As Google cements plans to comprehensively curtail third-party cookie tracking within the next couple of years, and Firefox, Safari et al. scramble to follow suit, the way in which marketers connect with consumers is undergoing radical change.
Since those early days of dial-up, when Amazon was merely a book-seller and searches were made by “asking Jeeves” cookies have been the norm for following users around the internet, and reporting back activity and information to marketers and data vendors. For three decades this has been the de facto way for marketers to marginally personalize their campaigns to consumers.
Although these behemoth browsers' privacy pivot is a win for privacy-conscious consumers, it’s a headache for marketers wedded to third-party cookies to power their advertising, as well as perpetuating Google’s anti-competitive walled garden. These sweeping changes to the martech and adtech industries reinforce the need for marketers to shift to a first- and zero-party data strategy to power their advertising and marketing initiatives. The cookie is truly crumbling.
66% of consumers feel ads based on tracking behavior are creepy
Implementing a Zero-Party Data Strategy
In the privacy legislation era, zero-party data is the next step in rebuilding trust and engendering lasting and meaningful connections with consumers. A class of preference data that a consumer proactively and intentionally shares with a brand to improve personalization — never collected by cookie tracking.
Zero-party data empowers marketers to get ahead of these inevitable changes and build direct relationships with consumers, including their competitor’s customers, to better personalize their product recommendations, services, and content.
As this preference data comes directly from the consumer, there are no intermediaries and no guesswork — it’s psychographic data that includes your customers’ values, attitudes, interests and personality traits.
Once you’ve laid out the terms and acquired consent from the consumer, you’ll be able to use this data to inform personalized ads, emails, SMS, web content, and other communications.
79% of consumers will trade personal and preference data for the chance to win a prize
The Value Exchange Economy
The utopia described above comes with a caveat. Consumers are not going to hand over their personal and preference data for nothing. You need to offer a tangible value exchange - offering something of value to the consumer in order to receive the data you need.
To collect the data required to power true personalization, consumers need to be entertained, engaged, and receive something in return for their attention and preference data. Marketers can deliver this through interactive experiences that conduct research, accrue opt-ins, and deliver an altogether better experience for the consumer.
Some examples of things you can offer include free products or services or discounts. But what if you don’t want to water down your products or brand? You may look into offering contextually differentiated experiences, where a consumer gets a desirable bonus for certain actions. Think of the ways you can promote your brand. This can be through early access to a product or exclusive content.
One you've gathered consumer motivations, intentions, interests, and preferences at scale, you can think about delivering a truly personalized customer experience to beat the walled gardens and death of the cookie.
Danny is a Content Marketing Manager for Cheetah Digital. Danny has spent his career in disruptive tech start-ups driving content strategy with a current focus on how brands can connect with modern consumers through a philosophy rooted in self-reported preference data. When he’s not extolling the value of zero-party data, he is guaranteed to be out running.