Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Tips to plan for a Future without Cookie Tracking

From a digital practitioner point of view “do not track” is the least of my worries but future news about Microsoft and Google pursuing cookie-less tracking capabilities indicates to me that education on how digital information is collected and shared will become even more significant in the near future.
Rather than panicking, there is a lot we can do today to enact guiding principles that will likely ease a change into tighter privacy controls in the future.


One of the main problems facing digital marketing and analytics practitioners will be education. The industry has evolved so quickly that much of the technology that we rely on every day is likely taken for decided.

Personalization is one such area that relies on tracking, profiling, and delivering a lot of information about visitor preferences and behavior, which many of us likely take for decided.
One might fight that personalization is a byproduct of contextual advertising, and without underlying tracking technologies, wouldn't be possible to deliver.

Teasing apart a key delivery machine such as a session or persistent cookie will be very challenging, but explaining the significance of cookies and their usage to visitors and customers even more so.

What can you do to get ready?

1. Ensure your privacy policy is up to date and fully clear.
2. Explain what tracking technologies are used .
3. What cookies are working and for what reason.


It’s probably safe to say that aside from a few exact highly-regulated industries and regions, most digital marketing practitioners don’t spent too much time or due industry in reviewing data usage models with third-party vendors and their technology.
Regulators focus both on collection and usage of data in these scenarios, mainly when third parties are involved because in many cases, these partners assume ownership of the data collected on your digital properties. This is the same reason why many browsers repeatedly block third-party cookies, to ensure data collection services and the usage of guest information are being entrusted to the right recipients.

What can you do to get ready?

4. Explain how data collected is used.
5. Explain how disabling functionality may affect user experience or functionality.
6. Ensure correlating verbiage between your privacy policy and suitable use policy are complementary.


In my view, this is where most of the opportunity is for much of North America. Very few companies really gather consent in a clear and concise manner.
To be brutally honest, most of us think that relying on a single line radio box at the bottom of a registration page, with a link to a hundred page disclosure is suitable. From a legal standpoint, it probably will cover you from any proceedings, but from a customer experience perspective, hundreds of pages of disclosure tend to make the average Joe either uninterested or a little paranoid.

What can you do to prepare?

7. Civilize your terms and conditions. Less legalese and more transparency.
8. Divide your service level agreement and delivery conditions from your data consent.
9. begin ways visitors and customers can opt-into and out of technology that enables digital marketing and personalization quickly and easily.


Think about the steps you can take today to inspire a greater confidence in your digital business and marketing hard work today. Sometimes little things go a long way to earn the value and trust of visitors and customers, making the impact of future technology tracking capabilities or narrow guidelines easier to transition into.

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