The Sun is Setting on the Third-Party Cookie
Last week, I presented in a DMAW webinar for Digital Week. Specifically, our panel discussed the eventual disappearance of the third-party cookie, as Google announced previously that they were going to stop supporting third-party cookies in their Chrome browser by the end of 2021. While Firefox, Safari, and many other browsers have already done this, the Chrome browser still holds a 65% market share, so this move will lead to the inevitable end of the third-party cookie.
So, why is this happening, and what does this mean for my marketing campaigns?
Well first things first, do not panic.
As you all probably know, privacy concerns have been at the forefront of marketers’ minds for quite some time now, and given that the third-party cookie tracks specific users across websites and domains, and allows advertisers to understand a specific user’s behavior and interests, which can be used to target them, it was eventually going to be addressed.
So, the removal of third-party cookies isn’t that surprising, and unless you are participating in programmatic ads or website remarketing, this change may not affect you at all. To be clear, if your marketing campaigns are generally housed in “Walled Gardens” such as Facebook, then remarketing and other ads will not be affected. A “Walled Garden” is a closed platform in which all operations are controlled by that platform. Here at Nexus Direct, we don’t rely on third-party cookies that much, if at all, as we see the best results in our surround-sound marketing campaigns come from these walled gardens.
What do I do if I am participating in programmatic ads or remarketing?
If these channels are essential to your marketing strategy, then you still should not panic. But it is time to pivot and adapt. Preparing now will lessen the burden, and will also give you time to test new strategies and channels. There are a few steps you can take to prepare:
- Take a deep look at your data now to see what you can learn from it currently; first-party data will become key to continued marketing.
- Make sure your data is up to date and clean, making sure all email addresses are valid and de-duped.
- Understand how important your analytics are and how vital it is that you have all of your tracking in place.
- Test new channels, such as IP Targeting, participating in direct buys with publishers, etc., if you are a firm believer of the display ad style.
- Find digital marketing industry informational resources, like the Nexus Direct Idea Garden, so that you can keep up to date with what is happening and what new technologies Google will come out with.
The last bullet is essential. While third-party cookies are going away, Google is not going to leave you high and dry. After all, Google is in the business of making money. They have a variety of technologies that they are working on, such as the Federated Learning of Cohorts, or FLoC, and TURTLEDOVE, just to name a few. These technologies will provide targeting options while still protecting the privacy of the user. Explaining these technologies here would take up a lot of space, so I suggest you do your research into these new technologies and understand them so that when the time comes, you are hitting the ground running, and your marketing campaigns do not miss a beat.
Overall, the webinar was a great way to provide information to people in this virtual world, and the DMAW did a great job organizing Digital Week. We had some good questions from the audience, encouraging insightful discussion, and I feel that over the last 7 or 8 years, the DMAW audience has become a lot more informed about digital channels and strategies.