Advertising and marketing strategists will want to avoid getting their hands caught in the proverbial cookie jar, as changing privacy laws continue to limit what, and how much, internet data can be collected and shared.
Perhaps the most vivid example of privacy laws – such as Europe’s Cookie Law and the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act in the U.S. – affecting information gathering in the digital age is the demise of third-party cookies.
The Cookie Crumbles
Google has announced that, starting in 2022, it will eliminate all use of third-party cookies, which websites use to track and collect information from users that are active on a website different than the one collecting the data.
The information gathered provides advertisers a clearer picture of a consumer’s behavior, including the websites they frequent and what products they are most likely to, or have already, purchased.
In addition to targeted advertising, third-party cookies also examine how a user interacts with different ad campaigns, giving advertisers a greater understanding of what techniques are most successful in achieving a clickthrough or sale.
The shift away from third-party cookies is not a new phenomenon, though demand for greater online privacy has increased among the general public in recent years.
Apple and Mozilla first announced – and have since implemented – plans to get rid of third-party cookies on their browsers, Safari and Firefox, respectively, way back in 2013.
A “Healthier” Choice
While the third-party cookie crumbles, potential new solutions to retaining customer analytics are beginning to come to light.
Google has been testing out a new technology it is calling The Privacy Sandbox, which would retain consumer data using targeted groups, while protecting the privacy of willing participants.
Data-collection company, LiveRamp, meanwhile, launched technology called Authenticated Traffic Solution, which gives advertisers access to real-time data from consenting users – who are given the choice to opt out – without having to use third-party cookies.
“Our industry needs a more persistent and healthy solution – one that protects the rights of consumers and businesses; ensures a level playing field, visibility and control for all participants; and catalyzes exceptional experiences and results,” said Scott Howe, CEO of LiveRamp, in a news release. “We’re launching our Authenticated Traffic Solution for the good of everyone in the industry – so that permissions can be honored while also democratizing identity and data for the good of all participants.”
Along with the new technologies, other, more longstanding options exist to retaining spending and browsing habits while ensuring consumer privacy.
One way is for advertisers to utilize a customer relationship management (CRM) system, databases that collect and retain information from a business’s consumers directly.
Another strategy is for companies to partner-up and share first-hand data amongst each other.
Whichever method advertisers choose for collecting customer data, it will be important, going forward, to keep privacy top-of-mind, as consumers, and the law, increasingly demand it.