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Winning Loyalty Strategies: Earned Data is the Most Important

To replace the retargeting data lost to the demise of third-party cookies, marketers will increasingly rely on data voluntarily shared with them by their customers.


Laura Hewitt

4 Min Read

August 22, 2023

The third-party cookie—that piece of code that allows smartphone apps and websites to track your interactions across the internet—is dying a slow death.


Last year, one platform began blocking cookies, and more will follow suit by the end of 2023. These changes have come due to increasing consumer concern about the safety and security of their online interactions, a concern that has resulted in legislation such as the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the California Consumer Privacy Act. These changes will have a dramatic impact on the estimated $600 billion market for digital advertising. [1]


These changes have also turned the spotlight on the importance of earned data.


Zero-party data such as contact information, preferences, and interests; and first-party data such as interactions with company websites, apps, and social media. To replace the retargeting data lost to the demise of third-party cookies, marketers will increasingly rely on data voluntarily shared with them by their customers.


But consumers are increasingly aware of the value of their personal data. A recent Cisco study, for example, found that 76 percent of consumers surveyed are willing to spend time and money to protect their personal data. [2]


To share zero-and-first-party data willingly, customers will increasingly expect to receive value beyond basic product/service offerings. The dilemma for marketers: How can we deliver the value and personalization required for marketing success in a world without anonymous digital tracking?


The path to Intelligent Offers runs through the data-value exchange.


The obstacles


A world without third-party data tracking means that brands will be forced to choose one of the four marketing futures we outlined in our introduction. If you seek the path of Intelligent Offers—a path of high data control and reciprocal, long-term relationships with your customers—then the obstacles become both immediate and obvious. How do you make the transition from relying solely on digital retargeting and third-party data to collecting and actioning zero- and first-party data? How do you overcome customers’ resistance to sharing personal data with marketers? How do you capture the earned data that mass marketing can’t provide?


The opportunity


Thanks to today’s next-generation loyalty and engagement platforms, the road to Intelligent Offers is now navigable for brands seeking to transition successfully into the post-cookie world. An engaging and frictionless onboarding experience delivers zero-party data in the form of category selection, location tracking, and communication preferences. Hyper-personalized and relevant offers presented through engaging mechanics deliver first-party data in the form of offer response and behavioral parameters.


Customers engaging with these platforms understand the data-value exchange: They volunteer zero- and first-party data in exchange for relevance, personalization, and immediate value. That’s the power of earned data—and brands who navigate this path successfully can enjoy deeper and more profitable relationships with their customers.


To leverage the data-value exchange and navigate the post-cookie future, focus on these core approaches:



Enable an easy and friendly process for your customers to indicate preferences and select reward categories.



Deliver hyper-relevant offers and communications to learn more about your customers while keeping them engaged.



Demonstrate immediate value to your customers by acting swiftly on their volunteered data.


Stay tuned for part three of our Winning Loyalty Series where we focus on dynamic personalization and how it affects the consumer in the marketplace.


Aauthor Name

Laura Hewitt

Laura is a global marketer with 30+ years of experience across virtually every channel/component of driving demand, customer loyalty, and engagement. She is currently Vice President, Marketing for Capillary Technologies. Previously she held similar roles at Tenerity, Kobie, and Aimia. Prior to that she worked in advertising for consumer brands after graduating from Southern Methodist University.

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