Google just announced plans to stop using third-party cookies in its web browser, Chrome. It will stop selling targeted ads based on user activity over the next two years. Beginning next year, it will not be investing in this kind of technology. Google’s decision will have a large impact on the industry because it is the largest digital ad company in the world. Google accounted for 52% of digital advertising spending last year.
Getting Rid of Third-Party Cookies
In place of cookies, Google is hoping to implement new solutions for various things that cookies are currently being used for. It has proposed several new technologies that are less invasive and bothersome than cookies. One of these new technologies is what Google calls a “privacy sandbox.” This will still allow websites to access some information, but will eventually cut them off. Google has plans to buy and test multiple versions of this technology later this year.
Critiques of Google’s Plan
Some advocates for privacy are applauding Google’s decision, but there is also backlash. Critics are saying that Google is using these new privacy systems to beat out smaller competition. Google worries that rushing to stop using cookies now will encourage data trackers to use more invasive strategies in the meantime, but it seems a little too convenient for Google to postpone ad tracking longer than Apple and others.
How to Prepare for the Future
The difficulty with getting rid of cookies is that consumers engage with personalized content significantly more than general content. That being said, they are more concerned than ever about their privacy. We’re in a period of rapid digital transformation, so brands need to figure out how they will personalize content without the help of third-party cookies in order to stay competitive.
Marketing teams and CMOs should consider these three things right now in order to be successful in the future.
- First-party Authentication and Consent
Brands will need to augment the absence of third-party cookies with an increase in first-party data. Having your own data will allow you to target your advertising efforts and will end up being the basis for your advertising strategy. Remember to get consent from your visitors before collecting their data. You will be set up for success with plenty of first-party data for your marketing team.
- Update Your Attribution Reporting
When third-party cookies disappear, you will need to assess how accurate your attribution data is. It’s likely that your ability to understand how your ads are performing is already affected by the loss of third-pary cookies. Knowing the impact of your ads across the web by looking at cross-site data will be more difficult without third-party cookies. Adjust your attribution reporting to get the full picture of what’s happening with KPIs.
- Re-evaluate Your Spending
It may be time to change how your money is being spent, especially if a large portion of your budget is allocated to measuring success through third-party cookies. If you determine ad performance by relying on impressions, then calculating your RoAs could be difficult. Put more resources into advertisements that focus on returning audiences. These can be created using first-party data, and they provide good insight.
It’s unlikely that there will be 100% agreement on how to replace third-party cookies, but there is that hope there will be some kind of consensus in the industry. Third-party cookies do many things and hold a large amount of information. Reaching an agreement on how to replace them is going to take some time. That being said, Google users as well as marketers in general should be eager to see how the loss of third-party cookies unfolds in the future.