Cookies have been an essential piece of the open internet, but a future without third-party cookies is on the horizon. We need to plan for this disruption by rethinking data collection and marketing strategies today.
With the most popular web browsers working to no longer support third-party cookies, and with the rise of other types of tracking prevention, organizations will be impacted in multiple ways. This, combined with the emergence of privacy legislation around the world, is leading to a significant and long-term change in the digital marketing ecosystem.
First, this shift changes the data management landscape, making the idea of user consent and positive customer experience key concerns for organizations. Next, it modifies how brands engage with people online, limiting some of the most widespread digital marketing tactics, such as retargeting. Finally, it changes how brands measure performance, making the path to conversion murkier.
Some alternative routes are already known, such as the importance of nurturing first-party data sources. Others are still in development, such as Google’s new privacy sandbox proposal called Topics for interest-based advertising.
For most brands, business continuation and growth are not likely to come from a single alternative, but from a blend of alternatives unique to their needs. In many instances, successful strategies will be based on a combination of first-party data relationships, partnerships with walled gardens, and non-audience-based targeting solutions such as contextual targeting.
Preparing for the Removal of Third-Party Cookies
Google has announced that Chrome, the world’s most popular web browser, will stop supporting third-party cookies by the end of 2023, as Google plans to develop more private alternatives suitable for advertising purposes.
The good news is sites can still use first-party cookies to observe consumer behavior and preferences, as they won’t be impacted by the announced changes. For now, TPT Digital will continue to stay informed; Google has said it wants to work with advertisers to ensure the change doesn’t torpedo the online advertising industry.
The deprecation of third-party cookies may have rattled advertisers, but first-party cookies aren’t going anywhere. You’ll still be able to capture data on customers visiting your own site as you’ve always been able to. This will preserve things like login data and help provide a better experience for customers.
How Can We Adopt a New Approach to Data?
We need to redefine the way in which we use data, particularly when it comes to engagement, retargeting, and the purchasing funnel. Instead of casting a wide net to encourage and attract new users, use your internal data to streamline your funnel. Make sure you have good quality data and target users in your database who have opted in, optimizing each stage of the funnel and making them more likely to convert.
One place to start is relying more on clients’/brands’ own first-party data—and finding partners who can help them better leverage that data. This potentially includes publishers, who have direct relationships with site visitors, as well as data management firms, which, like Google, are working to create alternative tools for advertisers to better capitalize on first-party cookies and create anonymous aggregated groups like in the Privacy Sandbox.
With fewer tracking options available to advertisers, we will have to improve our current options, rather than just relying on dynamic product ads and highly targeted ads. The content and product will both have to be of higher quality.
While the rapidly changing cookies landscape comes with legitimate concerns around the potential consequences on advertising efficiency and performance tracking, we should all embrace any development that advances user privacy. Agencies and businesses alike will have to work with less, but ultimately better, data, as these changes will certainly come with their own set of challenges and uncertainties.
TPT Digital is committed to staying up-to-date on privacy and browser tracking developments and would love to help shape your strategy for 2022. Please contact us to discuss further.