Third-party cookies enable organizations to track user behavior, creating a more personalized advertising experience. These cookies are used in retargeting, ad serving, cross-domain or cross-device tracking. Greater demands for consumer privacy and government actions require that digital advertising evolve to address privacy concerns.

Google Chrome holds 64.06% of the global market share for internet browsers, and approximately six out of 10 consumers use Chrome. To move towards a more-privacy friendly web, Google will remove support for third-party cookies on Chrome in 2023. Apple’s Safari and Mozilla’s Firefox blocked third-party cookies in 2013. 

Google Has Taken Steps to Protect Privacy

In March 2021, Google’s Privacy Sandbox launched a technology called FLoCs (Federated Learning of Cohorts, which was designed to target larger groups of consumers rather than individuals. This technology brought with it privacy concerns, as it did not comply with the General Data Protection Regulation,  (GDPR), which is the European Union’s privacy law. 

In response to these challenges with FLoCs, Google introduced Topics API, which allows marketers to target ads to consumers based on categories of the types of content that they access online. This technology takes a more general approach to marketing without cookies, as it assigns a particular number of interest-based topics per person each week and shares this information randomly with the websites that consumers visit. This allows marketers to use interest-based advertising while protecting users’ personal data. 

How to Manage Your Marketing Without Cookies 

The effectiveness of Google’s Topics API technology remains to be seen, and Google has no plans to replace third-party cookies with alternative tracking identifiers. With third-party cookies facing their downfall, advertisers and marketers will have to find new, creative ways to reach their target audiences. Below are some strategies you can use to prepare for a cookieless future. 

Use Your Digital Assets to Gather First-Party Data 

First-party data is data that you collect directly from consumers through your own digital assets, such as your website, social media, surveys, or applications. This data could include the number of unique visitors, user location, demographic information, interests, or purchase history. There are a few ways that you can do this.  

  • Collect first-party data through your website by offering lead magnets, downloadable whitepapers, subscriptions, discounts, or other promotions to consumers who provide you with their email addresses in exchange for your offer.
  • Focus on creating high-value content, such as blog posts, videos, social media posts, podcasts, webinars, or online events, which will boost your company’s online presence, promote you as an expert in your field, and encourage online engagement with consumers.
  • Use consent-based methods to collect data from multiple sources, such as your CRM, customer surveys, purchases, and other research.

Get the Most Out of Your CRM

Take full advantage of the features of your CRM tracking software and existing tech stack. Your CRM may be providing you with more valuable data than you realize. You may already have access to tools, applications, and software features that can help you collect the data you need. You may also be able to leverage data from your existing CRM to help you get the most out of its features.

Set up Google Analytics 4 

Google will sunset the current version of Google Analytics (Universal Analytics) in 2023 for Google Analytics 4 (GA4). Now is an ideal time to set up Google Analytics 4 to begin collecting historic data. 

GA4 does not rely on cookies and instead uses event-based data modeling. Privacy features available in UA are also in GA4, but GA4 is more privacy-focused, aligning better with GDPR and the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA).

There are specific changes that will come with GA4’s launch. These include:

  • GA4 will operate across multiple platforms, which will provide more accurate insights by using data from websites and apps. 
  • GA4 will provide data-driven attribution that reflects how a variety of marketing activities contribute to conversions, rather than attributing those conversions only to the last clicks before they occur.
  • GA4 will use machine learning to provide predictive insights into consumer behavior and target new audiences.
  • GA4 will integrate seamlessly with other Google products, which will make it easier to optimize ad campaigns.
  • Google Analytics 360, which is built on GA4, will provide better opportunities for collaboration and larger limits on dimensions, audiences, and conversion types for enterprise-level companies. 

Check out the Competition

Take a look at how your competitors and other industries are adapting to this change and if they have altered their advertising strategies in response to the elimination of third-party cookies. Making these changes now could provide a competitive advantage.

Encourage Customer Loyalty

Build trust, establish credibility, and increase customer loyalty by engaging with your customers or clients on a regular basis with high-value content, such as blog posts, product guides, newsletters, informational emails, and other resources.

It’s Time to Develop a Strategy 

With these changes in technology, your approach to consumer data collection will also need to change. If you don’t already have a plan in place for addressing the elimination of third-party cookies, it’s not too late. In fact, now is the time so your organization can prepare, test, and implement.

At WTM Digital, our team of talented marketers is ready to help you create a strategy that will help you collect the consumer data that you need so you can continue to build and grow your business with successful advertising campaigns. Reach out to WTM for more information.