5 Feb 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?

We talked to Pixl8's Technical Services Director (pictured, right) to find out.

Niall O'Doherty


Hi Niall, 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.

What is ‘first-party’ data and how is it used?

First-party data is information that you collect directly from your website, mobile app, email and other places. It includes demographic information, user preferences and contact details that you collect on logins, web forms and emails. There’s also website activity - for example, how long your users spend on your website, the products or events they purchase and where they get stuck in their browsing or eCommerce journey.

First-party data is really powerful! With it, you can build customer profiles, create user segments and gain deep insights that you can use to deliver personalised member experiences across your website, email, events, awards and learning channels. 

Check out our free guide to the future of personalisation here.

ReadyMembership, our all-in-one association management system will make it easy to collect and store all your data in one place - in a compliant way.

How can associations prepare for a privacy-first future?

Privacy-compliant technology is developing rapidly. As well as prioritising collecting and managing first-party data, associations should consider implementing new tools that protect user’s privacy while collecting information about them:

  • Enhanced privacy features and settings: such as Safari's Intelligent Tracking Prevention (ITP) and Firefox's Enhanced Tracking Protection (ETP). These automatically block certain types of cookies and trackers to improve user privacy by default.
  • Alternative and Cookieless Tracking Technologies: alternative methods for tracking and targeting users that don’t rely on cookies. These include device fingerprinting, contextual advertising, and cohort-based targeting.
  • Privacy-Preserving Technologies: technologies like Federated Learning of Cohorts (FLoC) by Google aim to provide advertisers with aggregated information about user interests without individual tracking.
  • Work with a trusted partner: at Pixl8 we take your users' data privacy seriously - our platform is ISO 27001 certified

We’re always improving how ReadyMembership captures, stores and displays your first-party data so that you can access the insights you need to better serve your members.

We’re currently looking at how we can make first-party cookies work even better in the platform. Sign up for our newsletter below to be the first to hear the latest news.

We can help you with the transition to a first-party data future. Talk to us and find out how ReadyMembership can help, set up GA4 and how to make sure you get the data you need while respecting the privacy of your members and users.

Get in touch

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