Google plans to complete the third-party cookie phaseout in Chrome by the end of 2023. Since Safari and Firefox blocked these cookies several years ago, marketers are actively preparing to operate in a cookieless world.
Third-party cookies that allow browsers to store information about visitors' activity and share it with advertisers have been a powerful marketing tool for years. They were integral to highly effective remarketing and retargeting efforts that brought visitors back to websites after they have already left.
While third-party cookies provided valuable data for personalization purposes, they also raised concerns about users' privacy. Even though consumers welcomed personalization, they were wary of uncontrolled personal data collection. Eventually, the latter outweighed the former, and web privacy laws turned into a marketing obstacle.
Web Privacy Laws
While many web privacy laws have been implemented over the years (for example, Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) dates back to 1998), the most well-known regulation, GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation), appeared just four years ago.
GDPR is currently the toughest web privacy law in the world. The regulation is 88 pages long and applies to all companies that target EU users.
In the United States, the toughest web privacy law is the California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018 (CCPA). The data that cookies gather is considered personal information by CCPA. Other states also have various privacy laws that make third-party data collection complicated at best.
Similar to everything Google does, phasing out the third-party cookie has to do with improving the experience for the searcher. Website visitors regain control over the information they share with the companies and avoid security threats. Instead of viewing the phaseout as something that hinders your marketing strategy, we prefer to see it as an excellent opportunity to streamline customer relationships.
Replacing Third-Party Cookies
While Google has already moved the third-party cookie's phaseout a few times, its demise seems imminent. That's why marketers are constantly searching for new ways to collect customer information and leverage it for personalization and targeting.
With personalization being the key to both B2B and B2B marketing success, losing a major tool that drives it could cause some companies to reinvent their marketing campaigns. Some of them choose to rely on first-party data. However, its benefits are somewhat limited.
Right now, Google is trying to offer replacements by building tools for its Privacy Sandbox. While these tools are highly useful, they can hardly become a full replacement for third-party cookie targeting opportunities. At least not yet.
That's why many experts are turning their attention to zero-party data.
Collecting and Leveraging Zero-Party Data
Zero-party data is information that customers willingly and proactively share with the company. This type of information can include preferences, purchase intention, and personal preferences. Marketers collect this data through quizzes, questionnaires, surveys, and customer profiles. When combined with first-party information, zero-party data can create a valuable basis for personalization.
The main benefit of zero-party data is the high degree and quality of personal detail that businesses gain access to. Instead of trying to collect this information by analyzing a consumer's activity, they receive pure data that can immediately be implemented into the marketing campaign.
While consumers are worried about their privacy, they are willing to share personal information with the brand, especially if it means that they get high-quality offers in return. According to Deloitte, one in every five customers is ready to pay 20% more for a personalized approach.
The control consumers have over the data they share gives them a sense of security while saving companies a significant amount of time on analytics.
Time-pressed buyers expect personalized offers. That's why they are ready to take a few minutes to share their data with the brand. As companies continue building customer relationships, this type of sharing turns into a valuable habit. Over time, collecting zero-party data can become as smooth, simple, and effective as gathering third-party information through cookies.
A Few Challenges
While highly useful, zero-party data is not omnipotent. You are limited to collecting information from customers who are willing to share it. If a visitor comes to the website and leaves without registering, filling out a form, or taking a quiz, you can't get any zero-party data. That's where other marketing tactics have to kick in.
The more attention you pay to high-quality targeting, the more likely a visitor is to share zero-party data during their first visit. As a result, you get an opportunity to implement the rest of your personalization and conversion strategy.
Marketing in The Cookieless World
As marketers are exploring Google's Privacy Sandbox and first-party cookie opportunities, zero-party data is taking center stage. Right now, the absence of established tools for gathering and implementing this type of data is a temporary challenge. Once third-party cookies disappear, the focus will shift to developing zero-party data solutions.
Both marketers and customers need time to get used to the cookieless world. Since consumers are demanding a more secure approach to data collection, they are likely to appreciate the effort to do this openly. Meanwhile, marketers will design zero-data-oriented strategies and create the necessary tools to implement them.
Back to the Future
Zero-party data isn't a brand-new concept. For many years, marketers have been using this data for creating personal offers, getting feedback, and driving retention. Today, they understand how underused this tool was in the past and start rediscovering it for their future strategies.
As the ever-changing privacy laws become more stringent, it's up to the marketing teams to search for transparent data-collection options. Even if Google decides to push the phaseout completion back another year, relying on third-party cookies to build your marketing strategy is ill-advised.
It's up to you to give the customers the respect and privacy they want and deserve. They will appreciate the effort and respond by sharing valuable data.
Are you ready to explore zero-party data opportunities? Our advisors can help you revamp your marketing strategy and enter the cookieless world fully armed.