What Marketers Should Do as Google Crumbles Third-Party Cookies

By neub9
5 Min Read

Google has followed through on its resolution to give up Web cookies (as reported by Gizmodo).

The move, however, is not entirely a complete abandonment of cookies. Instead, Google has stopped tracking 1% of Chrome browser users to display content based on the attributes discovered in that tracking.

Estimates put global Chrome users at 3.2 billion people, so Google essentially eliminated cookie access for about 32 million users.

Imagine – that’s more than the population of Texas!

Are you ready for this Cookiepocalypse? Or in the UK, Biscuitpocalypse?

We’ve dived into understanding the implications with CMI’s chief strategy adviser, Robert Rose, as he provides insights for marketers. Watch or read on (see video below).

Before jumping into the impact of a cookie-less world, let’s quickly review what a cookie is. A cookie is a small file containing data about the user — or, more specifically, the device the person uses to browse the internet. This unique identification can inform other sites about the user’s activity – the websites they visited, the products they looked at, the searches they’ve conducted, etc.

Some internet users find cookies helpful. They allow them to stay logged into sites without re-entering their username and password, personalize the content, and remember the users’ preferences.

But most don’t realize there’s a difference between first-party and third-party cookies. The website viewed by the user gives them first-party cookies. Third-party cookies, on the other hand, allow marketers to follow users with an ad for the same product a hundred times across different websites. This is mainly what Google’s move affects – specifically the degradation of the third-party cookie as it relates to advertising.

For years now, it’s not the first time we’ve heard that cookies are going away. In 2013, Apple’s Safari and Mozilla’s Firefox restricted cookies from third-party advertisers. A few years later, Microsoft and other browser providers followed suit. But Google’s Chrome dominates the market with over 60% of the share, thus its recent steps hit the cookie world harder and faster.

What happens as the cookies crumble?

This change will affect the world of advertising and marketing substantially, disrupting marketing strategies used for big media buys. For B2B firms, it also disrupts the work put into match Google search advertising with B2B marketing and social platforms. It affects the optimization of search engine marketing and what individuals see when they visit your sites.

Preliminary data indicate that Chrome users without cookie access are monetized about 30% less than those with cookies. This makes it harder to target the buying audience without their cookies.

Marketers, especially those in B2B industries, should see it as a sign to get more active and deliberate about acquiring, using, and measuring first-party data. It’s an opportunity to know more about your customers so you can deliver better content, establish and build deeper relationships, and ultimately serve them more competitively than other platforms competing for their attention.

How do marketers dine on data?

If you respond similarly to the industry’s clumsy handling of customer privacy, your customers will blame you for the overbaked cookies. The problem requires you to lean into your content strategy. What digital experiences can you build that will motivate audiences to give you their information so you can deliver more value to them over time?

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Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute

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