Google has announced recently that Chrome, Google’s cross-platform web browser, will completely restrict the use of third-party cookies by 2022. Thankfully, they have decided to phase it out slowly instead of an instant switch. Of course, Google isn’t the first internet browser to do so. With Mozilla’s Enhanced Tracking Protection (ETP) and Apple’s Intelligent Tracking Prevention (ITP), Firefox and Safari now block third-party cookies by default as well—but what are cookies and what does this mean for advertisers and marketers?
What are cookies?
Cookies are snippets of code that are placed on websites to track personalized and saved information to identify your computer. There are two types: First-party and third-party cookies.
First-party cookies are pieces of information that are directly stored on a website. While some first-party cookies can be used to collect analytics data, they are mainly used to make the user’s viewing experience better. For example, first-party cookies:
- Save information like usernames and passwords so you don’t need to type it in every time
- Create a customized list of product recommendations based on your previous search history
- Remember the items in your cart so that you don’t need to add them back in again.
Third-party cookies are not placed by the domain or website owner and are mainly used for online advertising. These help to develop behavioural analytics trends of potential customers. Ever notice an ad that seems to follow you from website to website? That’s because of third-party cookies.
Why is Google restricting third-party cookies?
Google Chrome has the largest market share of internet browsers in the world. With 70% of desktop and 41% of mobile users using Chrome and a large segment of revenue coming from advertising, this decision could negatively affect Google’s cash flow. Third-party cookies not only play a tremendous role in Google’s revenue, but other websites too. In many cases, a website’s main source of revenue comes from these advertisements, which then go towards maintenance. It will be interesting to see how Google strikes the balance between protecting consumer privacy and generating revenue for website owners, while maintaining a competitive platform for advertisers to continue using.
While third-party cookies can be used for good, several large companies exploit it in unsustainable ways. Take for example, the Cambridge Analytica scandal that influenced American voters during the 2016 election. Consumers are demanding more transparency and control in terms of what information companies can collect, putting compounding pressure on Google to make these changes.
What will digital marketing look like after these changes?
Third-party cookies play a fundamental component in today’s online advertising environment. The removal of these pieces of code will inevitably shape the way advertisers and marketers develop campaigns now and into the future. With increasing pressures on consumer privacy, it was only a matter of time before we would see the death of the third-party cookie.
Thankfully, digital marketing spans further than some code and is only a minor setback to your marketing strategy. Digital marketing can still play an integral part in your marketing mix. It’s important for your business to stay agile and adapt your marketing tactics. If you’re looking for other areas of digital marketing to be effective in this ever-changing marketing landscape, consider including:
- Other facets of search engine marketing: There’s more to search engine marketing than advertisements. Optimizing your website for search engines (SEO) is absolutely essential to any business. Best of all, SEO is free!
- Social Media: Businesses can still take advantage of the vast amount of data on first-party cookies from social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. These can be just as robust as third-party cookies.
- Digital marketing analytics tools: Businesses with digital marketing strategies still have a slew of data available to them to make smarter and informed key decisions.
Regardless of what tools that you decide to use in your digital marketing mix, it is important to have an experienced marketing team to guide you. Need help with your digital marketing tactics? Wingman has your back! Book a Wingman today to learn more about how we can help your business get your marketing strategy off the ground.