Demystifying the cookieless future: looking ahead to a new era of privacy
Rawnet's Federico D'Uva argues that marketers are missing the point of phasing out cookies, suggesting that now's the time to reassess how (and why) we exchange data.
Is the fade-out of cookies less about privacy, and more about user control? / Eugenia Kozyr via Unsplash
Marketing and ad-tech departments worldwide are preparing for a major transformation as the end of the road for third-party data has arrived. Google has stated that it will phase out cross-site monitoring through third-party cookies in Chrome by the end of 2023, joining a growing number of browsers that have already done so.
What will the 'cookiepocalypse' entail for the marketing industry as it approaches? Is the shift away from third-party data an opportunity to evaluate and restructure, putting user privacy at the center of data and targeting plans, rather than a crisis?
As the industry enters the cookieless age, the laws of marketing will change, but data will undoubtedly remain one of the most important drivers of success. 87% of marketers believe data is their company's most underutilized asset, while 40% of businesses intend to increase their data-driven marketing investments.
Phasing out cookies: what does it mean?
The protection of personal information is becoming increasingly important. Individuals have become more concerned about how their data is being used. As a result, countries opted to enact legislation to standardize data flow between receivers and advertisers.
Appropriately, publishers were obliged to alter their existing systems. Although Firefox and Safari removed third-party cookies in 2017, they continued using the most popular kind of user data; marketers relied on cookies to provide customer data that helped them optimize the user experience and bolster conversion rates.
As the tailored and digital advertising markets grew, Big Tech firms created new ways to preserve users' privacy, such as Apple's App Tracking Transparency. The method should allow users to determine how and where information about their internet activity is used. By 2024, new solutions will undoubtedly arise dynamically.
Tech titans will keep working to improve privacy, and audiences are increasingly expecting solutions to offer the greatest possible privacy protection; advertisers now need to devise a system that ensures acceptable data privacy while still allowing for precise ad targeting.
Introducing cookieless optimization
Data strategy has never been more critical, with customer data increasingly driving personalization tactics that power the customer experience across marketing, sales, and customer support. Adapting to the new, cookieless and privacy-led ‘normal’ necessitates a drastic shift in our targeting mindset. The industry must embrace performance-driven methods that do not rely on personal identifiers.
An organization's most important asset is first-party data, which identifies a consumer's interactions with its brand. It's how brands understand their consumers and improve customers' experience – it's the barometer for the entire company's brand performance.
The UK Government has correctly recognized the importance of personal data to the economy and technological innovation in general with the Data Reform Bill. Close and effective collaboration among marketing service providers, publishers, marketers, and regulators will be critical not only to ensuring the responsible development of emerging technologies like artificial intelligence but also to the fundamental future of an ad-supported, free, and open internet.
A new liberated era of privacy
Contrary to popular belief, the end of the common internet cookie isn't about protecting user privacy. The era, which will begin when Google Chrome stops using third-party cookie data, is about empowering customers to make educated decisions and act on them in a user-friendly manner.
It is time to transform this tidal shift in data handling into a victory for marketers, publishers, and, most importantly, consumers. Media and technology sectors must assist customers in specifying the data they want to share, clearly stating how the data will be used, and providing explicit controls to allow consumers to alter and regulate their preferences.
Although it is still early days, the end of third-party cookies appears to herald a new age of internet advertising. Businesses will need to be adaptable and respond to the changing marketplace, but there are still plenty of opportunities for those prepared to seize them.
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