As of January 4, 2024, Google has turned off third-party cookies for 1% of Chrome users and has plans to phase them out entirely during the second half of the year. Although the end of third-party cookies is certainly a positive change as it relates to consumer privacy, it also presents a major challenge to B2B marketers:
How do you provide a personalized marketing experience to consumers without third-party cookies?
While there’s no shortage of answers to this question, the one we’re focusing on in this post is collecting zero-party data through your B2B website. Zero-party data is information that consumers willingly and proactively share with businesses. Some common examples of zero-party data in B2B marketing include email addresses, job titles, and phone numbers.
Unlike first-party data, which is typically collected through interactions with a company's website, email campaigns, or other marketing properties, consumers provide zero-party to brands with explicit consent. This type of data is extremely valuable for B2B businesses because it can help improve the personalization of products or services without having to rely on third-party cookies.
To get you started on your zero-party data strategy, we’ve put together a list of three ways you can start collecting it directly through your B2B website.
Whether you’re using them to gate pieces of content or to collect demo requests (or both), it’s more than likely that you’re probably using website forms on your B2B site today. Web forms are a foundational element of any effective B2B website. But just because they’re common doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be thinking critically about them!
As third-party cookies disappear, take time to audit the fields included in your forms. Is there firmographic data you should ask for to better understand who is filling out your form? Collecting additional data can enable you to create a more tailored experience as prospects move through your funnel.
On the other hand, do you really need to collect phone numbers? Consider experimenting with your forms to identify how much and what types of zero-party data you can collect without affecting form conversions. There’s no good in asking for additional pieces of data if it discourages visitors from filling out forms altogether.
Another great way to collect zero-party data is by adding a chatbot to your B2B website. Chatbots are compact software applications that you can deploy on your website to enable real-time conversations between site visitors and either a prewritten automated playbook or a human customer support agent or salesperson.
Because chatbot technologies like Drift enable 1:1 conversation between your brand and website visitors, they are a natural and non-invasive place to ask for zero-party data like company name, size, and location. Using chatbot logic you can also ask visitors survey-like questions to get a better understanding of why they’re visiting your site and what information they’re looking for. Using all of this information you can build a more personalized experience as visitors move through your site.
Modals are webpage components that appear in front of and disable all other content on the page and are a common spot where B2B brands tend to ask for visitors’ information. Oftentimes B2B brands will use modals to inform visitors about upcoming webinars or exclusive content that can only be accessed by providing an email address.
In the example below customer platform, HubSpot, uses an exit intent modal to re-engage visitors attempting to leave the brand’s site. When visitors move their mouse towards the “back” button, they’re met with a modal encouraging them to subscribe to the brand’s blog. Using this method, visitors hand over their valuable contact information in exchange for Hubspot’s valuable content— a win-win for both parties involved.
We hope these three creative zero-party data collection practices give you some much-needed inspiration as you gear up for the end of third-party cookies.