Cookies have always been the cornerstone for digital advertising. For years, businesses have used them to track website visitors and provide a personalized experience. They’re also used to target ads to the right audience, helping companies learn about their audience’s behaviors.
However, the end of third-party cookie use and Google ad-tracking tools could lead to a major shift since Google is pushing to eliminate its use in Chrome by 2023. Businesses that use third-party cookies as a primary source for targeted advertising will have to find ways around this.
The Third-Party Cookie Phaseout
Google said the reason for the phaseout was to protect users that asked for privacy. Many people were concerned about how companies were utilizing their data. Therefore, consumer demands and new lawmaking — like the General Data Protection Regulation and California Consumer Privacy Act — led to internet browsers like Safari, Firefox and Internet Explorer blocking third-party cookie use.
The fact that Google Chrome will be joining them adds a significant leap in the world of privacy.
The Chrome browser accounts for 65% of the market share, meaning the end of third-party cookies will significantly impact businesses. Digital advertising is a $152 billion industry in the U.S.
What Does the End of Third-Party Cookies Mean for Businesses?
As with any shift involving user privacy and data protection, businesses will have to adapt along with it. Companies can use other approaches to improve their targeting strategies as the phaseout of third-party cookies begins.
Here is how businesses are embracing the privacy-first era.
Contextual targeting is another way to serve ads on websites based on the site’s content. However, 65% of marketers believe it’s not enough to replace targeted ads — as it’s not the most accurate form of targeting. However, advancements in machine learning can analyze dozens of user preferences to inform better ad creation and relevance.
Contextual targeting allows marketers to target URLs with keywords related to the discussed topics relevant to their campaign. That way, they can target the websites their audiences are most likely to visit.
Businesses must use quality keyword-optimized content when utilizing this approach.
Universal ID provides a shared encrypted identity of users. This approach may improve identification, privacy compliance and targeting. However, marketers may run into issues of data-syncing with different user IDs.
Zero-Party and First-Party Data
Zero-party data is information customers provide to companies, and first-party data comes from users’ website behavior. These two types of information are the primary source of information for marketing experts to capture.
Companies can learn more about their customers by analyzing their own data alone. While these datasets enrich companies’ databases, it also gives them the most opportunity for targeting.
What Businesses Are Doing to Prepare for the Demise of Third-Party Cookies
What are businesses doing to adapt to the privacy revolution? Here are some strategies they’re using:
- Growing their database: Companies are compensating by encouraging opt-ins and authenticating website users. This approach allows businesses to strengthen their customer relationships and serve better content.
- Utilizing Google Analytics Server Tracking: Businesses use a cloud server and first-party cookies to set up their analytics and track users without breaching privacy laws. However, segmenting people by browser type will accommodate the inconsistencies across search engines.
- Adopting a strong search engine optimization (SEO) strategy: Brands are strengthening their SEO strategies now more than ever. As advertising strategies shift, content optimization will allow users to find content and services across the web. This eliminates the need for cookies. Therefore, a long-term, organic search strategy will yield more bountiful results.
The Future of Privacy-First
The phaseout of third-party cookies is paving the way for innovative advertising. Adaptable brands will find other ways to get creative in identifying with the masses. Many marketers have already seen the “end of the third-party cookie” coming. Businesses that utilize standard tactics and other emerging alternatives may have an easier time navigating through this pivot.
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