You may have heard of Google’s plan to phase out third-party cookies on their Chrome browser, which have long been the gold standard for user-tracking technology. The browser will stop supporting this technology late next year, nearly two years later than initially planned, and behind competitors Safari and Firefox. Google stated that the delay would provide more time to acquaint publishers, advertisers, and regulators with the new technologies created to deliver targeted advertisements once cookies are eliminated.
Google plans to employ a tool created in Google’s Privacy Sandbox, FLoCs (Federated Learning of Cohorts). This tool will be able to target individuals based on bigger groups of people who share common interests and behaviors; implying that marketers will no longer be able to monitor users on Chrome and advertisers will need to develop new methods for attributing conversions, frequency capping ad placements, and retargeting site users. With the surge of new privacy laws, the phase-out of third-party cookies was inevitable. Don’t worry – first-party cookies will still be in use. Let’s talk about it.
First-Party Cookies vs Third-Party Cookies
Cookies are pieces of information that are stored about you online, tracking your movements, and behavior, as you browse. For example, if you go to a news website and enter your ZIP code to see what’s going on in your region, the next time you visit the same site, it will remember your ZIP code. There are first-party cookies, which are used by the site you visit, and third-party cookies, which are placed by advertisers on the site you visit. These determine your interests, giving you ads – even after you leave the original site you visited. This is how advertisements track you across the internet.
First-party cookies are stored directly by the website or domain you are visiting. That is, when you enter into your Facebook account, a direct link is established for both you and Facebook, allowing the cookies to be enabled making first-party cookies more beneficial for users.
Third-party cookies follow website visitors across the internet, allowing marketers to see which websites these visitors frequent, what purchases they make, and where they obtain their news and information. All of this creates a profile that can be used to retarget these visitors as they browse other websites making third-party cookies more beneficial for marketers.
While the phasing out of third-party cookies has been met with some anxiety and panic by marketers and advertisers; there is an underlying opportunity to build better one-on-one relationships with customers. Big Drop’s Senior Director, James Weiss, says:
“Ad-tech companies should now be rightfully worried with the regulation changes being adopted, but it is reassuring to see major players, the likes of Apple and Google, making such an investment to restore users’ faith in the security of their own data. Sureing-up privacy unfortunately isn’t yet standard because of the degree and amount of data each company may have, but the exciting question for users becomes: how far will these companies go to guarantee my privacy?”
What the Future Holds
Without the ease of third-party cookies for advertisers and marketers, they will now have to find better tools to find, understand and track their audiences. In doing so, marketers will need to know exactly how to target audiences. Researching purchase paths, what channels influence audiences the most, and what type of advertising best matches their needs will be crucial once third-party cookies are gone.
Marketing departments will have to be more strategic in their spending. In the post-cookie future, those who can build the best relationships with customers will be the most successful. Here are some step to take to prepare for a world without cookies:
- Building direct relationships with consumers: Offer services on your website that improve user’s experience, such as determining calls to action and implementing responsive web design to make information easily digestible.
- Invest in technology that promotes privacy: Organize data, surface insights, anticipate performance, and maximize revenue with automated and cloud-based solutions that don’t compromise privacy.
- Establish transparent privacy policies: Earn people’s trust by giving them more control, and choice over their personal data and information.
By concentrating on ways to preserve user privacy, customer connections will strengthen, performances will boost, and there will be better navigation of privacy landscapes – all while helping to protect the open web. Kaity Ayuso, Big Drop’s Business Development Manager said the following:
“Aggregate-level data can still help marketers derive valuable insights into users’ habits, behaviors and preferences. It looks like a big difference here will be a shift towards relying on larger data sources for the insights that individual companies were previously collecting from users on their own. Large data sources like Google are already overflowing with extensive first-party data and their use of machine learning to construct profiles of groups of potential customers can yield rich insights for marketers that will help ease the uncertainty of a future without third-party cookies.”
Third-party cookie removal will, without a doubt, alter the digital world. More companies are turning to contextual advertising and good first-party cookie management. We could very well be looking at a brand new age in the world of Digital Marketing.
Let’s chat about how we can advance your first-party cookies to keep your users protected and satisfied.