The robots haven’t quite taken over the world, but we're getting closer every day. Well, not exactly, but despite the countless Hollywood movies depicting our demise at the expense of our technological advancements, we have stepped up in recognizing where we might be starting to cross the line. There is a long-time-coming fundamental shift in online data collection – and it's going to affect both you as an individual and your business. Users of today’s technology and IoT are finally catching on to just how much information is captured about their digital behavior. And this realization has resulted in a paradigm shift in settings and regulations across the world on web tracking.
The industry will need to shift away from the long-standing "implied consent" to browsers and websites adopting an "expressed consent" model when using third-party cookies. This shift means users have to opt-in to having their data collected and/or they can specify which types of data they approve for collection.
As a result, organizations that are diligently marketing and managing their digital presence are and will be experiencing some big changes.
These new requirements and expectations have a three-fold impact:
- Workflow Disruption - New privacy laws and browser policies govern how marketers must gain consent and what user identifiers they can access. This law is controlled by the states/country and the browsers themselves (i.e., Firefox, Chrome).
- User Consent - User consent is a two-way street. Not only do marketers need authenticated customer data to follow an individual’s experience, but the publishers they work with must also have logged-in data to deliver 1:1 experiences thereafter.
- Long-Term Impact - As a result, targeting and measurement are changing but it isn't gone or broken. Third-party cookies will become more scarce over time, and marketers will rely on a confluence of solutions – but so far, they aren’t happy about it.
There's work to be done, but there's good news too!
While third-party cookies are in hot water, first-party cookies are much safer from these restrictions. The chart below provides a rough idea of how different data collection methods are restricted more or less across different spaces. The green indicates what is allowed, versus yellow indicating the use is limited - and red means fully restricted. Each is completely different, but what is clear is that third-party cookies are the most restricted across everything.
To review, first-party data is collected by and is unique to an individual business whereas third-party data is more widely available. If the first-party data (such as users navigating apps and websites, clicking on emails, creating accounts, etc.) is collected with consent, that data now is owned by the business. It can be extremely valuable and, when used correctly, an effective marketing tool.
In a world where third-party data is starting to be sunset, first-party data will be the future of marketing.Google, the largest web-centric global company, has been evolving over the years to meet the needs and challenges we see within this paradigm shift toward data collection. We're finally seeing the fundamental changes and systems getting smarter and growing stronger with each iteration to deliver GA4 – the new version of data collection from Google Analytics. Read more in our related blog post about making the switch to GA4 for more details [Time to Make the Switch to Google Analytics 4].
Want to get ahead of the curve? Even if you're not currently using Google Analytics, we can help. Verndale's Digital Marketing team can assess and inspect your current ecosystem with precision and accuracy. Our team helps clients safely explore the new world of measurement (i.e., rethink your marketing strategy) and take the best approach to understand any data limitations or adjustments around the new perspective on data privacy.
Contact Verndale to get started.