As Apple cracks down on tracking its users, we are moving toward a cookie-less world.
With Apple’s recent IDFA changes, similar changes rumored to be coming to the Google Play Store, and more stringent privacy regulations that give consumers the power to control their data, third-party data like cookies is becoming a less reliable method to reach people. At the same time, the pressure to deliver outstanding, personalized customer experiences has never been greater. That means brands need to take capitalize on their first-party data in order to gain a competitive advantage to reach customers in a cookie-less world.
First, let’s review a few terms. First-party data is data that your company collect first-hand. This could be via website registration, email marketing tracking, or your own tracking on social media. Third-party data is information that your company may purchase from a third party. For instance, your advertising team may pay a third-party to purchase a list of contacts that a company deems to be highly likely to purchase your product based on the behaviors that they track online. You can’t personally verify how the information was gathered, whether it’s accurate, or even if it was gathered ethically. But for some companies — especially smaller companies with limited capacity to track or gather data personally — it may provide some valuable insights.
Apple’s recent IDFA change stands to change all of that. Apple’s iOS 14 will prompt users to actively opt in or out of sharing their Identifier for Advertisers (IDFA), a unique profile that helps companies understand how well their advertising is working with consumers by sharing their data with third parties. Consumers can also see what information like activity, birthday, email or other identifiers are shared. It’s anticipated that the number of users allowing their IDFA to be shared will drop from 70% to 10 to 15% due to the change. For companies like Facebook, which make a lot of money selling third-party data, this is not a welcome change.