After years of deliberation, Google has begun its mission to remove tracking cookies in Chrome. These tracking cookies are also known as third-party data and play an instrumental role in monitoring user behaviour in digital marketing campaigns.
What are third-party cookies and why is it important?
Third-party cookies follow users across the internet and allow marketers to gather an understanding of user behaviour. The cookie data is sent to third parties who then leverage this in digital advertising campaigns. It is suspected that over 80% of marketing agencies use this type of data in their campaigns. Third-party data can be particularly effective in retargeting users who have visited a site with follow-up emails (such as cart abandonment) or new products.
Why does Google want to remove third-party data?
Google initially suggested the phasing out of cookies in 2019 however the implementation date has been pushed back multiple times before its launch this year. Only 1% of Chrome users will be affected primarily, but Google hopes that it can phase out cookies entirely by the end of 2024. The company claims that the removal of third-party data will improve user experience, by providing more privacy and security.
What strategies should agencies implement moving forward?
Most of the marketing community agrees that first-party data needs to be at the forefront of any 2024 marketing strategy. First-party data is data that a company owns such as email addresses. Brands should utilise existing data for any future campaigns and build their current data segments. The larger the data pool, the more effective their digital marketing campaigns will be. There will be challenges ahead though as many online users are often unwilling to hand over their data without serious consideration.
Google’s action has massively changed the marketing landscape and consequently, the ad ecosystem will have to adapt quickly. Google is offering support via a yet-to-be-released Privacy Sandbox which could potentially help businesses. Furthermore, some marketeers could move towards redistributing their budgets into walled gardens such as Amazon or Facebook – these companies have a strong well of data from users who have logged in.
2024 has started with a seismic shift to the marketing world and everyone should dutifully be prepared for even greater changes to come.