What do you think of cookies? And no, I’m not talking about the warm, chocolate-chip-loaded, ooey-gooey treats your grandmother used to make. I’m talking about the pop-up that seems to appear on every web page nowadays: “Accept Cookies”.
While cookies certainly serve a purpose, users have found them to be invasive and unsettling. People have become increasingly aware in the last few years of the constant data collection in their everyday lives. We’ve all had the experience where you look up a product one time or click on one ad, then suddenly see 10 more for the exact same thing. While some may find it nice to have advertisements catered towards them, it may feel a little strange at times.
Data transparency is becoming increasingly popular and important to users. As a digital agency that builds and designs websites for a wide range of clients, it’s important for us to understand what users are looking for when they come to a site and cater towards their needs and our client’s needs. Right now, this may look like giving users some level of control over the data a site is going to collect – and letting them know how the site’s organization will be using the data in the first place. Keeping sites secure and showing users how you will protect and use their data is key when it comes to these privacy changes. In fact, it’s already a legal requirement in many areas. For example, in California, under the California Consumer Privacy Act, “CCPA”, while you’re not required to include a cookie banner, you are required to provide an “opt-out” option. For European website visitors, however, a cookie banner is a requirement.
If you’re in the marketing industry and trying to better understand your audience, cookies have probably been helpful for you. Cookies provide data points and analytics reports for marketers to better cater to and understand their audience. As these options are going away and becoming more regulated, how can you adjust your marketing strategies online to continue to evolve with your audience and provide them with what they need or want?
Shift to Privacy Marketing
We’ve seen this shift towards privacy in a variety of ways. Apple’s new iOS 14.5 update offers a paradigm-shifting option for its users: you get to decide whether or not your activity is tracked and shared on your apps. Now, this is not technically unique or unheard of right now. Firefox also blocks cookies by default. Meanwhile, Google has announced that they are doing away with third-party cookies. (by 2022.) Marketers have relied on cookies to track and understand their audience for a long time now, so it’s going to require some adjusting. Marketers will need to be data-driven in other ways, not dependent on what they’ve been receiving from third-party cookies.
Luckily, there are some great resources as marketers work to move forward in this new environment. This article by Think with Google highlights some changes marketers can make such as moving to a first-party measurement system, being cautious of “workarounds”, and understanding the regulatory requirements of privacy.
What do you think about these privacy changes – do you prefer more privacy personally? How do you think it will impact marketing tactics? What will you choose to do with the iOS update? We’d love to hear your thoughts!
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