Marketers cannot afford to be out of touch. Learn how consumers feel about cookie tracking, third-party data, and personalization.

Marketers need to keep their finger on the pulse of consumer opinion to avoid alienating their audience with unfavorable tactics. There’s one heartbeat that’s impossible to ignore: Consumers are fed up with brands who use cookies and third-party data to feed their personalization strategy.

But who can blame them — being marketed to with data you never explicitly shared with a brand is unsettling. These tactics ignite questions that don’t have pretty answers: When was this data collected? Where was it collected? Who collected it? And how did this brand obtain it?

No one wants to feel like they are being watched and stalked across the internet. Modern consumers are over it:


of consumers state ads based on location data are creepy


of consumers state retargeting ads derived from third-party cookie tracking are creepy


of consumers state ads related to something they talked about near a smart device are creepy


of consumers felt frustration when they received messaging based on information they hadn’t shared directly with the brand

Not only are consumers over having their data collected and sold without their knowledge, they are taking action to protect their data and prevent this from happening:


of consumers are using ad blocking tech


of consumers are using privacy mode on a pre-installed browser


of consumers pay to use privacy software


of consumers have transitioned away from behemoth browsers in favor of privacy-centric browsers

However, this is not a green light for brands to abandon their personalization efforts. With more competition than ever, brands need to cut through the ruckus to effectively reach their audience lest they get muddled in with the background noise.

Despite these rising concerns about personal data collection and privacy, consumers do not want brands to treat them like a stranger:


of consumers felt frustration when they received irrelevant content or offers


of consumers felt frustration when they received messaging that didn’t recognize their shopping or loyalty history


of consumers felt frustration from messaging that doesn’t reflect their wants and needs

Consumers crave personalization as much as they desire privacy, which means this is a ripe opportunity, not an obstacle. Consumers love brands who can personalize their experiences in transparent, ethical ways:


of consumers state recommendations based on past purchases are cool


of consumers state personalized offers after staying on a brand’s site for 2+ minutes are cool


of consumers think an email reminder or advert about an abandoned shopping cart is cool

Beyond this, consumers are willing to voluntarily share their personal data, preference data, and more in order to receive unique, personalized experiences:


of consumers will share their hobbies in return for a better service


of consumers will share their gender for a better service


of consumers will share their date of birth for better service

Now is the time for brands to collect zero- and first-party data in order to deliver better, personalized experiences to their customers. Just because consumers are prioritizing their privacy more than ever before does not mean consumers have stopped wanting individualized experiences. This is an opportunity for brands to deliver personalized, data-driven experiences while building trust through ethical data collection and activation.

To see how leading brands gather first and zero-party data at scale, check out The Complete Guide to Zero-Party Data.

Download the Guide