Google has officially confirmed that support for tracking cookies will not start being phased out in Chrome until 2023, as the company continues to seek alternatives.
The postponement is due to mounting industry opposition and the feedback Google received when testing possible replacements (source).
Privacy changes will restrict the ability of businesses relying on third-party cookies to determine user intent accurately. As a result, the ‘death of the third-party cookie’ will affect specific data platforms from delivering the quality and quantity of contacts and leads marketers to depend on to accomplish business goals.
Google published a blog post stating: “We plan to continue to work with the web community to create more private approaches to key areas, including admeasurement, delivering relevant ads and content, and fraud detection.
“For Chrome, specifically, our goal is to have the key technologies deployed by late 2022 for the developer community to start adopting them. Subject to our engagement with the United Kingdom’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) and in line with the commitments we have offered, Chrome could then phase out third-party cookies over three months, starting in mid-2023 and ending in late 2023.”
The postponement provides the marketing industry more time to adapt to tracking without third party cookies – while internet users will continue to be subject to third-party tracking for an extended period of time. This announcement is good news for the advertising industry as the removal of third party tracking makes it harder for online marketers and advertisers to track web users.
What Are Cookies?
Cookies are lines of code that a website stores in a user’s browser to track browsing activity. This data informs what type of ads are displayed to this user. They have been a critical part of the online ad industry’s business. There are two key types of cookies:
First-party cookies collect behavioural data to help website owners improve their services. This type of data collection only relays data back to the owner of the web domain. Examples of first-party cookies would be remembering items you viewed, language settings and preferences to improve the user web experience.
A third-party server sets third-party cookies up via code placed on the web domain by the owner of that domain. The data collected on third-party cookies is accessible on any website that loads the third-party server’s code. Third-party cookies allow advertisers to track users across the internet and target advertising wherever that user goes.
Why Is Google Delaying The Removal Of Cookies?
Google has pushed its timeline to end third-party cookies back by one year as advertisers and regulators continue to criticise the plans.
Google’s promise to end third-party cookies in Chrome, and to reduce ad tracking in general, has had a mixed response. For the privacy of internet users, this is a positive change. However, for the advertising industry, it is potentially disastrous and has been a source of tension with Google.
With laws such as GDPR and browsers increasingly cutting down on cookies due to a growing concern for user privacy, web analytics that requires cookies to collect their data on website traffic and user behaviour are also having to adapt. Google is still seeking alternatives to replace the system with another one of their own designs, which it claims is better for privacy but still allows marketing – the postponement is to allow more time to successfully implement this new system.
To resolve this problem, Google recently released a new version of Google Analytics named ‘Google Analytics 4’ (GA4). This uses machine learning models to fill potential gaps in data. The reason Google introduced Google Analytics 4 was partly due to not relying heavily on cookies as part of the shift towards removing cookies entirely.
How Can Marketers Prepare For Advertising Without Cookies?
Although there has been a sense of relief with an additional twelve months to prepare, those actively using cookies to improve their targeting campaigns should begin to prepare and adapt for the imminent change now. Here are three recommended methods to prepare:
1. Invest In Alternative Ways To Collect Data
There are other methods to collect data besides third-party cookies, as it is still possible to define successful strategies with various techniques. Interactive content is an example of this – users interact in exchange for some advantage, such as engaging content that delivers value. An example of this is content marketing – to have access to resourceful content, users must fill out simple forms with their data.
For interaction strategies, it is always possible to collect data in a more transparent exchange as the user is aware that they are providing their information.
2. Develop A Pixel To Track First-Party Data
Having a focus on first-party data will be a vital method to mitigate losing third-party cookie tracking. This cookie category will bring many valuable insights that can be widely used, even if they are not like the third-party type.
An excellent solution to handle this data may be to implement a pixel to track this information. By entering this into the code of the websites, it will be possible to capture first-party cookies data for improved user learning and experience.
3. Explore Other Channels For Data
Other channels can also bring insights to your audience besides browsers and cookies, such as social media channels. It is possible to publish content that engages and brings data on these type of channels.
A good email marketing strategy is also essential to maintain close and repeated contact with your audience to interact and share data.
Do you need help with your marketing strategies? Contact our team at Grofuse for further advice and a free consultation: NI/GB +44 2871 228820 or ROI +353 1 247 5294. Alternatively, email: firstname.lastname@example.org