Viewpoint: What Google's elimination of cookies means for healthcare marketers

Google's Jan. 14 announcement that it will be phasing out support for third-party activity-tracking cookies on its popular Chrome browser by 2022 has left digital marketers scrambling to devise strategies for the continued collection of consumer data.

In an op-ed for MM&M, Clare Kirlin, director of marketing for healthcare-focused digital agency Meltmedia, discussed how the move will affect the healthcare industry, in which some websites have already come under fire for using third-party cookies to collect and share protected health information with large technology companies.

Ms. Kirlin outlined five ways that healthcare marketers can adapt to the changing landscape of online data collection while maintaining patient trust:

1. Shift your metrics: Organizations must be able to articulate how marketing activity directly impacts overall business and revenue goals.

2. Invest in contextual targeting: Though expensive, contextual ad placement drives proportionally high-value consumer connections.

3. Build first-party strategies: Rather than focusing on attracting as many users or patients as possible and building superficial links, prioritize deeper relationships with "known" consumers.

4. Lean on vendors: Marketing agencies are built entirely around a goal of being expert marketers, so do not be afraid to tap an outside firm for help in devising a new strategy.

5. Consider it a win: Keep an open mind about changing guidelines and regulations — the increased privacy may actually boost the public's trust in the healthcare industry.

More articles on digital marketing:
Chief marketing officer turnover still highest in C-suite: Average tenure slips to 42 months
Provider-focused marketing platform raises $7M
8 hospitals hiring marketing leaders

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