Cookieless Future: Are Cookies Coming to An End?
Cookieless Future: Are Cookies Coming to An End?
Google recently announced the elimination of third-party cookies, and Apple announced new changes that made Identifiers for Advertisers (IDFAs) less valuable than before, leaving marketers concerned about the future of cookies.
In two years, third-party cookies will be long gone, and marketers must find new ways to identify and reach the right audiences. The challenge of how to target ads without the help of third-party cookies will emerge in the future, and if you are working closely with the help of third-party cookies, this article is the right one for you.
Table of Contents
- What Cookies Are and Why They are Important
- First-Party Cookies vs. Third-Party Cookies
- Different Cookie Types
- What is The Purpose of Cookie Warning
- What is the Cookieless Future?
- Why is Google Ending Third-Party Cookies?
- What is Waiting For Us in The Future?
- Alternative Trackers To Third-Party Cookies
- How Netmera Helps You Get Ready for The Cookieless Future
What Cookies Are and Why They Are Important
Before discussing the cookieless future ahead of us, we need to rewind to understand the concept of cookies. First things first, we have to identify the importance of cookies. When a user visits a website, cookies save valuable information about the users for the future such as the items in your shopping cart, website preferences, login information, and many other things. Mainly, cookies are important to optimize users’ experiences with the website, and originally, they are not enemies
Every time you re-visit the website that used third-party cookies, the browser loads more quickly with already contained information about the user’s preferences and previous visit data. This is the reason why you see the item on your shopping cart after re-visiting the website again.
First-Party Cookies vs. Third-Party Cookies
There are two types of cookies in digital marketing: First-Party Cookies and Third-Party Cookies. While First-Party Cookies are created by the website that the user is visiting, Third-Party Cookies are created by another domain.
First-Party Cookies are more limited than Third-Party Cookies, and they can only remember the basic activity on the website but don’t track your information when you visit other websites. Third-Party Cookies are stored on the browser and allow tracking of your browsing and online activity.
Different Cookie Types
Technical Cookies are important and essential for the website’s functioning. They ensure the security of the users and remember previous information in the forms, and they are not used for advertising. Without technical cookies, visitors cannot access the website’s services and features.
Functional cookies are used to deliver a personalized experience on the website, such as remembering language preferences like text size, or layout. These cookies are anonymous, and they don’t track browsing activity.
Performance, or Measurement Cookies, are used to collect information about user profiles and website traffic. The data that these types of cookies collect is that Google Analytics captures to understand how users interact with the website, the pages they visit, the links they click, etc.
Performance Cookies do not identify users individually, and we can only see how many people visit a page. They are important to analyze the website and performance metrics for brands to know their audience better.
Targeting Cookies are used for advertising campaigns and use visitor’s behavioral data to help brands target a more precise audience to run their campaigns and to deliver ad campaigns more suited to the user’s profiles and interests.
Targeting Cookies can be disabled by users, but that does not mean that they will also stop seeing advertisements on websites, the only difference is that the advertising they will see will not be related to their profiles.
What is The Purpose of a Cookie Warning?
We’ve all seen a notification that indicates the website we’re about to explore is using cookies.
This means that the website is collecting data about the visitors:
Cookie alerts have been common since the data protection laws became important.
According to Think With Google searches for “online privacy” grew 50% globally in 2020 compared to the last year. The purpose behind cookie alert notifications is to create transparency and build trust. Users get asked if they are accepting cookies that will collect their personal data to process and use.
What is the Cookieless Future?
Cookieless Future is a change in the digital world, and Google has announced that it will stop the use of third-party cookies in Chrome, but now they postponed it to 2024. But, the end of third-party cookies does not mean the end of tracking personal data. And, the ending of Google’s support for third-party cookies in Chrome does not mean the end of tracking in Chrome.
While the loss of third-party cookies could still impact marketers when it comes to targeting ads, Google’s abandonment of PII collection methods because it has executed what seems to be a more secure alternative: Federated Learning of Cohorts /FLoC), also known as Privacy Sandbox.
FLoC, according to Google, is a “privacy-first” and “interest-based” advertising technology. Chrome will do this instead of using third-party cookies. Users will be placed into “cohorts” according to their habits and preferences. Advertisers will target their ads to these cohorts according to their desired audiences.
Cookieless Future: Why is Google Ending Third-Party Cookies?
The problem with third-party cookies is not only because they collect massive amounts of personal data or the sensitivity level of this data, but also because these sensitive data can be sold to advertisers. These collected data can create sensitive profiles of users with information about their Google search history, credit card transactions, profiles on social media, dating platforms, and so on.
Using these profiles, predictions can be made about their way of life and advertisers can buy those profiles to use them. And, while we’re talking about this selling part – we’re talking about a billion-dollar ad-tech industry.
According to Justin Schuh, Director of Chrome Engineering at Google, the reason behind Google’s decision to end the third-party cookies was initiated because people were expecting more privacy. He stated that “people were demanding more privacy, transparency, choice, and control over how their data is used.” Also, he said that Google was “changing and evolving” to create “the web ecosystem needed to meet these increasing demands.”
When Google announced its plan to phase out third-party cookies in January 2020, the Association of National Advertisers released a statement about how disappointed they were about Google’s decision. The statement was saying they were concerned about the disruption it would cause in the advertising industry. They also accused Google of “cutting off the economic oxygen that startups and emerging companies need to survive.”
There is another side for Google to decide the ending of third-party cookies, and that is the investigation into Google’s online advertising business by The Irish Data Protection Commission (DPC). No matter the reasons behind Google’s decision, the three-year delay did not convince Google’s peers or competitors, but there is still time until 2024.
Cookieless Future: What is Waiting For Us in The Future?
The cookieless future ahead of us will look like there will be more focus on marketing software, customer data platforms, and data management platforms. Among other options, customer data platforms rely on first-party cookies, which is why marketers are likely opting for customer data platforms rather than others. First-party cookies can successfully personalize experiences for customer journeys while ensuring data security and privacy.
But, there are still other alternative trackers to third-party cookies.
Alternative Trackers to Third-Party Cookies
First-Party Cookies are automatic codes generated on your computer when visiting a website. They are used to maximize user experience, and they only contain basic information and basic user preferences. But, they are effective enough for marketers to be valuable, and they can get important insights into user preferences.
Identifiers are the data that identifies users. Some identifiers are IP addresses, Cookie identifiers, MAC addresses, IDs, pixel tags, device fingerprints, and so on.
Identifiers get data traces with unique identifiers and other data received from servers to create individuals. For example, your IP address can identify your journey through a website and can profile you as a person.
Contextual Targeting is data-friendly and is an effective alternative to Third-Party Cookies. It’s a traditional way of targeting. For example, placing an advertisement for a women’s dress on a women’s website, or placing an advertisement for a new motorcycle on a men’s website is the basics of contextual targeting.
A cohort is a group of people sharing the same identifier. Cohorts can be made from anything as long as there is a connection between the people. For example, a cohort can be a group of people sharing the same location, or people who bought an item from the same website. Cohorts allow marketers to compare data easily, and they work like contextual advertising.
With privacy concerns emerging, consent became highly critical. But, as for now, managing consent comes with many challenges. Brands can get consent from the users who visit their site and apply some regulations if they want to use this alternative.
Obtaining consent, data encryption, and security measures can be used. Users also have rights, and when implementing this method, their rights must be taken into account in business operations. The answer to this problem is the consent management platform (CMP), which tells users what information the company will collect and use.
What to do next?
While Google announced that they are postponing the end of third-party cookies until 2024, there is not much time left. Right now, marketers should keep themselves updated on the news about third-party cookies and alternatives, and work on their new paths to successfully target their ads.
As for the Cookieless Future, it will become a good thing for marketing in the long run, since third-party cookies had some dark patterns. With their goodbye to the marketing industry, marketers will have to find new ways to reach their target audiences and it can lead them to be more creative and innovative.
How Netmera Helps You Get Ready for The Cookieless Future
As a customer engagement platform that aims to help marketers with their problems regarding retention and engagement, Netmera offers cookieless personalization and more web products to its customers.
Netmera offers web personalization, web pop-ups, and web push products without using third-party cookies. This means Netmera’s customers can continue automating their marketing scenarios without any problem. Using local storage, our customers can continue tracking users without having to think of any change that may occur.
In addition, as a software company that embraces innovation and technology, we will be updating our customers with Google’s decisions about third-party cookies or any other features that may affect our customers and we will be updating our products accordingly.