In order to collect sufficient data to target customers online, brands have relied for years on cookies, created by third-party technology companies.

However, what started as a convenient way for brands to get to know their customers and serve them relevant content has led to data scandals, growing concern from regulators and distrust from consumers. As a result, Google are phasing out third-party cookies, retiring them completely by the end of 2022 and brands will no longer have access to much of the data that they have used up to now to curate personalised customer journeys.

This kind of seismic change is an opportunity for brands to adapt to new ways of using data with integrity and show consumers that they are on their side. To discuss how brands might capitalise on this, The Experience Makers gathered a panel of experts to discuss what ‘data with integrity’ means and explore how technology can help brands offer more tailored experiences in the future .

Tune into the episode now to hear from Wunderman Thompson Data’s Head of Business Consulting, Olivia Hawkins; Wavemaker's Head of Precision, Tarik Windle and Carsten Hyldahl, Director of AI & Identity at Wunderman Thompson MAP (Marketing automation & personalisation) in what was a fascinating conversation.

Just in case we need to whet your appetite further, here’s a sneak peak at what was discussed.

Why have cookies earned such a bad reputation?

Third-party cookies help brands and companies keep track of website visitors and discover more about the person behind the browser. They allow them to create a dialogue from page to page on a website to create better experiences online.

This worked well when the transaction took place between consumers and trusted brands. But, over the years, data companies began to use cookie synching to collect this data behind the scenes without the consumer knowing or consenting. It’s this behaviour that has led to the concerns and conversations that are now taking place now around privacy.

As a result, the industry is going to experience fundamental changes to the way marketers connect to consumers today and if brands don’t stay ahead of these changes, they’re going to lose out.

How brands use third-party data

Brands take different approaches to targeting individuals and these approaches can vary in terms of sophistication and complexity. At its simplest, brands can bucket consumers simply by gender or by looking at different areas of a website that they have visited. At the other end of the scale brands that are more digitally mature might bucket consumers by the product that they have been looking at, or, even by different variables, such as the colour of that product, and begin to tell a personalised story with sequential messages.

The marketing industry, has done so much to change the perspective of marketing and think from the consumer perspective. However, there is an assumption that everybody is happy with the same approach. The issue being debated today is how invasive that has become and whether the data that is being used to create these journeys has been consented to.

The opportunity for brands in a cookieless world

This is an opportunity for organisations to rethink. There has been lots of excitement in the past around collecting ‘big’ data, but many brands haven’t been particularly sophisticated in the way they are using it. This change represents an opportunity for brands to be more thoughtful and precise about their use of data. The privacy story is well trodden now, but a new conversation is emerging around the environmental impact of data. Data use equals energy consumption which has a big impact on our environment.

Where companies perhaps used to think about how much data they could collect, the ethical approach would be to actually look at data minimisation and really consider the impact of data collection and usage.

Companies need to be thinking about responsible data use in terms of data minimisation & the purposeful use of data whilst still considering the impact on the environment and people’s privacy.

Olivia Hawkins

Head of Business Consulting, Wunderman Thompson Data

This bumper episode of The Experience Makers explores the impact that the retirement of third-party cookies will have across the industry and covers:

  • Consent and the value exchange
  • Targeting: the increased importance of first and second-party data
  • Measurement and reporting: how will the industry adapt to new solutions?
  • The opportunity for change and innovation
  • Beyond the cookie opt out
  • The open data movement
  • Data strategy and responsibility
With lots of change comes opportunity and opportunity gives you a chance to succeed versus your competitors. If you manage things in the right way with the right support, you can take that opportunity and make sure you're best prepared.

Tarik Windle

Head of Precision, Wakemaker

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