What marketers need to know about the data privacy changes

Report this content

You probably already heard the news – third-party cookies are going away. 

Third-party cookies are those set by a website other than the one you are currently on.

For years brands have been using them to track website visitors and with the help of cookies have been able to improve user experience and target ads to the right customers. It also helps marketers to see what their customers are doing when they are not visiting their website. 

An example of a third-party cookie would be the cookie set by Google Ads to monitor which websites you have visited and to show you relevant ads.

Why is this happening? Google (Chrome), Apple (Safari), Microsoft (Bing), and Mozilla (Firefox), which together control over 90% of the browser market share, have stated the initiative is in the interest of protecting user privacy. That sounds good from an individual-user point of view, but from a marketer that relies on that data to reach audiences and make better-informed decisions, it may sound a bit frightening.  

Currently, Google Chrome still enables third-party cookies by default, although they have announced it will block those cookies around 2022.

So, how does this affect my marketing? 

Let’s start with the good news, first-party cookies are staying. Those are the cookies set by the website you are visiting directly and stored under that website’s domain. Examples of a first-party cookie could be a website remembering your login status from page to page or channeling what source brought you to the website in the first place. 

If your goal is to track your website’s visitors’ behaviors, preference and basic demographics just while they are on your website, you probably won’t be that affected by this change.  

Although, if you are a marketer that relies on robust data for online advertising, pop-up ads, or a pinpointed audience-targeting strategy, you will need to consider alternative first-party strategies, as the phase-out nears. Remember, successful marketers are usually the ones who can adapt the quickest.

You can still deliver a relevant message to the user, but you might have to appeal to a broader audience. 

Here are our first-party strategy tips:

  • Analyze and assess the touchpoints throughout the customer journey. How are you engaging with them? What do you already know about your consumers? How is their experience of your brand consistent at all touchpoints? 
  • Remember that there was a time when third party cookies did not exist. Revisit old marketing strategies and brainstorm how you can adapt them for your marketing today. This will also allow you to be less vulnerable to technology in the future. 
  • Focus on trust. The whole reason behind why Google and the other browsers are doing this is to improve the erosion of trust online. Brands that are authentic, trustworthy and transparent will be ok. 
  • Focus on earned traffic - social media, referrals, recommendations - UGC is social proof. 

UGC content builds trust among new shoppers. Why? Because people trust people. 

Bringing brands closer to customers is a great and more future proof approach to doing business. 

With online shopping, people can’t physically see, touch or try on the items they’re considering. They want to know how that shirt fits on someone with a similar body type to theirs, how that shade of makeup looks on someone with their skin tone, or how much space that dining table takes up in a kitchen that has similar dimensions to theirs. UGC offers people a trusted third party view on these unknown elements, bringing the products to life for them in ways that feel real and relevant. 

More information:

Olivia Carloni, Junior Digital Marketing Specialist, Flowbox