Google’s Vision of the Privacy-First Web and What It Means to Marketers

Google's vision of privacy first web

Data privacy and security have become pressing issues– and discussion reached a crescendo when Google announced on March 3rd that they were getting ready to ban cookies. This isn’t surprising, as Safari and Firefox had already phased out third-party cookies. Since Google owns over 64% of the web-browser market, this move will have a massive cascading effect. 

Here’s what Google says about the move and what it means for the future:

“It’s difficult to conceive of the internet we know today — with information on every topic, in every language, at the fingertips of billions of people — without advertising as its economic foundation. But as our industry has strived to deliver relevant ads to consumers across the web, it has created a proliferation of individual user data across thousands of companies, typically gathered through third-party cookies. This has led to an erosion of trust: In fact, 72% of people feel that almost all of what they do online is being tracked by advertisers, technology firms, or other companies, and 81% say that the potential risks they face because of data collection outweigh the benefits, according to a study by Pew Research Center. If digital advertising doesn’t evolve to address the growing concerns people have about their privacy and how their identity is being used, we risk the future of the free and open web.”

That’s the conviction from which Google’s Vision of a privacy-first web experience seems to have emerged.

Third-party cookies have been a boon for marketers as they collect user data that helps them track users, understand their behaviors and wider interests, and then target ads to them. It helps in delivering the appropriate ad to someone interested in or looking for that particular product. Sounds harmless, right? Yet, consumers fear that their data is being stored without consent and used for purposes unknown to them. This has become a significant privacy concern.

What Does The Change Mean for Digital Marketers?

This has a wide range of implications for digital marketers. This is what will happen:

  1. Tougher to Create Personalized Content

Digital marketers will find it tougher to create content that’s been tailor-made to their users’ preferences. In the past, users would interact with online platforms without external forces influencing their choices and movements. This means their actions would be genuine and a true reflection of their likes and dislikes. As this information will no longer be available, marketers will have to rely on other data to inform their marketing decisions. This also means that marketers won’t be able to measure the success of their campaign’s performance effectively.

  1. More Time and Effort Will Go into Building New Systems

This will call for new systems to be created to collect information. That will require research, investment, and experimentation. Advertisers will have to invest in managing their first-party data efficiently while extracting maximum value from it. A change like this may prove to be an expensive course correction for brands, primarily if they rely heavily on digital marketing efforts to reach out to customers. That’s just how the cookie crumbles, so to say. 

However, digital marketing agencies may be more equipped to make this transition, as many of them anticipated this change. Google itself will start using a new method of data collection called FLoCs. This is a kind of cohort-based tracking that would be privacy safe while allowing advertisers to track the effectiveness of their campaigns. This will be done while retaining information that matters to advertisers. This will include data such as their consumers’ interests, but it will be less personalized and more at a “crowd” level. This implies other browsers and platforms will also be announcing new updates in the coming months.

  1. Everyone Will Shift to First-Party Data

The biggest challenge is that marketers will have to shift to first-party data to power their campaigns. This means they will have to consider data through a new lens. First-party data, unlike third-party data, is information that the respondent consciously provides to a website, mobile app, or any other online or offline touchpoint. Many times, as the conscious mind is at work, the answers differ from what they would have been if the information was provided via a third-party cookie. This means that marketers will have to study data differently and get to know the respondents on a more personal level. Doing business with entities specializing in collecting, mobilizing & activating first-party data will become a norm. 

  1. Digital Consumer Relationships Will Change

These new developments mean that genuine value exchange will become extremely important in the future. Brands will have to build authentic relationships with their target audience, resulting in the kind of customer experience that will drive creating first-party data. Brands will have to make strong identities centered on their purpose to encourage people to share their information with them. They must utilize contextual targeting on specifically chosen digital platforms more than ever to become magnets for users.

These changes mean that brands will have to put in extra efforts to stay afloat in the world of digital marketing. Luckily, agencies have started planning for exactly this event. Ever since Facebook’s iconic trial related to user data, digital marketing professionals have been pooling their knowledge and expertise to find ways to ensure smooth transitions from third-party to first-party data. In a way, this is an exciting time for marketers to take this opportunity and build real, genuine relationships with the public while creating newer ways to learn more about their audience. That’s also where solutions like Aroscop find themselves better equipped to help brands maintain their momentum at times like this.