What personalization looks like without third-party cookies

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Since the advent of digital privacy laws, marketers have spent many hours re-evaluating their data strategies. These regulations restrict the use of third-party cookies, which in any case will soon be deprecated by Google’s Chrome browser, and those relying on them for customer data collection will have to rethink their practices.

“We have GDPR and CCPA, and there is all this emerging data privacy legislation,” said Zack Meszaros, Marketing Privacy Engineer at consent software company OneTrust PreferenceChoice, in a session at our recent MaTech Conference. “One of the biggest shifts is that consumers are understanding the value of their data in this relationship — they’re understanding how much of their data is being used.”

Meszaros highlighted a few key statistics from a Deloitte LLP survey: 80% of consumers are more likely to purchase from companies that they believe protect their personal information. In addition, 79% of these buyers would be willing to share their data if brands made it clear it would benefit them.

Consumers want more privacy, but they still want personalized experiences. That’s why marketers need to prepare for this “cookieless” future through proper consent management practices.

A transformation of data collection

“Some of these shifts that are leading to consumers wanting to have more trust are privacy regulations,” said Meszaros. “Technology providers like Apple are getting involved because they’re seeing that consumer demand and they’re getting ahead.”

Apple has already made huge changes to accommodate privacy laws. Their iOS 14 update earlier this year included a feature that required all apps to ask users for permission to track them.

“Consumers are now going to have more control over what it is they decide to give us; we’re going to have to offer them the ability to restrict, “said Meszaros.

Marketers need to start transforming their systems as well. Otherwise, the larger brands with better privacy features are going to win over more consumers.

A clear, data-driven personalization strategy

“Right now, about 30% of available impressions from Safari, Firefox, and Edge aren’t rendering any third-party cookies,” said Meszaros. “You’ll see sign-up forms that don’t work because they’re built using these third-party cookies and haven’t adapted to these browser changes.”

He added, “Now, Chrome does account for the majority of the volume on the Internet, but they are still planning on making this change.”

With so many browsers shifting to accommodate these changes, marketers would be wise to start creating and using tools and strategies that rely on consented first-party data. This can help build consumer trust and improve user experience by providing more personalization.

Higher levels of consumer data control

“The keys that we need here are to give our users more control to engage with them upfront, to engage with them as soon as they land on the site,” said Meszaros.

Respecting user privacy means giving them more control over their data. They’ll be the ones deciding which pieces of information will be shared with brands, not the other way around. What’s more, giving consumers control can help improve ROI as well.

Meszaros highlighted the results of his organization’s pivot to privacy and personalization: “The data that we’re getting directly from them [consumers] is increasing our engagement rates, reducing those unsubscribes, and giving people the ability to choose what it is that they want to hear.”

Consent management platforms aren’t going away

Some marketers may wonder why compliant brands are still using consent management platforms (CMPs) when the death of third-party cookies is fast approaching. In response to this query, Meszaros points us back to the key ingredient that is here to stay: collecting and analyzing consumer data.

“It’s not equal to the death of us collecting information,” said Meszaros. “It’s also not going to eliminate the fact that some of that first- and zero-party data we get could still be shared with third parties.”

CMPs can help marketers build proprietary data sets from consumer consented information, expanding the pool of marketable leads. The data still needs to be gathered; it just won’t be third-party.

“It’s going to increase the value of the relationship that a consumer has with organizations, and that’s going to allow us to go ahead and move past this cookieless tracking,” said Meszaros. “We’ll start being able to track on a more personal level with data that they want to share with us.”

Watch the full presentation from our MarTech conference here (free registration required).

About The Author

Corey Patterson is the Content and SEO Manager for MarTech and Search Engine Land. With a background in SEO, content marketing, and journalism, he analyzes and optimizes Third Door Media content to help marketers find the information they need.

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