Cookieless Tracking: Do GDPR & CCPA Apply to B2B Marketing?

Cookieless Tracking: Do GDPR & CCPA Apply to B2B Marketing?

B2B marketing for manufacturing and industry offers many options, including landing pages for manufacturing businesses, content marketing, and pay-per-click. No matter which you choose or combine, each share one thing in common: without data collection, none will be as effective as it could be. But with the regulations around data collection changing and growing ever more restrictive, what’s a business to do? The answer involves a diet of sorts: put down the cookies. Cookieless tracking can help your research stay on the right side of CCPA, GDPR, and customers’ privacy concerns alike.

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Tracking Cookies vs. Cookieless Tracking

Cookies, invented as part of the Netscape browser in the late 1990s, revolutionized advertising and marketing alike. A simple website visit lets the site owner deposit a cookie—a file containing a short bit of text—on your computer. These “first-party cookies” allowed the site owner to customize certain site behaviors to users and to track users’ behavior as they navigated away from the site.

Third-party cookies, placed by advertisers, perform the same tracking functions. These have the benefit of attribution (click-through and other consumer behaviors can be tracked through multiple touchpoints, across devices, and across platforms), but they raise privacy concerns for consumers—and regulators are taking notice.

More on that momentarily. In the meantime, let’s look at cookieless tracking. Rather than depositing a cookie on a user’s machine, cookieless tracking sends much of the same information to a server rather than storing it on the user’s computer. While this won’t solve all your data collection headaches overnight, it certainly helps with legal compliance for your PPC, social media campaigns for manufacturing, and much more.

How GDPR and CCPA Impact Your Tracking Efforts

The shift from cookies to cookieless impacts your marketing on two fronts. The California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) and EU-centered General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR, upon which CCPA is modeled) differ slightly in some of their particulars, but they share enough features in common that we can summarize them together in brief:

  • Consent to data collection
  • Transparency in the data collected and the uses to which it will be put
  • The means to opt out of data collection
  • The expectation that data will be held only for as long as necessary, rather than kept indefinitely
  • Access to the data collected upon request—including the sources from which it was obtained and any third parties with whom it was shared
  • The right to have one’s data deleted except where its retention is required by law (including but not limited to HIPAA or Sarbanes-Oxley compliance)
  • Protection from discrimination (i.e., denial of service, higher pricing) if one exercises these rights
  • The GDPR further stipulates that personal data must be portable, that the public must be notified in the event of a security or data breach, and that larger companies must retain data protection officers

How Cookieless Tracking Impacts B2B Marketing

Faced with more stringent regulations and customer retention concerns, tech companies are tackling cookies head on . While first-party cookies remain on the table—they are, after all, often vital to how sites function—many browsers and apps are doing away with third-party cookie capabilities altogether (i.e., Brave, Firefox, Apple’s Safari , and apps) or have announced a timetable for doing so (Google). So, getting on board with cookieless tracking is imperative from a purely business standpoint regardless of how you feel about the legalities.

With that being said, the overall impact is a net positive. If a user turns on ad blocking or blocks third-party cookies, cookieless tracking still works. What’s more, cookieless tracking is more secure (there’s less chance of fraud), it’s no less accurate than using tracking cookies, and its attribution is just as accurate across multiple devices.

What B2B Marketers Can Do to Stay Compliant and Collect Quality Data

The regulatory landscape poses challenges. However, quality data collection is at the core of any effective marketing strategy, so it isn’t as though manufacturing businesses have the luxury of ignoring—or fudging—those metrics.

There’s still time before Google puts third-party cookies under wraps, so it’s in your best interest to embrace the new technology while you have the time and luxury of getting acquainted. This involves not only cookieless tracking but also contextual advertising, as well as understanding and finding new ways to leverage the data collected by your first-party cookies.

Questions? Get in Touch with the Rockford B2B Marketing Pros!

Like your business, your marketing requires a degree of agility. When you need to pivot or to adapt quickly, it can help to consult with someone who knows the lay of the land. Cain & Company is here to help you chart a new course, starting with a free B2B marketing consultation. Get in touch today!

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