29th July 2022
Google originally said it would remove third-party cookies in January 2022 as part of its privacy sandbox initiative (the response to the cookie-less future aims to provide anonymity to data unless expressly granted). The privacy sandbox was developed so online users would have open standards for tracking them while protecting their data. Since then, we have seen the plans to phase out the removal of Google cookies delay twice, first to 2023, now, it is looking towards 2024.
· What are Google cookies?
· Why is Google scrapping the cookie?
· How will the Google cookies delay affect businesses?
What are Google cookies?
We’ve all seen the cookie popup asking us to accept or deny when visiting a website, but what are the cookies we accept? Cookies are little pieces of text which are sent to your browser by the websites you are visiting. They help a website remember information about you and your visit. This can then affect the ease of revisiting and ultimately make the site more useful to you.
There are a variety of cookies that are used for many reasons. Cookie preference or cookie control is used to remember a website user’s choice for cookies on the site.
A user chooses their selection; this will be reflected for future visits and stored in this cookie. If you accept cookies on a website, the site won’t (or shouldn’t) ask you to confirm this again. They should just rely on your decision from last time.
Another example is language selection, which is used to remember a user’s preference regarding the website’s languages. This enables the website’s content to be presented to the user in the same language as their previous visit.
They also aid in favour of remarketing services. Cookie remarketing is a marketing strategy that is used by marketers and advertisers. It’s when ads or campaigns are presented to customers who have previously interacted with a website. The end goal is to use a customer’s data to personalise the online experience, boosting conversions by doing so.
Why is Google going cookieless?
The term cookieless means marketing where marketers rely much less on third-party cookies. The tiny bits of data that include information personal to a user show how they prefer to browse the web.
The phasing out support of cookies will not affect Google itself but its other platforms. These include Google Search, Google Ads, YouTube and other Google platforms.
In simple terms, the cookie stores information about your behaviour on a computer to identify you as an individual. This is by keeping a tab on unique identifiers like registration numbers or the session’s identification numbers. It can keep note of internet browsing history, websites previously visited, the interest and demographic of the user, buying behaviours, social media usage and more to give marketers a niche way of targeting.
With the removal of cookies and subsequent change in how online behaviour is recorded, other methods of identifying your behaviour will be stored instead.
According to Justin Schuh, Google’s, Director of Chrome Engineering, Google’s idea to phase out support for third-party cookies is down to users. He said users are “demanding more privacy, including transparency, choice, and control over how their data is used.” He has also implied that Google was “evolving” to create “the web ecosystem needed to meet these increasing demands.”
His statements were supported by a recent study by KMPG. Their research showed that 86% of the U.S general population have said that data privacy is a growing concern for them. A further 68% are concerned regarding the level of data being collected by businesses.
Amongst the general consumer’s opinions, Google may have also been forced to respond. This is due to various investigations into Google’s online advertising business. This includes The Irish Data Protection Commission (DPC) Investigation.
For advertisers, the Association of National Advertisers released a statement in January of 2020 regarding the cookie ban. They expressed their “deep disappointment” with the decision whilst acknowledging fears that it would cause significant disruption within the advertising industry.
How will the Google cookies delay affect businesses?
As with any significant developments or shifts involving privacy, data and advertising, some businesses have been panicking about how the phase-out and lack of tracking will change how companies work online.
One of the most noticeable impacts will be apparent by the sizes of third-party audiences. This is audiences whose data is collected solely through third-party cookies. This group size will eventually reach a number so low that they are not scalable for any media buying activity.
Marketers must be savvy in their new approaches to format and generate new audience data. Also, companies that process and sell advertising data must also create new innovative ways to collect audience data. Ensuring their new processes do not solely rely on collecting basic third-party cookies.
It will be in marketers’ best interest to use first-party data where they can. This is because first-party data will not be getting the boot and gives greater details and remarketing potential. These strategies could be crucial in providing a personalised online experience and ensuring a user feels protected and data secure.
Google’s privacy efforts could severely impact some areas of the marketing and advertising world. However, where data could be lost, some tactics will remain the same.
Suppose you’re an advertiser or marketer that has thrived on third-party data for online targeting strategies.
In this case, you may have some fears about navigating the change. However, with effective cookie policies, cookie management, and the use of CONSENT MODE, you may still be able to collect effective data to market successfully via the same channels.
Here are a couple of things to remember before you panic;
It’s worth noting that businesses are still in a position to collect third-party data if consented to do so. This is fully down to the user and whether they consent and ‘accept’ the cookies. This means there is still hope for businesses to collect the same useful data they previously had despite changes.
Google isn’t banning all cookies they are just phasing out the third-party ones. This means the primary data will still be trackable from first-party data sources.
This opens new opportunities for innovation within advertising! The change has sparked concern as Google, other browsers and tech firms such as Apple take a stand for user privacy. Going forward, this may present an excellent opportunity to begin looking at and developing less risky advertising strategies moving forward.
Thankfully you now have a little more time to prepare for the change. This is after the Google cookies delay will now be pushed back until midway through 2024.
If you would like to discuss the use of data privacy and analytics further, take advantage of ROAR’s Digital Marketing Consultancy Services. One of our specialists will help you get set with your Analytics tracking.