Your Cookies Are Going In The Bin

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Third-Party Cookies Are Being Phased Out!

Have you heard? Third-party cookies are going for good. For years, marketers have been using cookies as tracking tools to collect data about web users’ browsing activity and target users with personalised ads, but this is all about to come to an end. 

So, are we on the brink of a new age of digital marketing?

What Is a Cookie?

Web cookies serve as a storage mechanism within a web browser that gathers data about users and their browsing activity. 

First-party cookies are created by the domain the user is visiting. It gathers information about the user’s activity on their website to enhance user experience.

Third-party cookies, on the other hand, are created by domains other than the one the user is visiting. These cookies follow user activity across all websites to gain a bigger picture of user browsing. 

Overall, they collect a vast amount of data and use the information for marketing strategies like ad targeting and retargeting. The more data these cookies supply about users, the more helpful they are at refining personalised marketing strategies. 

Concerns About Cookies

In 2020, Google announced the phase-out of third-party cookies. While Google is certainly not the first to remove these cookies, with browsers like Safari and Firefox already blocking third-party cookies by default, they are the largest browser to do so. 

This has sparked concern within the marketing and advertising industry as Google handles the bulk of website traffic, and marketers can no longer track keywords and user behaviours through the browsing giant. 


So why the move away from third-party cookies?

The main reason behind the shift is increased privacy concerns. Governments and web users are campaigning for increased privacy, transparency, and control over how their data is being processed and stored across the web. 

“Users are demanding greater privacy–including transparency, choice and control over how their data is used–and it’s clear the web ecosystem needs to evolve to meet these increasing demands.”- Justin Schuh – Director, Chrome Engineering.

As such, new privacy laws have come into play, and regulations like GDPR and CCPA have been introduced to restrict the use of cookies for tracking to protect user privacy and data.

Enter, Contextual Marketing

With third-party cookie tracking transitioning out, brands are searching for alternatives to take its place. So, will the tried and true Contextual Marketing make its comeback in 2024? We think it might. 

Contextual Targeting allows for targeted ads to be placed based on the context of the page, app, video, or audio the user is browsing. For example, a video about how to perfect your golf swing may include an ad about a golf store or nearby golf course. 

While it’s not a new technique, the combination of AI and machine learning algorithms opens the door to creating enhanced technology to understand browsing content and predict user behaviour without relying on cookies.

The Good News

The decline of third-party cookies isn’t bad news! Here are some of the positives:

  • Say hello to more relevant advertising based on your likes. 
  • Now, brands can build a strong brand presence to drive direct traffic less dependent on cookies.
  • Meet your target audience where they live online.
  • Improved quality of content
  • User journey tracking is important. Moving forward, brands can guide their audience rather than push them.

In addition, the phasing out of third-party cookies may lead to the development of new tracking technologies compliant with privacy regulations.

It may also provide a clearer distinction between SEO and PPC, with PPC relying more on first-party data and contextual targeting, while SEO focuses on content relevancy and user experience.

So, things are looking up in the digital marketing industry.

How Does This Affect Your Business’ Marketing?

There will be some road bumps along the way that will require manoeuvering, like

  • Brands won’t be able to target specific users as easily.
  • Brands will need to do more brand work and understand the user journeys, likes and dislikes, and media consumption of their target buyers and audience.
  • Invest in building your own database of user information, such as EDMs, content management systems, and sales funnels.

Change can be tricky to navigate, but not all hope is lost. This is a fantastic opportunity for businesses to be innovative with their marketing techniques. 

Now is an excellent time to review your Google Ads with us to ensure you’re being seen where your audience is and where your competition isn’t.

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Curious to see how your digital marketing stacks up?

Let the pros give you a free audit.