Written by Sara Moulton 29 January 2020
Have you ever seen a display ad seconds after you were talking about a product?
The amount of ‘listening’ has gotten so in tune with us that it’s almost as if search engines are reading our minds. What is likely meant to be helpful and ‘nudging’ has started to feel pushy and invasive.
Advertising is everywhere nowadays, and cookies represent this new normal. We accept this. However, to me, cookies are another example of ‘push’ advertising where I passively engage with a brand. It’s something I have to look at, and in more frustrating scenarios, it’s something that is difficult to click away from.
Even the phrase that’s used by marketers— ‘Drop a cookie’ —sounds harmless, but these cookies follow our online habits and build profiles based on that. The profiles are then shared with other businesses that want to better target us.
At LeadFamly, we’re also in the marketing and technology business. We help our customers gather permissions and learn about their audience. However, we don’t do this and then turn around and sell that information. Our platform also enables our customers to gather information in a more transparent way. For example, a recent campaign run by a Danish sporting goods store had a registration field that asked about whether the player had children, what zip code they lived in, and which store was the one they visited most. The players filled in this information before playing the game.
Recently Google announced that it will change how it protects its Chrome users. With almost ⅔ (64%) of browsers browsing with Chrome, there’s a lot of power in this. Google recognizes that users want more control, which includes transparency, choice, and control over how their data is used. Marketers know that a big shift is coming.
Businesses, especially those that earn revenue from sales based on data from cookies, will need to adjust. They will need to find new ways to gather information in order to advertise. This may include anonymous tracking for marketers, which seems to be a popular idea in other articles published about the update to Chrome. In the announcement Google made, their Director of Chrome Engineering, Justin Schuh, explained that this change is partly driven by what user want: “Users are demanding greater privacy — including transparency, choice and control over how their data is used — and it’s clear the web ecosystem needs to evolve to meet these increasing demands.”
Given how data is currently used and unfortunately sometimes exploited, we need to care about our privacy. It’s something that as consumers, we’ve always wanted. Privacy is also something we’ve given up without always knowing what we are really sharing. Companies have been quite literally caught with their hand in the cookie jar.