Cookie laws offer chance to build brand trust

The soon to be enforced EU cookie directive should be seen as an opportunity for brands to build consumer trust and preference rather than a revenue threat, according to the Direct Marketing Association (DMA).

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Brands can use the fact that they need to comply to the directive as an opportunity to contact their customers and remind them about how good the user experience is on their websites, the trade body says.

Research by the DMA has suggested that although sales might be lost in the short term as consumers reject cookies, consumers are more likely to trust a brand that is open about how they use their data.

This is backed up by Google which told Marketing Week last week that giving users “transparency and control” over their data has actually led to them actively providing more information to receive better targeted advertising.

Caroline Roberts, the DMA’s director for public affairs, says by using the same language as their other communications, brands informing consumers about the cookies they use on their websites can turn what has been deemed by some as a “business threat” around to their advantage.

She adds: “Many consumers acknowledge that their data and preferences are a commodity and are aware there’s a trade off in giving that information but lots of people are very concerned about how their privacy and data is used so the answer is to be transparent and promote the benefits.”

The EU Privacy and Communications Directive requires all European websites to gain consent from users to use cookies that procure data. In the UK this will be enforced on 26 May after a year-long period of grace, with fines of up to £500,000 imposed on websites that are not compliant.

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