Data Privacy – What Do Consumers Really Care About?

It’s official, the third-party cookie is crumbling. But it’s not all bad news. Here’s how to follow the data crumb trail to digital marketing pastures new…

Increases in consumer privacy following changes made by Google and Apple limit the ways in which marketers can access and use information. The decline of third-party data collection poses challenges that could be viewed as a major pain point, or, for those who embrace change, as an opportunity to innovate and adapt.

Let’s talk about feelings 🥺

Feelings can be complicated, fickle things, and surely best kept out of all things business, right? Wrong.

Consumers want their feelings to be listened to and acted upon, and they care about their digital privacy. 

By now, consumers know more than ever before about how their data is collected, stored and used. As a result, they crave control. However, most still want to be shown products and offers that suit them at the right time and digital ‘place’. In fact, 91% of consumers want to purchase products from brands that offer some degree of personalisation. 

Moving forward, brands should prioritise building trust with their unique audience, reconciling their combined desires and fears surrounding privacy.

Picking up the pieces 🍪

Consumer scepticism towards cookies is at an all-time high, and I’m not talking about whether those “chocolate chips” are actually raisins…

The era of feeling like web pages are watching your every online move is coming to an end. The industry is being forced to seek out other, better ways of collecting consumer data. 

This means ditching lazy background collection methods that can yield irrelevant results, paving the way for a major efficiency boost. 

Marketers must move out of the digital shadows and establish a dialogue with consumers, understanding their specific interests and objectives.

If you show me yours, I’ll show you mine… 👀

In the past, desires for both consumer data control and personalised ads seemed at odds with each other, but not anymore.

The key is surprisingly simple: just ask.

Research shows that consumers are generally open to sharing their information, as long as they see a tangible benefit in return. This highlights the importance of transparency and open conversations between brand and consumer.

Consumers desire ongoing connection with the brands that offer the products/services they prefer. An opportunity for a symbiotic relationship therefore arises. Collaborative efforts, exchanging consumer data for incentives, will drive purchasing power.

The third-party data-free cyber landscape opens up opportunities for understanding beyond clicking and scrolling patterns. If we give the consumer a little bit of trust, they’ll give us theirs in return.

The new data on the block ⚡️

First-party and zero-party data are the key. They ultimately put purchasing power back into the consumer’s hands, granting them a greater degree of influence over the ads they’re exposed to. 

First-party data

First-party data is information a company collects directly from its customers, with their permission and active participation. It’s generally required to some degree in order to interact with a brand’s service or make a purchase. Collection point examples include: 

  • Websites – data can be collected through purchases, email list sign-ups, AI messaging services, and more. Encouraging users to have an account to log into helps bypass restrictions on first-party data collection on mobile device website access.
  • Mobile apps – app users are a very warm audience, with a lot of potential for brand loyalty. They made the effort to download the app, showing high purchase intent.
  • Email – email sign-ups give you access to open rates, CTR, bounce rates, all the good old stuff. Email also allows for the distribution of competitions and incentivised surveys or quizzes that collect zero-party data (see below). This allows for the segmentation of your audience and appropriately tailored marketing efforts.

Because first-party data is based on genuine interactions with your brand, by real people, it’s an ideal foundation for building customer understanding. This is much more accurate and reliable than using the information of lookalike audiences that may be out of date. 

There’s a mutual understanding involved in first-party data collection. “I trust you with my data, you improve the service you offer me.”

If explained properly to the consumer at the point of collection, first-party data bypasses the fear of putting one’s information into untrustworthy hands. This makes way for a long-term direct data-sharing relationship to develop between consumer and brand.

Zero-party data

Zero-party data is optional information that the consumer provides to a company, with the motivation of improving their user experience. It can be interactive, incentivised and fun, providing an integrated opportunity for brand-building through quizzes, social media polls and games. One example is IKEA’s interactive Pinterest catalogue.

Compared to other types, zero-party data is: 

  • Qualitative and accurate, passed straight from the source.
  • Relevant and opinion-based, demonstrating consumer preferences.
  • Budget-friendly and accessible.
  • Transparent, with secure collection methods, handing control to the consumer.
  • It allows for more meaningful engagement by opening up a dialogue with the consumer.
  • It’s personalised without the sneaky tone, providing more of a friendly face than cookies, which have gained a bad reputation for their sneaky undercover nature. 
  • It has the potential to close the attribution loop. By understanding how every point in the customer journey impacts conversion, we’re provided with a more accurate picture of what works and where to allocate budget in response.

They should really rename it ‘all-the-party-data’ 🤪

By integrating first and zero-party consumer data from multiple touchpoints, marketers can address the entire buying journey to improve overall marketing performance.

First and zero-party data are the most accurate, relevant, and intelligent sources of consumer info (a real triple threat).

Conclusions

According to Google:

To build customer confidence, brands should be focused on exceeding expectations rather than just meeting legal requirements for data handling. Brands that surpass expectations will likely gain a competitive advantage over those that consider privacy an afterthought. Brands that don’t give privacy the attention it deserves risk losing the trust and respect of their customers.” 

The perceived conflict between privacy and performance that has arisen in the data age doesn’t have to exist anymore. Consumer preferences and advertisers’ effectiveness no longer have to be at odds with each other. When conducted transparently, data collection can respect the privacy choices of consumers, while still delivering value.

It’s certainly food for thought (cookie alternative anyone?).

If you’re interested in how a better relationship with your consumers’ info could benefit your digital marketing strategy, get in touch! We offer services in Paid Social and PPC advertising, Web Development, Email Marketing and more, all essential ways you can put the power of data to work for your brand.