The end of third-party cookies

All of us in the world of digital advertising and PPC campaigns are always looking for an exciting new way of engaging with customers. The new Apple iOS update has changed a lot about how we do what we do. This new software update has ended an automatic agreement with online tracking and data collection, and there’s news that Google aims to phase out third-party cookies next year. We don’t know if this sets us back to the stone age of marketing or if it’ll be a chance to get cosy with the new way of doing things. But one thing is clear: This is big!

Let’s explore the future of digital marketing without third-party cookies below.

What are cookies, and what do they do?

Besides being a satisfying snack in our pantry, internet cookies are small pieces of code that are added to the websites to track potential customers as they visit different websites. The code contains info that helps create a more customised user experience for search engine results platforms. The cookies hold onto stuff like previous internet actions, log-in information, location settings, what’s in the shopping cart, and more. Advertisers, especially those who rely on SEO strategy to rank high on results pages, love cookies because they help target customers based on this information. 

It would help if you had a short-term strategy

Without cookies and other internet tracking data, service-based businesses that rely on pay-per-click optimised campaigns need to prepare for the significant changes in the short term by implementing several steps. For starters, you need to get familiar with Google Ads’ initiatives and Apple’s new Skad Network solution. 

What’s the best way forward? 

Some digital marketing and advertising best practices can still be equally effective. Continuing with them doesn’t mean making substantial changes to your digital marketing plans. As a team of digital experts that have grown in the industry for a decade now, take it from us, these are a few recommendations for how companies can address third-party cookie deprecation without having to go to extremes

  • Get familiar with and control your first-party data

There’s never been a more critical time than now to get your hands on first-party data. You may have relied on advertising and data collection to companies like Google, Apple, and Facebook. Now you’re in a sticky spot where these new privacy laws have changed the success metrics of existing marketing technologies. And why not? 

You know things like how Google Ads can advance your business goals, and that’s why you invested in them. We’re in a new age now where customers require more intimate engagement, and so all you have to do to stay afloat is facilitate mutual and ongoing value exchanges with them. You can start reducing the reliance on third parties and collect, store, and use first-party data that your own consumers have consented to provide instead.

  • Contextual (and content) advertising is the new cookies

What a strange turn of events. What was once old is becoming new again in a world where we don’t have third-party cookies. The next best option is anything keyword or keyword-based advertising. Years ago, everyone was discounting the value in keywords, and we’ve been moving further away from it, but now it seems that we have to go straight back to it. Contextual advertising is explained simply as ads relevant to the other content on the screen. It’s like advertising a beer in a bar; it’s all about putting content exactly where your customers are. Contextual ads are more relevant and much less creepy than cookie tracked retargeting. The Australian Competition & Consumer Commission explains why it doesn’t collect cookies, and they best explain how cookies can be a collection of personal data. With contextual targeting, the ads your potential customers see are based on the content they’re already looking at instead of tracked behaviour data. The move back to contextual targeting will also mean a move back to focusing on producing and distributing relevant content. Content is the new cookie; folks and businesses need to get serious about baking! Content that works as advertising works because people hate ads, but they love to be informed and entertained. 

  • People-based targeting

A big trend in the digital marketing world is the shift to mobile as a platform for product and service searching in Australia. Mobile as a platform for PPC has already hampered how effective tracked data is for a while now since most mobile devices and apps don’t accept cookies. Cookies are device-specific, so the retargeting trail may go cold if someone switches between different devices or browsers. This is where people-based advertising comes in to close the gap. Facebook introduced this advertising style, and it relies on identifiers that are unique to the user and not the device’s tracking info. This kind of user-specific data mixed up with what available first-party brand data allows brands to target customers in real-time, across devices and channels. 

A world without third-party cookies may seem daunting to digital marketers, but this is old technology and at some point, we were going to advance beyond them. It will take more than just creative thinking; we’ll have to buckle down and develop a strategy that combines all the best tactics – the old and the new. No matter what unfolds, the new and improved strategy will provide more value to consumers from advertising, and all while striking the balance between profit and privacy. This was a natural turn of events because consumers also expect and deserve to choose to be tracked or not and to see ads. So the best thing we can do is make advertising more relevant and less invasive; consumers will likely see its value and choose to allow it in their digital lives. 

No matter what, the consumer needs to be central in the latest shift in marketing, and we have all the necessary expertise to help you navigate that. Take advantage of one of our free strategy sessions on offer while they last, and you’ll see.


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