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If you haven’t started to prepare for a cookie-less world, consider this your warning – and no, I am not talking about the confectionary type!

Third-party cookies are set to be phased out by Google in 2023 (that’s right, next year!). Google join the list of other browsers already ditching third party cookies. This is on top of Apple’s app tracking transparency technology which anyone with an iPhone has undoubtedly seen the relatively new pop-up when they first download and use an app.

Facebook notification to opt in

All these changes, and in particular the Google Chrome changes, are going to have a big impact on digital marketing in general.

What even is a third-party cookie… and what does it do?

Third-party cookies come from a website, which is different to the website the user is visiting. For example, Facebook placing a cookie on coastdigital.co.uk.

From a marketing perspective, they help advertisers because the information collected can help with behaviour targeting or monitoring a user’s activity online. All of this information gives marketing a better chance of being successful. But the landscape is changing…

There has been a push for users to take control of their privacy, thus our marketing tool kit and approach must also change to keep up with the times.

What does this mean to marketers?

The demise of third-party cookies ultimately means the quality of ad data and tracking tools will decline, both in terms of the amount of data that is out there and the quality of it. This ultimately means that:

  • Ad targeting, buying, and optimising will become harder. There will be gaps in measurements and attribution, impacting the optimisation process and ultimately the effectiveness of marketing activity.
  • The audience strategy will need to be less reliant on third party data.
  • My, Our beloved Google Analytics and other measurement tools will become less reliable.
  • Areas such as a cookie consent banners become much more important, as users seek clarity on how we collect and use their data. Not only does the implementation of such banners ensure your website is GDPR compliant, but they also help build trust with your audience.

Example Cookie Banner

So, can you be privacy-centric and have a good digital marketing strategy?

Yes! Here’s how:

  1. Turn your attention to first-party data (Information that companies can collect from their own sources). You can collect this via software and could include information such as digital interactions, purchase history, behaviour, preferences, etc. Using this information you can create ads, content and experience tailored to individual interests.
  2. Install a cookie consent management system on your website to ensure you are compliant and build trust with your audience.
  3. Review your current measurement plan to ensure you are collecting the data that matters after the demise of third-party cookies.
  4. Implement Google Consent Mode in an effort to capture conversions without users’ data.
  5. Implement the latest version of Google Analytics (GA4), which is cookie-less.
  6. Explore server-side tag management to add more control on how data is stored and collected.
  7. Centralise all your customer data from all the different touchpoints to get a better understanding of your audience and improve data protection and privacy.
  8. Prepare to spend more time and investment within technology giants such as Facebook, Amazon, and Google’s “walled garden”. The likelihood is direct buys within the platform will increase, and there will be less cross-publisher programmatic display.

If you need help preparing and adapting your marketing strategy to fit into a cookie-less world (third party) then please get in touch and talk to one of our experts today.

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