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The death of cookies: COOKIECALIPSIS

Interactive infographic on Google’s cookies phaseout, the cookiecalipsis phenomenon
Interactive infographic on Google’s cookies phaseout, the cookiecalipsis phenomenon

The death of cookies due to Google’s cookies phase out, known as cookiecalipsis, is going to change the advertising spectrum. The disappearance of third party cookies of the Google browser in 2022 is going to implement changes on the market. I will force changes on the adverting techniques now that the user’s online behavior is not going to be as controlled with this cookies removal. 


Cookies are small packages of data that different browsers are using to track our website visitors, improve the user experience, and collect data that helps us target ads to the right audiences. We also use them to learn about what our visitors are checking out online when they aren’t on our websites (user behavior). 

Types of cookies

FIRST-PARTY COOKIES

Have been defined as a code that gets generated and stored on your website visitor’s computer by default when they visit your site. This type cookie is often used for user experience because it is responsible for remembering passwords and login information, basic data about the visitor, and other preferences.

They track basic data about your own website’s visitors. You can understand what users do when they visit your website, check how often they visit the website, and get other basic analysis methods to help you develop or automate effective marketing strategies around them. But you cannot see data related to your visitor’s behavior on other websites that are not connected with your domain.

AMAZON- remembers your login information, the language you speak, the items in your cart. All of this sources are examples of 1st-party cookies. 

THIRD-PARTY COOKIES

Have been defined as tracking codes that are placed on a web visitor’s computer after being generated by another website other than your own. When web visitors visit your site and other sites, third-party cookies track this data and send it to the third party that is who created the cookie.

Learn about your web visitor’s overall online behaviors. With this detailed data, you can build a reliable visitor profile. With all this data, you can create a list of redirect targets that can be used to send ads to your previous visitors or users with similar network profiles.

IMPORTANT DIFFERENCE 

First-party cookies are accepted automatically but visitors must be informed that they are accepting a third-party cookie due to the amount of personal and accurate data that companies can retain from them.

 

Google’s announcement that it will phases out the third-party cookies on the Chrome browser by 2022

Firefox and Safari have already phased out the third-party cookie, but Google says that this changes will occur over the course of two years to ensure that advertisers can manage the adjustment of the of the cookies removal without destroying the online advertising business and all the enterprises that depend on it. 

Even though Chrome is not the first browser to phase out the third-party cookie, it’s the most used one. In late 2019, Google Chrome made up more than 56% of the web browser market. Chrome also accounts for more than half of all global web traffic. Safari and Firefox, which have blocked third-party cookies since 2013, come in a distant second and third place, respectively.  

Graphic on the percentage of how much each browser is used, being Google Chrome the most used one
Graphic on the percentage of how much each browser is used, being Google Chrome the most used one

Because Chrome, Safari, and Firefox will all no longer support this type of data tracking by 2022, publications like are calling Google’s phase-out the “death of the third-party cookies”.

This will change the way we do business online and it will force the emerge of new data-driven alternatives. 

 

Google’s cookie phase-out

1. GOOGLE IS NOT BANNIG ALL COOKIES 

Google is only planning to phase out the third-party cookies on its browsers, but is going to maintain first-party cookies.

2. MANY MARKETERS EXPECTED THIS PHASE-OUT

Governments around the world have been investigating and cracking down on data privacy issues. In 2019 the Europe’s highest court ruled that users in the EU must actively consent to all cookies when they log on to a website. This is called GDPR ruling and its basically that visitors have to click on the accept button ir order to use the third-party cookies. 

In August, Google announced it was developing a “Privacy Sandbox” which is a tool that could allow marketers to keep publishing and circulating ads to the target audiences without having the user’s personal and behavioral data. 

  • Privacy Sandbox is a new approach to ensure that advertisement keeps its relevance for the audience, but user data shared with websites and advertisers would be minimized by anonymously aggregating user information, and keeping much more user information on-device only. Google says “Our goal is to create a set of standards that is more consistent with usersexpectations of privacy.”
  • Features a Sandbox:
    • Directs all user data into the browser, in this case Chrome, where it will be stored and processed but all the information stays on the user’s device which increased the privacy. 
    • Between Sandbox and GDPR ruling marketers knew that third-party cookies were becoming obsolete. As a consequence firms were already contemplating new alternatives and tools to depend more on first-party cookies to increase consumer’s privacy and to do not loose income.

3. MARKETERS ARE NOT JUST CONCERNED ABOUT DATA 

Without Chrome-based third-party cookie data, you’ll still be able to leverage and target Google Ads, which will be powered by Google Chrome’s first-party cookies and the Privacy Sandbox tools.  

The death of cookies is going to be good for consumer but is going to hurt most of the third-party ad platforms that use this technology to earn revenue. 

  • What is motivating Google to phase this-party cookies? 

By forcing the Chrome browsers own first-party cookies the goal is to improve the privacy of the users, or to control the advertising market. This last reason  may lead to a lot of this money previously being spent on third-party platforms and transferred to Googles bottom line.

The Association of National Advertising and the American Association of Advertising Agencies had called out Google for disrupting healthy competition in the advertising space. Moreover, they have urged Google to push back this phase-out until meaningful opportunities are made to advertisers. 

4. THIS MOVE STILL OPENS THE DOOR FOR INNOVATION IN ADVERTISING

Although this move does cause concern, Google and other browsers have still taken a stand for user privacy. As privacy laws continue to emerge, this may be a good opportunity to study other less fragile advertising alternatives, just in case another governance makes one of your marketing strategies or processes obsolete. 

Innovative marketers would have to become alternatives and ads aside from hyper-targeted content or annoying pop-ups that are not appealing for the consumers. Another area that could be interesting to look at is the way we leverage and use data. Data management platforms need new tools to track data as advertisers. 

 

What will happen when third-party cookies disappear?

The digital media industry relies on third-party data to understand consumer behavior, track conversions, track cross-device usage, and target target audiences through specific campaigns. The death of cookies threatens all marketing strategies based on third-party cookie data.

Publishers’ income will decrease on a 52% while the amount of clicks in each ads will also decrease around 21%. These are bad news for the advertisers and advertising firms.  This will have certain consequences:

  1. Google will become a monopoly in the online advertising environment because it will block the access to other developers. Google Privacy Sandbox is going to substitute the analysis of third-party cookies. 
  2. There is an intention of developing a new and unique username login to follow the actions and transitions between webs of each content consumer. There have been a lot of similar project in the European Net ID, with not potential competitors. 
  3. Going back to last click’s attribution, this is an obsolete method but without cookies it would be a more precise method to follow up the advertising analysis. 

Predictions

1. MARKETERS WILL INCREASINGLY LEVERAGE FIRST-PARTY COOKIE DATA

Knowing your customers will become more than fundamental, retrieving information about, who they are, what they buy and why they buy it, will become more than a focus. This information can help marketers adjust their strategy and background based on appropriate information, and target the target audience to prompt the correct type of action. We want to see more reliance on data that can be extracted from these tags on website attributes directly owned by brands and publishers.

2. IT WILL BE CONTENT’S TIME TO SHINE

Its time for marketers to think about new advertising strategies like content marketing which is a great way to reach your audience without relying on third-party cookies or super-targeted ads. If you attract and cultivate audiences with useful content that they really like, then you are building brand loyalty, which cannot be replaced by any cookie policy.

3. CONTEXTUAL TARGETING WILL MAKE A COMEBACK

Contextual targeting is a type of personalized online advertising that uses keywords to serve PPC ads to users based on the context of the website theyre looking at. In recent years, contextual targeting has lost popularity, because third-party data,  trough behavioral targeting, provided more accuracy and information. However, it may be time for contextual targeting to ride again. Combined with first-party cookies and a strong strategy, by delivering relevant messages to users who are looking for appropriate matching topics and information, it can be expected that contextual targeting can provide excellent campaign results. 

 

What to do next with the death of cookies

Googles death of cookies is not a matter that is going to happen overnight, but 2022 is a close future. Digital marketers need to consider their alternatives and build a framework for operating in this new online world without this data analysis. 

A great place to start is:

  • Building the appropriate tracking and measurement systems to compare the data that is captured in today’s world by third-party cookie world. 
  • Approach campaigns with a contextually based ideology that will allow the drive learnings now to evolve to a future without third-party cookies. 
  • Stay up-to date with news related to the topic and other privacy moves that could impact your business. 
  • Vet any software or solutions that can help you better transition away from this type of cookie.
  • Revitalize older strategies, like contextual advertising, which allows you to circulate pay per click ads on websites that rank a similar keyword as yours. 
  • In order to protect your brand from future governance or monopoly related policies, brainstorm and use more basic strategies to attract audiences.

In conclusion, the death of cookies, the phenomenon known as cookiecalipsis is going to happen in 2022. While first party cookies will stay, Google’s third party cookies phase out is explained as a way to increase the user’s privacy. But it is going to damage business advertising strategies and income. Therefore, this disappearance will force the transformation of the online environment, changing online business and creating new data-driven alternatives to build the Internet framework without cookies. There are some predictions of how this situation can affect the future. But what would the cookiecalipsis do to our digitalized world?

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Paula Sastre Ibáñez

I am Paula Sastre Ibáñez, a 20 years old student cursing a doble degree on Digital Communication and Advertising and Public Relations at the San Pablo CEU University. English and French are the two second languages that I control the most after Spanish, which is my mother tongue. Commitment, responsibility and maturity are some of the qualities that describe me in the professional and personal environment. Moreover, I believe that group work is essential, providing different perspectives that increase innovation and creativity. Working international is one of my main objectives in life, in order to face different challenges effectively and in an innovative way.

My experience as a third year student has provided me with a wider image of the future of the field focusing my interest on Big Data and Business Analytics. I have bigger aspirations that imply leadership and the ability to be resolutive, two characteristics that my degree is teaching me. I cannot wait to continue my learning process through the rest of my university and professionals experience. Technology is the key of the future, and as a student it is a motivation to see how your studies can be applied in changing the world we live in.

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