Content Summary

How Data Privacy is Shaping the Future of Marketing

Are you confident about understanding data privacy and how it influences your business's marketing strategy? It’s important you understand. The world of marketing data is ever-evolving, and with ongoing changes concerning online privacy, you might be left scratching your head about what that means for your business and your strategy. On today’s podcast, we'll take you through the labyrinth of online privacy and cookies, their role in marketing, and the concerns they raise. We'll then explore how online privacy policy changes can impact your marketing approach and I’ll give you some insight into strategies to thrive in a seemingly cookie-less world.
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Listen to the podcast or read the edited, short transcript below:

Data and privacy are always big concerns when it comes to modern-day marketing – however, how much do you understand about this space and how it can affect your marketing strategy?

If I were to tell you about Cookies – concerning your marketing, what would be the first thing you think of? 

Chances are it wouldn’t be about data and privacy.

So when Google announced changes around the use of cookies, I’m sure you’ll have no idea how this affects your business and what type of impact it has on your current strategy.

First up, what even are Cookies?

So this begs the question of what cookies even are in the first place.

The most common types of cookies are first-party cookies and third-party cookies.

So let’s have a bit of a think about how this works in an everyday scenario.

Starting with first-party cookies.

Let’s say you own a physical store you know you have regular customers who come often, and then over time, what you do as the business owner is you learn about their preferences, so essentially, when they walk into your store, you might get them by name, or show them the items that you know that they are going to like.  

So compare that concept to when someone visits your website or online store.

Cookies are like those little notes that your website makes to remember who your visitors are. These notes are saved on your visitor’s computer in a text file called a ‘cookie’.

First-party cookies remember information about a user’s visit and make the user’s experience smoother and more personalised the next time they come to your website.

Next up, third-party cookies.

So with this, say you had a customer leave your business, and then you employed someone to follow that person around to see what other stores they visit, what items they look at, and what the customer talked about with other people. 

This ‘employee’ then reports that data about that customer back to your business.

This will give you a whole heap of information about your customer’s interests but it also feels pretty intrusive and that’s where the issue comes in.


Essentially what third-party cookies set out to do, they are created by other websites (not yours) and track a user’s behaviour across different sites. 

This information is often used to show ads that are tailored to the user’s interests.

How are cookies helpful to businesses?

Look, as a business owner and marketer, Cookies can be beneficial.

It’s useful data about your customer and what they are doing online, and then, in turn, when used effectively, can then help us tailor a better experience for our customers on our websites.

However, Third-party party cookies can also be seen as invasive to privacy and they’re actually becoming less and less popular, hence why some companies like Google are phasing them out.

In the past, Apple has also shown massive movements to protect user data and privacy by blocking third-party cookies across their Safari browser.

It’s all part of a broader movement towards more privacy-focused online experiences.

So what do Marketers do in a Cookie-less world?

Google and the other big tech giants are coming up with solutions and how we can still get helpful information about our website users and customers without interfering with their privacy and sharing data they aren’t aware of.

Google Signals is a good example of this.

Google Signals uses your Google account and the data from users who have turned on a feature called ‘Ad Personalisation’. 

As a user, you can turn this on or off.

This data includes your interactions with various Google services and browsing behaviour on websites and apps that are part of the Google advertising network, estimated to reach around 90% of internet users worldwide.

However, you have the choice to allow this data.

How does Google Signals work?

Imagine a customer visits your business on Monday using their smartphone and then returns on Wednesday on their desktop. 

Normally, you might think these are two different customers. However, Google Signals tells you it’s the same person. 

Think of it like a friendly guide for your business, recognising the customer whether they wear glasses, a hat, or any disguise. 

This information is useful because you can understand how customers interact with your business across different devices.

Google Signals also allows you to show ads or messages to people who have visited your online store before, reminding them of what they were interested in.


Let’s say a customer looks at your product but decides not to buy it. Later, while browsing, they see a banner ad about that product. 

This reminds them to go back to your business and buy it. 

It also helps with your reports. Learn what sections customers visit, what products they look at, and how long they stay. 

So it’s still a lot of available data – as it’s classified as first-party data, all on the Google network of products. However, it’s designed to respect user privacy and provide aggregated and normalised data.   

So what data SHOULD we rely on?

Don’t build your ship on rented land.

I’ve said this on so many different podcasts in the past, and that holds here as well. We don’t want to build our business and data on rented land.

If Google changes the playbook again – what happens to your business?

This is where traditional marketing skills and having a conventional marketing strategy are among the best and safest bets for your overall marketing strategy. 

We need to find the halfway point behind the data we have and then combine some of the old marketing tactics that we’ve known and used for years and years. 

This includes knowing your customers by doing proper customer research,  understanding your customer’s interests and behaviours yourself without purely using data and using that to fuel your creative and your ad campaigns to attract more of them.

Marketing is still (and even more so now) about people, not just data.

It’s like we’re going full circle and need to adopt or re-adopt and refocus some of those “older” marketing strategies to enhance what we have and the data available to us now.

The key takeaway

Here’s what you need to think about.

Don’t get lost in irrelevant data and noise, and diversify your data and sources. How can you research and build data about your customers that don’t always rely on their online behaviour?

  • Customer research – and know how they are.
  • Build a community, and use email to reach them (as long as they have consented)
  • Invest in a CRM to allow you to keep notes about your customers and give them the best service possible.
  • Focus on building a strong brand and community so people come to you directly instead of always just through your targeted ads.
  • Then create the content that resonates best with your audience.

There’s a lot of noise online; however, if we can combine the use of consented data alongside your knowledge of your customer and business and using content that resonates with them – you’ll thrive in this cookie-less world.

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