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THIRD-PARTY COOKIES

To survive in the coming cookieless world, revisit your ethics

By our News Team | 2021

Because technology outpaces laws, businesses have got away with using cookies. But when that changes, customer trust will be paramount.

Third-party cookies, as many marketers will be well aware, are being discontinued by Google in 2023, largely because of privacy issues. 

One of the reasons why cookies have survived so long is because technology outpaces legislation. Likely, most companies always knew that using cookies was a grey area, but chose to use them anyway, says Willem Blom, a Partner at the curiously named Amsterdam-based digital agency, Dept.

Third-party cookies

Image by Darkmoon_Art from Pixabay

“To survive in a cookieless world, those ethics need to be revisited,” Blom urgues. 

“After all, today’s customers are a lot more knowledgeable than companies give them credit for and will be sensitive as to how their data is collected and handled. To earn their trust, transparency and ethics are immeasurably important.”

The beginning of something better

He believes the silver lining is that the end of third-party cookies is not the end of data. It will be the beginning of something better instead. With third-party cookies positioned to fade within a year or two, ‘cleaner’ data now has the chance to grow and evolve. 

“There’s simply too much value to be derived from advertising revenue, so while things will certainly change, customer data will remain one of the most heavily invested-in areas of any modern business,” Blom says.

In addition to unlocking and activating first-party consumer data with the help of tools like customer data platforms (CDPs), increasing numbers of brands are going straight to the source.

Look for the rise of zero-party data

He points out that international research and advisory company Forrester coined the term ‘zero-party data’, which it defines as: “Data that a customer intentionally and proactively shares with a brand. It can include preference centre data, purchase intentions, personal context, and how the individual wants the brand to recognise them.”

According to Blom, a zero-party data strategy doesn’t force users to fill in their details. Rather, it’s built on a relationship of trust. It’s built on the understanding that by providing a ‘give to get’ value exchange, consumers are more likely to share their information in return for a tailored, more valuable customer experience.

“Valuable information can be derived from areas such as customer logins, newsletter [subscriptions] and chatbot conversations. Not only will this allow businesses to better understand their customers, the overall quality of attribution and actionable data science methods will also increase.”

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