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Care for some cookies?



Turns out half of us happily stuff our cache full of them. 33% of us are on a zero-cookie diet. The rest of us are trying to cut down.

In this first piece of Friendly Advice from Amigo Partnership you’ll…

  • Find out what consumers are willing (and not) to share
  • Learn the ways that other organisations are coming to terms with the end of third party cookies (other cookies are still available)
  • Discover what you need to be doing today

Plus, find out how other organisations are acclimatising to the changing cookie landscape.

Do people really care about data privacy?

There appears to be a data privacy mental block. One third of the people in the UK find it confusing. One in five don’t even care. The pattern is same in most major markets around the world where regulations mean that websites and apps must give them the option. When it comes to cookie consumption most people will just go ahead and accept, mindlessly gorging away as they give away their data.

But why? Is it because there isn’t enough time in the day? Is it because there’s more important things to worry about? Is it because companies turn the accept or reject process into a riddle? Do we simply find it hard to say no? Or is it the sweet-sounding name and the way the buttons look delicious? It’s most likely that people just don’t understand what opting in or out or including, excluding or accepting legitimate interest means.

And this all seems strange. For context, nearly 40% of UK residents don’t trust organisations and businesses at all. And that includes the NHS and government organisations (shock!).

The big question is this. Is this all happening because people don’t care because it’s too difficult or time consuming to know what to do, or are they genuinely not concerned about the privacy of their data?

So, when and why would people share? Again, the answer is trust. Trust builds relationships and relationships can make loyal customers. To build loyalty you need time and care. It’s only natural to trust something like the NHS more than you would a media organisation – and that’s thanks to the previous actions of Facebook and Google.

For wise brands, it’s less about a one-time gift or discount. Something more ongoing, more meaningful, more customer-centric where a consumer receives incentives for giving up their personal data is more effective. If you are an online retailer, instead of giving 15% discount on your first order for an email, give a smaller discount. One that recognises the special relationship you have and drives lifetime value better. Think about beauty brands like Sephora and Cult Beauty. They reward their consumers for deeper engagement and access to more personal data over time. 

A longer-term strategy is a winning strategy.


What to do in a (third-party) cookie-less world?

This isn’t new news – third-party cookies are going out of date, fast. In fact, Apple device owners already live in a cookie-less world. If you’re business is still reliant on third-party cookies to track user behaviour and deliver targeted ads across other operating systems, you need to start to use new ways to gather data.

And you need to do it now.

Other options are available.

1) Build up your own First-Party data

First-party data, or data that is collected directly from your customers or website visitors, is generally considered to be of higher quality than third-party data anyway. Given it comes directly from the horse’s mouth, it’s not hard to see why. You can gather first-party data by asking users to give their personal information, like their email address, or by tracking their behaviour on your website. This data can be used to create more personalized and targeted marketing campaigns. But you should not stop there.

First-party data should also be combined with the development of effective CRM, and potentially, loyalty programs. CRM is highly effective as a communication channel, typically delivering more than a 5:1 return on expenditure, making it one of the most cost-effective communication channels to use.

2) Engage with other data providers

Collecting first-party data and developing CRM programs is difficult for brands in some categories. 

Think about FMCG. Products are typically bought with limited consideration. Habit and impulse rule how we act. It’s questionable if consumers would be willing to share their data. As low interest purchases, consumers are unlikely to buy directly from a food brand’s website or joining CRM or loyalty programs. Imagine the rigmarole consumers would face, if they had to give an email address to buy their favourite drink, favourite soup or ketchup. There just isn’t the mindshare available for this.

This is where retailers and other sources will gain the greatest opportunities from the end of third-party cookies. Google’s digital ecosystem is an exceptionally rich source of data on consumer behaviour, from emails written in Gmail, videos viewed on YouTube, websites visited on Chrome, locations searched for on Google Maps, etc. This first-party data collected by Google is not affected by cookie depreciation. Rather depreciation of third-party cookies offers Google a strong source of competitive advantage, especially against the pixel-tracking capabilities offered by social media networks.

Then, consider the opportunity for Amazon, who understand not just the products you buy from its eCommerce storefront, but also the content you consume from Prime, Music, and Audible. Plus, they run their own ad network. It’s easy to see how the impact of third-party cookie depreciation will be limited for brands using Amazon’s advertising platforms.

If you then consider that major eCommerce retailers – Walmart in the US, Ocado, and Tesco in the UK are also pushing for the growth of POS advertising. It’s easy to see that the end of the third-party cookie is not going to be the death knell for performance marketing, even in low-involvement categories. The trick here is to develop strong relationships with these partners, enabling access to their data. However, the drawback is that this data sharing will no doubt come with a price for brands who rely on it to drive performance marketing and insights.

3) Explore new ways to collect data

The future may be zero

Zero-party data is data that is willingly provided by users to companies. This includes things like survey responses, product preferences, and other types of feedback. Zero-party data is even more valuable than first-party data since it is given directly by the user and shows a high level of interest and engagement.

The question is, will people be willing to share data with every organisation they have an interaction with? And here is the problem.

Consumers will only share their personal information and feelings with the brands that they have the strongest relationship with. Couple this with the typical standard errors of survey research – one form of zero-party data – and it’s easy to see how zero-party data can become increasingly difficult and expensive to collect.

Open wallet democracy

Open wallet technology could be the answer. Organisations like the Open Wallet Foundation are working to develop platforms where anyone can store their own data and easily choose who they share it with. Open wallets work like Apple Pay or Google Wallet which power the sharing of payment information.

For us the people, open wallets could offer true democratization of data, where empowered consumers regain ownership of their own data, and choose who can use it, when they can use it, and where they can use it.

So just what does the end of third-party cookies mean?

If you’re a CMO – you need to ensure your data strategy reflects the change in third-party cookie availability. You need to have the data infrastructure in place to effectively collect and manage your own data pools, coupled with a strategy to enrich, and keep stored party data both current and secure.

If you’re a Digital Marketer – you need to assess your current data and look for ways to ensure that your touchpoints can continue to both effectively engage your audiences and enrich your understanding of channel and messaging performance.

For us all as consumers – we need to ensure that we understand our options for protecting and sharing our personal data. Even if data sharing doesn’t worry you in the slightest, it could be time to wise up to the future of cookies.