Online advertising and data privacy are undergoing major changes this year. Third-party cookies — used to track users’ online activity and personalize ads — are being phased out due to privacy concerns. Browsers like Chrome and Firefox lead the charge, making traditional ad targeting harder.
This seismic shift in the online world of targeted marketing is still evolving, but its impact on advertising and browsing experience will surely be significant. If you still rely on third-party data for your recruitment strategies, it’s time to pivot to a first-party data approach.
Understanding first-party vs. third-party data
First-party data and third-party data are two distinct types of information. While talent acquisition teams can leverage both in targeted recruitment strategies, how this data is collected is becoming increasingly important in its efficacy.
- First-party data is information gathered directly from individuals or customers by the company itself. This data is typically acquired through interactions with the company's owned channels, such as its website, mobile app, or direct customer engagements.
- Third-party data is information collected by external sources that aren’t directly affiliated with the company. This data is usually obtained through partnerships, purchases, or other means from external data providers.
The primary distinctions between first-party and third-party data lie in ownership, accuracy, relevance, and privacy. First-party data is given directly by the user and is often more accurate and relevant. Third-party data may have issues with accuracy and relevance, since it’s sourced externally, without users necessarily being aware or providing explicit consent.
To understand why this is important, we need to take a step back to know how, exactly, that data is collected.
Data privacy and third-party cookies
Cookies are small files that store identifying information and digital activity. Third-party cookies, often associated with advertisements, are generated from any domain. They enable companies to deliver targeted ads based on the information they contain. On the other hand, first-party cookies are created on a specific site that an individual directly visits. They are used to personalize the user experience.
Google has announced plans to phase out third-party cookies on its browser by the end of 2024. This decision has wide-ranging implications, especially in areas like recruitment marketing. This shift is happening in the broader context of data privacy concerns and regulations like the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). These regulations have influenced how personal information is collected, used, and stored. The goal is to empower people by offering transparency about how their data is utilized. In practical terms, this means a significant change in how businesses — including recruitment teams — target talent and track digital recruitment marketing performance.
How to make sure you have the data you need
The phasing out of third-party cookies requires a shift in recruitment marketing strategies. Recruitment teams should avoid relying on data gleaned from third-party cookies and instead focus on leveraging first-party data. This may involve reevaluating the technologies and tools (tech stack) used in recruitment practices to ensure compliance with evolving requirements and potential limitations:
- Perform a data audit and educate your teams. First, review your data collection practices. Provide training to recruitment teams on the importance of first-party data, data privacy regulations, and ethical data practices. Ensure recruiters are equipped to navigate the changes in data collection.
- Leverage first-party data. Collect and utilize first-party data directly from candidates. This can include optimizing career websites for data capture, improving user engagement, and implementing effective data capture methods through application processes.
- Use consent mechanisms. Obtain explicit consent from candidates to collect and use their data. Implement clear and transparent consent mechanisms during the recruitment process, so candidates know how you’ll use their data. In short, be transparent in what data you collect and why.
- Enhance user engagement. Focus on creating engaging and valuable content on your career website or recruitment platform. Encourage candidates to sign up for newsletters, webinars, or updates so that they have a reason to willingly give their information.
- Utilize CRM systems. Leverage Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems to manage and organize first-party data effectively. CRM systems help recruitment teams maintain detailed candidate profiles, track interactions, and facilitate personalized communication.
Stay ahead of the curve with Symphony Talent
Data privacy regulations are rapidly changing. Symphony Talent’s recruitment marketing solutions deliver campaigns using first-party data, meaning you won’t miss a beat when third-party cookies are officially a thing of the past. We make it easy for you to comply with evolving data privacy requirements, stay ahead of the curve, and still get the data-rich solutions you need to attract top talent.
Download our Ultimate Guide to AdTech to learn more.