Post-2020, it seems every company is a tech company. The rise of social media platforms and third-party cookies tracking users across the internet generated massive volumes of personal data. Data that’s often collected, stored, and shared across organizations without people’s knowledge or consent.
With more regulations and consumers questioning companies’ use of their data, you need to prepare for marketing in a consumer first privacy landscape.
Due to the GDPR and other data privacy laws, the wild, unregulated days of the internet are coming to a close. Regulators are quickly catching up to address consumer privacy concerns and the misuse of personal data.
Marketers are also anticipating the change. A recent survey indicates that 73 percent of marketers fear that privacy concerns will negatively impact their analytics efforts.
How did marketers and organizations get to this point?
The Rise of Third-Party Tracking
While the first-party cookie was invented in 1994, it was quickly exploited to create the third-party cookie observing users’ behavior today. By 2000 this was a widely used practice.
Tracking third-party cookies provided a unique view into user behaviors and habits for marketers. As consumers increased their device usage, marketers tailored their campaigns to meet customers on the exact apps and websites they’re using.
By 2020 US residents had access to over 10 devices daily on average. The amount of data being collected over the past two decades has significantly increased. These databases enable customized marketing strategies and plans to fit specific audience behaviors and insights.
By using first and third party cookies, marketing teams see where to best optimize their budgets and increase ROI. Thus, tracking users has become a mainstay in the digital playbook.
There are many benefits to these practices. But one fallback is the consumer is prioritized last. Using third-party cookies to track people doesn’t align with a consumer first privacy strategy.
Less Data Isn’t Bad for Marketing
You’ve probably noticed, browsers and devices are disabling the use of third-party cookies that follow users around the digital world. While this has sent some marketers into a panic, others are embracing the change.
The use of first and third-party data sources took the guesswork out of marketing. But despite the fact that third-party cookie tracking allows marketers to deeply understand users and personalize messages, it’s also come with negative costs to consumer trust and privacy.
Rather than establishing a two-way relationship with consumers, tracking people through their devices and digital interactions has left many feeling distrustful of marketers.
Instead of having conversations with people, marketers are monitoring their behavior in the background. There is no personal connection.
As the invasiveness of marketing has progressed, consumers have become more concerned about their privacy and the personal information that’s being collected and shared.
In addition to the legal ramifications of lawsuits and fines, violations of user privacy come with serious damage to an organization’s reputation.
With the increase in data breaches, a new class of consumers has emerged. Privacy Actives make up 1 out of every 3 consumers. Privacy actives will stop doing business with organizations because of their data privacy practices.
Consumers want to know how their data is used and distributed. Since the GDPR, people are becoming less willing to give out their personal information. As a result, companies are finding it harder to gain and maintain consumer trust.
Rethink How Consumer Data is Managed
Organizations that conduct marketing activities by prioritizing customer consent and data privacy have a competitive edge. Giving consumers more control and choice over their data results in better consumer relationships, trust, and loyalty.
Today, organizations should see privacy less as a barrier and more as an upside for its trust-earning potential. A consumer first privacy mindset differentiates your organization from your competitors.
Committing to privacy has won Apple the reputation as the most privacy-sensitive big tech company. Not only is privacy a core value, but it’s also now embedded into everything Apple does – including new products.
Apple has positioned itself to move into new, highly regulated markets like online payments, identity, and health.
2021 surveys indicate that brand loyalty for Apple is at an all-time high of nearly 92 percent – up from 90.5 percent in 2019. Privacy is a competitive advantage for Apple and it’s paying off.
It won’t be long before more companies follow in Apple’s footsteps.
Shifting to a Consumer First Privacy Landscape
In a new digital world where personal data protection is paramount, companies will have to adjust their current marketing tactics and strategies.
The absence of third-party data to understand and personalize outreach to customers will leave you with only first-party data and consumer research data to explore.
This will impact how companies personalize outreach to customers at scale. It’s estimated that marketers may have to spend around 10 to 20 percent more on marketing and sales to achieve current return levels.
The new normal will be an entwined relationship that requires a fundamental value exchange. Prioritizing consumer privacy will form authentic relationships with individuals who are more likely to purchase.
Marketing funnels will look smaller but be filled with consumers who are more interested, qualified, and likely to commit to your brand.
8 Strategies Worth Your Attention Besides Third-Party Cookie Tracking
Put the Audience First – Identify where your company values and audience values intersect. How can you communicate with your audience – not TO your audience – and build a deeper relationship?
Create Personalized Messages with Brand Values – Ask your audience what resources and information they are interested in receiving. How can you implement these insights to create more personalized messages?
Inspire Loyal Customers – Don’t let the idea of capturing new customers make you forget about your current customers. Are you listening enough to your current customers needs and ideas?
Use Transparency to Enhance the Customer Experience – Data collection or targeted marketing practices that lack transparency are often a red flag for consumers. Are you educating consumers about their personal data that will be collected and used?
Ensure First-Party Data is Accurate and Usable – As the digital world goes dark on third-party cookies, you need to have a plan in place for using your first-party data. Do you know where your first-party data lives? Is it accurate? Is it compliant with privacy laws?
Implement Transparent Consent & Preference Management – It’s not only important for customer trust, it’s required by several laws. Do you have the ability to customize your cookie consent banner for unique customers and situations?
Be Aware of the Coming Shift in KPIs – Once again, it will be important to measure brand awareness and other attention metrics. Some teams may throw out traditional marketing funnels altogether. In the absence of third-party cookies, how will you measure marketing performance?
Focus on Targeting, Not Tracking – Focus on ways to target consumers without using third-party cookie tracking and other dark marketing practices. What opportunities and channels best align with your audience?
Are you ready for marketing beyond third-party cookies?
Learn how to implement the 8 Strategies for Marketing in a Consumer First Privacy Landscape.