12 min read

Cookie-fatigue is real, zero-party data is the way forward

Jack Wearne
Jack Wearne
Cookie-fatigue is real, zero-party data is the way forward

Third party cookie pop-ups have long disrupted the online experience and in many instances forced consumers to accept privacy invasions they wouldn’t usually. Retailers know this. Third-party data has long been a necessary evil for them to glean insights and target customers. But at what cost?

Earlier this month, the UK’s Information Commissioner said it was going to ask the G7 to join forces against cookie pop-ups online. Elisabeth Denhem argued that “cookie fatigue” is leading to people giving away more personal data than they would like. This is why the UK Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) is pitching a “vision for the future” where web browsers allow people to set lasting privacy preferences, rather than having to do it through pop-ups every time they visit a website. Wouldn’t that be great?

Over the past few years, the data protection requirements put in place by regulators, and enhanced by browser providers like Google Chrome, have forced many brands to completely rethink their acquisition and usage of customer data. The root of this shift doesn’t lie with the regulators – it’s all about the consumer.

Salesforce found that nearly 48% of customers actively avoid certain brands because of data privacy concerns, and 63% feel companies aren’t transparent enough about how customer data is being used. That said, Accenture found that 87% of customers still want to purchase from brands and retailers that “understand the real me”. This means that privacy and personalisation cannot be mutually exclusive. Retailers must acquire and apply individual customer preferences to individual customer experiences without sacrificing trust or transparency.

At first glance, the move away from third-party cookies and their associated pop-ups could be seen as restrictive, but it represents an opportunity for retailers to build a relationship with their customers based on trust and transparency.

This is where zero-party data comes in. Zero-party data is data collected through an onsite assistant, survey, chatbot or other medium, which brands can use to understand a customer’s expectations and preferences in a single visit. Consumers can communicate freely, intentionally, and importantly, with their consent. Zero-party data is fast proving to be the only way to walk the tightrope between delivering personalised customer experience while respecting privacy regulations.

The benefits don’t just stop at the consumer. With zero-party data, the quality and accuracy of data is much higher compared to other forms of data collection, as it’s not based on assumption. Taking insight straight from the horse’s mouth means brands can build a more precise understanding of their customer base and deliver a truly personalised experience. By building stronger relationships with customers, brands are set to gain a competitive advantage over brands that rely on outdated data strategies.

Third-party cookies are on their death bed and it’s time for retailers to change tack. Zero-party data is the only credible alternative that offers personalisation, while respecting consumers’ privacy concerns. Whether they like it or not, we’re headed towards a cookie-less future – it’s time to embrace it and preparing for the change.

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