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Treat your first-party data like gold.

I don’t know about you but the introduction of the revised Cookies Compliance Policy has been a bit of a torn in my side but one which must be enforced. On 6 April 2020, the Data Protection Commission (DPC) published a report and separate guidance on Cookies and Other Tracking Technologies (Guidance), a key area of enforcement for the DPC.

This has advertisers and marketers on their toes as growing consumer privacy concerns force traditional third-party data collection into the dustbin of history. Safari and Firefox have already banned website cookies. Google will scrap them on Chrome (which represents nearly 70% of market share) in 2023.

So what’s the difference between first and third-party cookies I hear you ask? They are both used to track user behaviour and have similar purposes but are collected and used in different ways.

First-party cookies are directly stored by the website (or domain) you visit. These cookies allow website owners to collect analytics data, remember language settings, and perform other useful functions that provide a good user experience.

Image: Smarketing Cloud

An example of a first-party cookie is when a user signs into an e-commerce website, like Amazon. The web browser will send a request in a process that provides the highest level of trust that the user is directly interacting with Amazon. The web browser saves this data file to the user’s computer, under the “amazon.com” domain. If first-party cookies were blocked, a user would have to sign-in every time they visited, and they wouldn’t be able to purchase multiple items while shopping online because the cart would reset after every item that was added.

Third-party cookies on the other hand are created by domains that are not the website (or domain) you are visiting. These are usually used for online-advertising purposes and placed on a website through a script or tag.

Brands need to adopt new strategies for connecting with customers. That means capitalising on the “gold” sitting right under their noses – first-party data. Customer data from sources like completed on-site purchases, surveys, customer feedback and your CRM is valuable for two big reasons. First, because you own it. Second, it gives you the blueprint for your ideal customer.

You can use first-party data to glean key insights about your customers, tailor content to their preferences, predict their behaviour and more. (Forbes)

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