It’s undeniable that technology is constantly developing, but with the advancement of technology come many societal changes. While one group of people enjoyed the fact that they were receiving ads that were highly relevant to them, others felt frightened about how much these companies knew about them.
Over time, people became concerned about the different ways in which devices collect our personal information. For example, some research shows that almost 80% of internet users feel as if they have lost control over their personal data.
Thankfully, privacy awareness has spread, and various countries have started to adopt laws that would prevent companies from unethically exploiting our data and selling it to other companies. The most impactful privacy regulation was the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation, which came into power in 2018.
Many countries have decided to follow this example and protect their citizens from unethical data collection. As a company, here are some ways to improve your users’ privacy and increase their trust.
1. Remove third-party cookies
Various companies have utilized third-party cookies for decades. They have been a foundation of marketing campaigns for both small businesses and large corporations. Fortunately, their dishonest approach to collecting the user’s data has led to their demise.
Web browsers such as Mozilla and Brave disabled third-party cookies a while back. However, Google Chrome will terminate them entirely in late 2024, which marks their ending.
Third-party cookies are a piece of code that is put on your computer by a party other than the website that you are visiting. Inherently, cookies aren’t malicious, they won’t install malware or corrupt your data, but they will continue to gather the data from your computer after you’ve closed a particular website.
Many companies have relied on this method of collecting the user’s data, which is currently illegal in various parts of the world and will soon be terminated. Removing third-party cookies and implementing some other form of cookies will create a more transparent approach between you and your visitors.
2. Embrace other forms of cookies
Since third-party cookies will inevitably be removed, there are other forms of cookies that you can utilize to gather your customers’ information in a non-invasive way. There are mainly two forms of cookies that are an alternative to third-party cookies.
They might not be as versatile as third-party cookies, but they are used according to privacy laws and regulations.
First-party cookies are a snippet of code, just like third-party cookies, yet they function much more transparently. They are created by the domain that you are currently visiting. Their transparency can be seen by the fact that you can decline them, or you can customize which data you want to share with this website.
First-party cookies allow the company that collects them to improve its services without exploiting its users in any way. The notification for first-party cookies is written in simple English, allowing non-native speakers to understand what data they are sharing with the website quickly.
While some websites don’t allow you to use their website without accepting cookies, this approach is much more transparent than the website that secretly has the data of its users.
These cookies are used to remember the items that were in the customer’s shopping cart, their encrypted login credentials, language preferences, and basic analytics. This privacy-friendly approach will build trust between you and your customers while also giving you analytics that can be utilized in your future marketing endeavors.
Osano’s helpful cookie guide will allow you to understand the importance of first-party cookies and zero-party data approaches to data collection.
There isn’t a science that defines second-party cookies, yet they are also a common way of gathering data from visitors. Second-party cookies are in a gray zone between first-party and third-party cookies.
Second-party cookies are gathered by one company and then used by another branch of the same company. A typical example of this is the fact that both Facebook and Instagram gather the data of their users. Since they are both owned by Meta, cookies collected by Facebook algorithms are used for Instagram’s marketing efforts and vice versa.
This data is shared by companies that are partnered, but according to privacy regulations, this is acceptable.
3. Develop a transparent approach
Transparency doesn’t stop at technical things such as notifications for cookies. You need to base your product on the fact that the safety and privacy of your customer come before your profit.
According to studies, around 86% of people surveyed in the US say that transparency with businesses is more important than ever before. Once you start being trustworthy and reliable to your users, you will have a significant advantage over your competitors.
From the initial cookie notification to being straightforward in your marketing and advertising campaigns, customers will respect your brand.
4. Improve the security culture at your company
One way to embrace privacy in marketing is by improving the security culture at your company. This involves implementing strict protocols for handling users’ personal information and training employees to be aware of their responsibilities when it comes to protecting data.
The improved security culture at your workplace will make every employee more concerned about their internet privacy and security. Better security culture will lead to an overall increase in the safety of the data that’s being managed.
According to GDPR, you might be suitable for a lawsuit if personal data that’s been collected by your company gets leaked by hackers. Even though you might have collected this data according to regulations, by having someone other than the authorized personnel access it, you are breaking one of the points made by GDPR.
Security culture will prevent personal mistakes regarding security by your employees. Another approach is to implement other types of privacy safeguards, such as encrypting user data or limiting the amount of personally identifiable information you collect from users.
Cookie Laws Explained
Several cookie laws have been implemented in different countries, including the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation and the California Consumer Privacy Act. These laws aim to protect users and help companies embrace privacy in marketing more effectively.
The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a series of regulations compiled and approved by European Union officials to promote their citizens’ data privacy.
GPDR includes rules on how companies collect, store, and use personal information about their customers or employees. Companies must comply with GDPR if they want to do business in the European Union and handle the private data of EU citizens.
Directly inspired by GDPR, California Consumer Privacy Act is a data privacy law that has set some of the standards of data privacy for companies that operate in California or do business with California’s citizens.
The final version of CCPA was adopted in March 2021, and it will take effect in 2023. Just like GDPR, CCPA requires that companies be transparent about their data collection practices. However, there are specific requirements for companies that can be prosecuted for misuse of data.
CCPA defines the terms “Consumer” and “Business.” A consumer is an individual that is a resident of California while a business is an entity that collects the data of its user and falls under one of these criteria:
- It has more than $25 million in annual gross revenue.
- Manipulates with data of more than 50,000 users
- Has more than 50% of its revenue generated by selling the data of its users
There is no future for marketing without embracing a privacy-first approach
Whether you are managing a big company or a small business, consumers are increasingly concerned about how their data is used and are looking for brands that respect their privacy.
While cookies can help you significantly increase your marketing ROI, they must be used responsibly and in compliance with relevant cookie laws. Additionally, a transparent approach doesn’t make the customers feel tricked into giving out their data.
The demise of third-party cookies doesn’t have to be a bad thing for marketing teams. This is a change in the market that requires you to adapt to it, but it brings a positive change in the world as a whole.
As soon as you start practicing a data-driven approach that respects users’ preferences, you will be able to get ahead of your competition and adapt to the change that will come with the termination of third-party cookies.
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