context!
It's all about using machine learning to analyze a webpage's text, images, and other content to determine its topic or theme. So, let's say the algorithm identifies that a particular website is all about baseball. Advertisements for things like baseball caps or, in my case, mugs made out of hollowed-out baseball bats (they're really cool, you should check them out) can be placed in the right context for relevant interest-based ads. And you know what's great about contextual ads? They're a lot less invasive and creepy than other ads, since they actually make sense in their environment.
The kicker: contextual advertising isn't as reliable as third-party cookies when it comes to optimizing relevance, since it relies solely on data from the webpage and not actual user data. So, it's not perfect, but it's a pretty solid alternative nonetheless.
So, given the climate surrounding the digital ad industry, we’ve covered what’s going on with third-party cookies and how businesses are adapting. But third-party cookies are still available and as valuable as ever. I’ve teased a potential TIKI solution, and we did indeed build one for a business in need. Let’s quickly take a look at the business that needed some TIKI magic, what they’re all about, what they’re trying to do, and the problem they’re facing that we went out and solved. This is totally real (read as: we made this up, but the solution we actually built!)!
Snack Cake Kings
Let me tell you about McKee Foods Inc. - a big-time snack company out of Collegedale, Tennessee. You might know them as the folks who make Little Debbie, the snack cake superstar. They've been at it since 1934 and they've got a whole line of sweet treats that'll make your mouth water - Cosmic Brownies, Swiss Rolls, Honey Buns, Zebra Cakes, and their claim to fame - the Oatmeal Creme Pies.
What’s the Problem??
Now, you might be thinking, "Hey TIKI, with all that success, what could possibly go wrong?" Well, let me tell you - McKee's been having some trouble figuring out how to make their marketing campaigns really pop over the past couple of years. And now, they're about to drop a whole heap of cash on a new Instagram campaign for their Double Stack Oatmeal Creme Pies. With sugar being as expensive as it is, they’ve gotta be smart with their dough.
Here's the thing - even though McKee's the top dog when it comes to snack cakes, they haven't quite caught up to the social media trends that are all the rage right now. That's where the new campaign comes in. They're taking a page out of the competition's playbook - specifically, Crumbl, a delivery cookie service with a whopping 3.7 million Instagram followers. With the power of Little Debbie behind them, McKee's hoping to push those Double Stack Oatmeal Creme Pies straight into your shopping cart with a slick new ad campaign on the 'gram. They're hoping to get the hype train rolling with a major Instagram push to drive traffic to their website.
So, to sum it up, McKee's got the snack game on lock, but they're playing catch-up when it comes to social media marketing. But with their new Instagram campaign and the might of Little Debbie on their side, they're hoping to win big with their latest product launch.
We had to take into account a few variables here when pretend-working with McKee. First, there’s a ginormous bonus in the brand reputation for McKee as it stands. While probably 3% of the population outside of the CPG industry or in the vicinity of Collegedale, Tennessee could tell you that Little Debbie snacks are a product of McKee Brands, it’s almost irrelevant. Little Debbie is a powerhouse when it comes to snacking. We’ve got legacy on our side. But being the old heads that they are, social media is a bit lacking. Hence their desire for help with their campaign. Fortunately for them, we help make sure their social campaigns moving forward are powered by the most accurate data possible. Maybe the campaign is questionable, but the technology behind it is killer.
While we ourselves do not specialize in social media, we had to put our social media caps on and conjure up something that was going to get consumers to the Little Debbie dotcom page.
We know 85% of consumers would trade their data in exchange for a coupon, so that is what we decided to rock with.
Leveraging TIKI’s data licensing technology, we set out to create a new type of cookie banner, one that doesn’t suck. I think we’re starting to jive with the “cookie banners are like mosquitoes” simile, but I digress. Cookie banners are annoying as anything, as we’ve previously mentioned. Everyone opts out of anything more than the strictly necessary ones, if they even get that far in the flow. And why would they? Well, how about for a free box of Little Debbie’s Double Decker Oatmeal Creme Pies? That’s what we thought, too. So let’s actually build something engaging that gives users an actual and literal taste of something they want, an exchange Little Debbie can take advantage of third-party cookie power with a Meta Pixel fueled by opt-ins.
We created a new campaign to drive more traffic to the Little Debbie website so that the real technology can kick in.
We call it the “Cookies 4 Creme Pies” campaign.
The Little Debbie “Cookies 4 Creme Pies” campaign is clever and memorable. We tested it with a focus group consisting of Frank Reynolds, Charlie Kelly, and a similar cast of characters. The feedback was overwhelmingly positive. Not only can we create amazing technology to get more users to opt in to cookie tracking for Little Debbie, but we are also genius marketers.
We first created an Instagram ad, a regular ol’ Instagram ad with the “Learn More” or “Shop Now” buttons. So long as the Meta Pixel is set up appropriately on the Little Debbie webpage, which, it already was.
Any consumer that clicks on a Little Debbie ad, be it on Instagram, Facebook, or anywhere else and lands on the Little Debbie page will be presented with a customized pop-up courtesy of the multi-talented and relatively handsome folks at TIKI. This pop-up will ask the consumer if they are willing to exchange their data (in the form of opting in to third-party cookie tracking, including the Meta Pixel) in exchange for a coupon for one free box of DDOCPs. Listed on the pop-up, which you can take a gander at below, is also the terms for which McKee can use the data, as well as what they cannot do, an equally important inclusion. Uses can opt in, or tell McKee to back off.
If they do decide to opt-in, the wondrous powers of cryptographic hashing combine to generate an immutable (meaning it can never be altered) digital record of the agreement on the spot.
We call this a consumer data license.
It is an official record of cookie consent and legally holds McKee accountable for following the terms of the agreement. It also contains the record of what the user receives in return, in this case a coupon for a free box of creme pies. McKee can actually put in a webhook that sends a voucher/coupon directly to the customer. Users can opt-out whenever they’d like. While the contract is binding, the user always has the option of changing their mind. They can even re-change their mind, and a brand new contract is created in its place. Pretty nifty, if we do say so ourselves.
On top of this, taking a page out of some of the new ways of marketing, this pop-up can also open the door to collecting first- and zero-party data and building an ongoing digital relationship with the Little Debbie fanbase. That way, if third-party cookies really do meet their demise, they’ve established the appropriate channels to keep valuable user data flowing into their ecosystem, all while setting the stage for ongoing improvement in their online presence as said data flows in. If the deals are as sweet as the snacks, loyalty and retention grow, and another avenue of ethical data collection, a Little Debbie rewards or loyalty program can be implemented.
All in all, a business like McKee is looking for data about who their consumers are, what they’re buying, where they’re visiting, what they like, when they shop, and the best ways to retarget them on other platforms. They want to measure attribution on their campaigns and optimize them as they learn. Maybe even chip away at some of the sales going to new competitors, such as Crumbl. Note: The “Crumble Crumbl” diss track set to Kendrick Lamar’s HUMBLE was vetoes by McKee.
TIKI's solution offers a way for Little Debbie to collect valuable consumer data while still maintaining transparency and trust. By using TIKI-powered immutable contracts and the Meta Pixel, Little Debbie can gain valuable insights into their advertising campaigns by increasing and managing cookie consent while still respecting consumer privacy.
It’s transparent, secure, and most importantly… tasty.