Google recently announced that over the next couple of years, they will be phasing out third-party cookies.
With no alternative tracking identifiers being built by Google to enable cross-site tracking, marketers are rightfully worried about how it will affect their targeting customers after using cookies to their advantage for so long.
After these changes take place, marketers won’t be able to use third-party cookies on Chrome, making customer acquisition much harder for digital advertisers – especially considering Chrome is the most commonly-used browser across the world.
If you want to learn more about cookies, data privacy, and how Google’s recent decisions could affect your business, keep reading.
What are cookies?
Third-party cookies are widely used across the internet and are best described as very small pieces of data that get stored on your internet browser when you visit different websites.
These cookies keep a record of where you’ve been on the internet, collect information about your interests and habits, then get used for hyper-targeting and delivering targeted ads and content.
Not everyone likes cookies though. Many digital advertisers believe they don’t provide enough information to correctly target ads, and users don’t like how there’s no obvious opt-out function to stop tracking.
Now that they are being phased out, it’s in everyone’s best interest that a newer, better, alternative takes their place.
What does going cookieless mean for advertisers?
If advertisers want to continue tracking customers and delivering targeted marketing ads, they will need to adopt a variety of new approaches that will allow them to gain user information without cookies.
This could include reducing digital spending and refocusing on things like subscription-based payment models.
Without effective tracking abilities, advertisers won’t be able to reach out to potential customers easily, and customers will find it more difficult to find the right products to purchase.
Trying to obtain customer data, while respecting data privacy laws, may be a challenge in a cookieless world, but there are plenty of solutions in the works that can help balance the two considerations.
Most of the solutions revolve around first-party data where user information is authenticated and used for retargeting ads, however, there is no main alternative available at the moment.
Whatever solutions are created, the future of marketing could completely change over the next few years, which could be a good thing for data privacy in advertising.
What is data privacy?
Whether you’re aware of it or not, you’re giving away information almost every time you go on the internet such as when you’re giving your name and email address to a website, or when you are simply browsing your favourite apparel website.
Large companies can easily access your information and potentially hand it over to other third parties if you haven’t opted out of it – which many people may not be comfortable with.
It should be up to consumers to be aware of all the information they’re handing over and they should have control over the type of consumer data the internet holds on them – which is where data privacy comes in.
Data privacy means giving users control over who sees their data, how it’s handled, how their data can be used, and how long their data can be stored.
It’s important that companies follow data privacy laws, as there are very big penalties for anyone breaking the rules – some companies have been fined millions of dollars for rule-breaking.
Data breaches and faults within a company’s data privacy procedures can quickly lead to customer information being shared without consent, which can result in loss of revenues and clients.
The importance of data privacy for businesses
Every business should be aware of the general data privacy rules and how to prevent breaches. Your customer data should be important to you, and you should invest in protecting this data to avoid any long-term issues.
Here is why data privacy is so important for businesses:
1. Makes your brand seem more trustworthy
If you can build a reputation for your brand by respecting data privacy laws and looking after your customer’s data, the more trustworthy your brand will seem.
The more trustworthy you are, the more likely customers are to come to you and provide you with the information you need to target them correctly.
2. Your customers care about their information being private
In recent years, internet users have learnt more about how their information is being shared – and they’re not happy about it.
No one wants to know that companies are taking their information and using it without their consent. So, if your company has a reputation for mishandling data, you may have to say goodbye to even your most loyal clients.
People are more concerned about their privacy and want to work with companies that can help protect them, especially when it comes to their sensitive information.
Every business should offer their customers protection. It’s also in your best interest because it can help increase your customer base and skyrocket your brand’s value.
3. It could give you a competitive advantage
Finally, taking care with data privacy compliance can give your brand the competitive advantage it needs to outperform the competition.
Many brands have been caught out in data privacy scandals – companies like WhatsApp and Facebook – and it can damage your reputation. Because of these scandals, many customers will move to alternative products and services.
If your competition is in these situations and you’re a reliable company when it comes to data privacy, you can expect their customers to come to you.
Similarly, if you provide your customers with protection over their information, you’ll never have to worry about them switching to your competitors.
How to prioritise data privacy in a cookieless world
If you don’t already have a strong data privacy procedure in your business, it’s even more important that you prioritise this in a cookie-free world.
Improving the data security of your business will encourage more customers to provide you with data, and give you more information that you can use to target the right products and content to your customers.
Here’s how you can prioritise data privacy in your business:
1. Have a compliance strategy for customer data protection
You need to have a strong data compliance strategy in place if you want to properly protect customer data. A good strategy should be simple, understandable, and effective when implemented in all areas of your business.
It’s not good enough just having policies in place, your customers need to be aware of them. This helps to build trust and make customers feel safer in providing their data to you.
3. Instill the importance of data privacy at all levels
Your employees are the people who will be handling this data daily, so make sure everyone is aware of the importance of protecting this information.
4. Properly tag your information to protect sensitive data
Not all data has to be treated the same, some are more sensitive than others. Make sure to tag all of your data so you can categorise everything and provide different levels of protection to suit the needs of the information you’re handling.
5. Plan what you will do in the case of a breach
Data breaches are sometimes unavoidable, but knowing how to deal with these situations is extremely important. Plan out what you will do in this situation and how you can protect the personal data you have stored on your customers.
Want to know more about how to protect data online?
We know that it can often feel like the rules and regulations are changing all the time.
Whether you’re struggling with protecting information in a shared office environment, or need help coming up with your policies, we can help. Get in touch with us today for more information on this topic.