Changes to third-party cookies and what you need to know!

Changes to Third-party cookies and what you need to know!

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And that’s the way the cookie crumbles! 

With the data landscape changing at an immense speed, the news that third-party cookies will be no more by 2022 is BIG NEWS! But let’s not despair. The data bots we use for tracking, measuring and personalisation may not be the be-all-and-end-all for digital marketing.

So, what are cookies? 

Cookies are analytical data stored on your computer, phone or tablet through a web browser to enhance digital experiences for consumers and aid marketers in measuring activity.  Cookies and other tracking assets enable personalisation through adverts and pop-ups by collecting information about consumer behaviour. They come in all different shapes and sizes and enable brands, domains and browsers to tailor what information is presented to a particular consumer based on their data history.

  • Zero-party data – is data that a consumer has proactively shared with the brands, collected through purchasing, or signing up to communications
  • First-party cookies – are created by the brand or website whenever a user visits the site.
  • Second-party cookies – are transferred from one brand (the brand or website that collected the data as first-party cookie) and transfers it to another company via a data transfer
  • Third-party cookies – refer to the data that is collected by a third party (not the brand or webpage). These cookies are typically used for advertising purposes. For example, when you search on a web browser for a red jumper and then the next time you read a blog online, there is an ad for red jumpers? That is based on third-party cookie tracking.

However, giving advertisers, agencies and brands the opportunity to track consumer behaviour has raised concerns. With consumers demanding more privacy and power over their personal data since the introduction of GDPR; laws, regulations and big tech organisations are addressing the way third-party cookies should be used. Or indeed, if they should be used at all.

What are the main drivers pushing changes for third-party cookie tracking?
  • Consumer privacy
  • Browser changes
  • Ad blocking
  • Laws and regulations
Consumer Privacy:

80% of consumers state that they are more likely to spend with a brand that they believe uses their data responsibly. And 70% of consumers say more personal forms of brand engagement such as DM and email makes them feel more valued than third-party cookie personalisation.

Companies that process personal data must comply with GDPR regulations. This means consumers must give consent for their cookies to be used, and by the sound of it, the majority are already looking to brands that use more personal channels of communication.

Browser Changes:

Many big tech companies such as Google, Safari and Firefox are now taking
ownership of their own cookie tracking.

Safari are blocking all third-party cookie tracking.

Google has always allowed users to block third-party cookies. By 2022 all Chrome browsers will block third-party cookie tracking.

Firefox sells itself as a secure browser and as of 2019, blocked all third-party cookies.

Ad blocking:

To date, 30% of internet users already use an ad blocking service. With the rise in consumer privacy awareness, this number will only rise as we move towards a cookie free 2022.

So, what does this means for the future of cookies?

Over the years marketers and advertisers have relied on cookies for website tracking, improved consumer journeys and data collection for ad targeting. The removal of third-party cookies will become a roadblock for many marketers and advertisers, but, it is also an opportunity to build consumer trust and transparency. Businesses should now look to acquire first and zero-party data allowing them to directly identify personalisation preferences and progressive profiling directly from the consumer.

How can you do this in your organisation?

Reach your audiences and gain permission to communicate through multiple channels. To do this, marketers need to understand consent and opt-in options. This builds trust and engagement, ensuring a more open and transparent relationship with a consumer. Use forms to collect data and give consumers the options to choose the channel that best fits them. If they go to unsubscribe, give alternatives for less frequent communication rather than an all or nothing option. And ensure your privacy policies are up to date and accessible for all consumers. For this, explore the use of Trust or Preference Centres (an online portal covering your brands privacy policy, mission statement and a way to communicate trust through first-party data collection).

Overall, marketers need to shift to a privacy-first policy; apply open, transparent, and trusted messaging on how the brand will collect, share and process data moving forward. With the reduction in performance data from online and social media, marketers need to create new strategies to report on customer engagement via browsers, and with a plethora of online metrics suites, this is a walk in the park.

In conclusion – ensure privacy, trust and transparency is now at the forefront of your marketing plans.

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