01 Mar 2024

Cookies, data privacy and associations - what's new in 2024

In recent years there have been significant changes in the way that web users' data is tracked, stored and handled. Why have these changes happened, what is coming up and how will it affect membership associations?

How has data privacy changed for organisations?

Stricter privacy laws like the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) have transformed the way that organisations handle user data. Third-party cookies, which track people across different websites, have been given greater scrutiny due to their potential privacy risks and the lack of control that users have over their information.

How have big tech companies responded?

Leading web browsers including Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox & Safari have implemented changes that restrict cross-site tracking using third-party cookies. Google Analytics 4, which replaced Universal Analytics last year has also been designed with user privacy in mind.

Why is this important for associations and their members?

With third-party data collection and cookies being phased out and enhanced privacy settings being introduced, associations will need to resort to collecting first-party data instead and have to do so in an efficient, secure manner. 2024 has been dubbed the “Cookiepocolapyse”!

Google Analytics 4 uses a mix of first-party data and machine-learning technology to deliver deep insights into users’ behaviour while protecting their privacy.  It tracks specific user interactions such as clicks, video views and downloads, rather than focusing on page views. This provides associations with a more accurate and privacy-compliant view of their audience.

Associations should be considering options around utilising first-party data and ensuring they have consent for the information they hold about their users. This will ensure that they get better insights into member (and non-member) behaviour while remaining privacy-compliant.