What are cookies?
Cookies are small pieces of code on websites that are used to help marketers track consumers’ behavior and interest. Publishers (websites) sell that user data in a marketplace auction. DMPs (Data Management Platforms) are ad tech companies that make a profit by collecting PII (Personal Identifiable Information) from cookies and other data tracking codes.
What do cookies collect?
Some of the data points that are collected are browser info, location-based data, device IDs, search history, IP addresses, and financial information. These are just a few things that you have given permission to sites to collect. I highly recommend that you download the browser extension called Ghostery (click here http://bit.ly/2nGpms6) this extension will provide you with more control over these third-party data trackers.
Now that you have an idea of what DMPs track, it should be more obvious why these data points are so important to advertisers and publishers. Losing the ability to track users across an enormous ecosystem would render marketers useless very quickly. Walled gardens (Google, Facebook, and Amazon) have caused a serious debate over these platforms’ ability and their permission to harness our data. After all, isn’t the idea to connect inventory to users’ data and ultimately follow the consumer journey?
What is happening to cookies?
More and more users are demanding control over their data and how it is used or sold online. Browsers have taken significant steps to eliminate these cookies altogether, making it difficult for users to be tracked or targeted. Safari took an aggressive step to block cookies when ITP (Intelligent Tracking Prevention) was introduced in 2017. It worked to protect privacy by restricting companies’ ability to track users online. Like many in this space, Apple believes that privacy is a human right, and we should have the choice to opt-in or out.
The most notable privacy regulation known as GDPR (General Data Privacy Regulation) is not even a law in the US, yet it has still become the framework for the protection of user data. Many US states are starting to adopt similar regulations. For example, the CCPA (California Consumer Protection Act) goes into law in 2020 and will mimic the GDPR about user data and identity protection.
How can I protect my business?
First, you have to understand that there are so many moving parts to this, but the easiest thing to do is to make sure that your business is GDPR compliant. Regulation around privacy is taking its steps from the EU, so start there. Second, make sure you have easy access to a list of third-party trackers. Third, be sure to store all of the data securely and have the ability to remove any user data at any time.
Wait, how will I be able to track my audience?
It is not all bad news. As more and more regulations on digital privacy begin to merge, it is best to start understanding your targeted audiences. Marketing is all about having a connection with a consumer and making them feel like they have that personal relationship with you.