Ready or not, Google has already started phasing out third-party cookies. By 2024, we will officially have to say goodbye to them. As we begin to transition out from the old and in with the new, it’s time for us to imagine what our future without third-party cookies will look like, and what new ways we can consider to reach our target audience effectively without them.
Breaking Down Third-Party Cookie Usage
According to research conducted on third-party cookie usage:
- 80% of digital marketers and advertisers depend on the data third-party cookies provide to effectively reach potential customers
- 70% of professionals feel the advertising industry will regress, as a result of eliminating third-party cookies
- 46% of companies feel they are ‘very prepared’ for third-party cookies to be phased out
How Online Users Feel About Third-Party Cookies
Imagine visiting a website, and the moment it loads, a notification appears, asking you to accept its privacy terms so it can collect your data. How would you feel? Does that sound like a delightful experience?
- For users, it can be intimidating or downright concerning to know that your activity is being tracked.
- For advertisers, the data received from third-party cookies are golden nuggets of information required to unlock more effective communication with potential prospects.
However, suppose users avoid interacting with a website due to privacy concerns. In that case, it will impact your progress and it could also have a negative impact on how users feel about your business overall.
Yes, the idea of third-party cookies can be quite alarming, but has their existence truly had an effect on the user experience? Many marketers and advertisers think so. In fact, 48% of professionals believe their revenue will increase once third-party cookies have been completely phased out by Google.
Why Third-Party Cookies Are Over
In the blog we wrote in March of 2022, we discussed how many web browsers have agreed to block third-party cookies to regain the trust of their users, with Google being the exception. As the market leader in online search, Google plans to join other web browsers in 2024, by eliminating third-party cookies, so it can stand with the other web browsers and cultivate a more transparent relationship with its users.
Another factor that may have played a role in the depreciation of third-party cookies is that our online landscape is changing. Targeted ads powered by third-party cookies are no longer considered as effective as they once were. With new solutions on the rise, there may be a more efficient and cost-effective method on the way in, as third-party cookies make their exit.
Third-Party Cookies Had a Good Run
For years, third-party cookies have been collecting user data, and taking its course. Here’s a brief history of the third-party cookie, which displays some of the most prominent events that have led up to what is taking place today.
- 2013 – Safari and Firefox web browsers begin to block third-party cookies.
- 2017 – Safari completely blocks third-party cookies.
- 2019 – In an effort to safeguard the privacy of its online users, Firefox creates an Enhanced Tracking Protection (ETP), designed to block third-party cookies automatically.
- 2020 – Google announces its plan to eliminate third-party cookies.
- 2021 – Google announces Privacy Sandbox trials, and proposes it as an alternative to third-party cookie depreciation.
- 2022 – Google delays its plans to phase out third-party cookies until 2024.
- 2023 – Google starts phasing out third-party cookies for Chrome users.
- 2024 – Google plans to disable third-party cookies for 1% of users by Q1 of 2024. (January) and will phase out third-party cookies for all Google Chrome users by Q3 of 2024 (July).
What You Can Do to Prepare
Third-party cookies are planning to make a grand disappearing act, but that doesn’t mean your relationship with prospects should crumble. Here are a few tasks you can start doing right now that could help you better navigate through our cookieless world:
- Audit your cookie usage as soon as possible. Google highly recommends this step, as it can prepare businesses to detect any compliance risks early and take inventory of which type of cookies your company is using, how that data is being used, and more.
- Leverage first-party data. When we heard Google was saying goodbye to third-party cookies and third-party data, it inspired many marketers and advertisers to say hello to first-party data. First-party data is provided by users when they interact with your website or your campaigns. A great example of first-party data would be a geographic location, subscription information, or feedback from surveys. First-party data can be used to help cultivate honest, transparent first-party relationships.
- Consider zero-party data. Zero-party data is information that is provided to a business directly from the user. An excellent example of this is when a user shares their purchasing intent with a company. Since this information was provided voluntarily, this data type appears to be less invasive than third-party data.
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