Almost everyone can agree that a freshly baked cookie’s buttery, sweet, and sometimes chocolatey aroma is intoxicating. In marketing, fresh “cookies” can be equally as satisfying, if not more, for your law firm’s prospect of attracting new clients.
As security concerns over how companies access a user’s data increase each day, the implementation of “cookies” and their purpose have drastically changed. Tech giants like Apple already restrict third-party cookies on their apps and devices in favor of first-party cookies, allowing users to choose what personal data they consent to share. In 2023, Google will follow suit.
What’s the difference between a first- and third-party cookie, and how will it affect your law firm? Let’s dive into the kitchen and look at our ingredients before checking out some recipes.
What’s in the Cupboard?
The flavor of a “cookie” may change. Still, its function on the internet is universal: domains use them to garner information about a user to influence their web experience and, more importantly, a company’s marketing decisions. Traditionally, when someone visits a web page, its owner installs and saves a “cookie” on their computer in the data cache. The “cookie” is a piece of code that serves as a post-it note full of users’ interests and browsing habits. This information resource is the crux of how marketers precisely target ads, and it’s vanishing soon.
A third-party cookie manifests ads specific to your internet activity to appear on other websites. For example, you googled “sofa” multiple times and saw a barrage of advertisements everywhere you browsed afterward; this is a third-party cookie at work. Perhaps you accidentally clicked on an ad for a unicycle, then were inundated with sale offers for everything containing a wheel. Third-party cookies strike again. On more than one occasion, every one of us has gawked at that level of precision in horror, so third-party cookies potentially come with a price: user privacy and trust. Unless you block them in your browser, this will happen repeatedly.
First-party cookies are similar to third-party cookies but make your browsing experience more secure on websites. When a website owner leaves the first-person cookie on your computer, it is exclusive to that lone domain, kept private, and done with the user’s consent. If a website asks you to “accept cookies” when the page loads, this is an example of a first-party cookie. Isn’t it better to offer information than to have it snatched from under your nose when you least expect it? With first-party cookies, it’s a requirement to ask for permission rather than forgiveness, and the user chooses whether or not to place their trust in your hands.
First-party cookies can also track a user for a more extended period, allowing for a more comprehensive data set to glean impressions about what might interest potential clients.
This Cookie Tastes Funny to Me
Companies have relied on third-party cookies for years because they can access the information from the “crumbs” of a “cookie” left by another website. Any domain can access a third-party cookie left by another domain, but not every website that does has good intentions. The inability to police this can compromise a user’s security. It doesn’t mean you’re being nefarious by utilizing this tool. Your law firm can benefit from the marketing efforts of another entity and hitch a ride on their information train without breaking trust. However, the bad apples spoiled it for the bunch by collecting, organizing, and selling the data within the “cookies” to anyone willing to pay for it.
Silicon Valley took notice, listened to the consumer, and enacted changes to their stance on “cookies” that will force you to rethink how you market your law firm. Again, third-party cookies will be history, and the future lies in first-party cookies’ creative implementation and impact. Acquiring the same specific data from a third-party cookie using a first-party cookie is already a challenge that marketers must overcome quickly.
How to Incorporate First-Party into Your “Cookie” Dough…
The butter and sugar were creamed. We added the dry ingredients. Now it’s time to talk about the different flavor profiles of a first-party cookie. As time persists, more applications will arise to use first-party cookies, and you may conceive new ways within your marketing endeavors. We’ll use LinkedIn as an example in this recipe since they’re like the Levain Bakery of marketing to most law firms.
In the past, LinkedIn relied on the data within a third-party cookie to target ads on behalf of their clients. If you asked LinkedIn to only target ads to clients who have visited your website or some other qualifier, this was a “no-brainer,” and the chances of acquiring new business may have increased. Moving forward, this “no brainer” has evolved into a “no-no,” and LinkedIn has changed the way they help you reach new clients.
One of the many ways LinkedIn adapts to this change is through its “Insight Tag.” This unique identifier is placed in their ads and posts, leaving a first-party cookie on the user’s computer with their consent. They encourage marketers to enable this feature in every ad and post because the user’s consent opens the door to benefit from the positive aspects of a third-party cookie once again. The user’s trust is preserved. When it comes to hiring a law firm, trust is often the only thing on a client’s mind, and no one wants to present themselves as half-baked.
The importance of maintaining user privacy is forcing a change in the regulation of “cookies” – a piece of code that the owner of a website places in your computer’s data cache that documents aspects of your online browsing tendencies. Tech giants like Apple and Google set an example for others to follow by forbidding third-party cookies on their devices and apps. Industry professionals agree with consumers that unlimited access to a third-party cookie can compromise users’ privacy by offering more information about their habits and preferences than they are comfortable sharing publicly. The solution to this ban is the creation of a first-party cookie that customizes the user experience and keeps the information private. When a company wishes to target a specific audience, the first-party cookie accomplishes this unintrusive to the user. Your firm reaches potential clients while earning and maintaining their trust.
We assist clients in navigating the perils of data collection, interpretation, and implementation when it comes to digital marketing. Don’t hesitate to reach out today to learn more about how we can support your firm in the ever-changing online forum.