Google Is Betting On a Cookie-Less World—What Does This Mean for You and the Digital Marketing Industry?

Jul. 09 2021

On Tuesday, January 14, 2020, Google announced its plans to phase out third-party cookies by 2022. Of course, this comes as no surprise since they announced their new initiative to develop a set of open standards called Privacy Sandbox in August 2019. This news sent shockwaves throughout the marketing ecosystem since Google accounts for 64% of browser traffic, as noted by Statcounter. As the debate about user privacy continues, we’ll have to contend with how these changes will affect online marketing as a whole. 

That said, what do these changes mean for you as a LeadsMarket publisher partner, and what can you do to prepare?

As Privacy Concerns Grow, Changes Will Come

As the conversation of user privacy continues to evolve, tech companies and lawmakers are striving to find a balance to keep online advertisers and consumers satisfied when conceptualizing privacy policy. One of the most prevalent questions we’re facing is what user privacy should look like since there’s a real fear among consumers regarding their online privacy and how brands use their data to market to them. After Facebook’s Cambridge Analytica scandal in 2018, there’s been a definite push to pass laws and regulations to address these concerns. We’ve already seen similar changes within the Cookie space, like the GDPR Cookie Consent update and California’s CCPA, both entering into effect in 2018. Other big players in Tech Industry, like Apple and Microsoft, are having similar conversations about consumer privacy and are making moves in this regard.

As Google’s latest move to drop third-party cookies is part of that ongoing dialogue, it has yet to receive widespread approval. There’s a growing number of critics pointing out that while ensuring that customer experience is a top priority, Google would be trampling over smaller advertisers and publishers. They own wildly successful, first-party data-hungry brands like YouTube, Google Accounts, Google Search, and Google Maps. Critics are also concerned that these Tech Giants are using consumers’ privacy fears to tighten their grip on the web and exert major control over the online marketing ecosystem.

While that fact remains to be seen, Google’s changes to third-party cookies are coming. If they are doing away with third-party cookies, what are the other options? 

What Cookie Alternatives is Google Implementing?

While they’ve had to push back its release date to the end of 2023, Google is proposing an even bigger shift to first-party cookies and APIs to fill that void. As stated in their blog post, they’re hedging their bets on first-party cookies to provide advertisers and publishers with the tools they need to create successful campaigns.

You may be asking yourself what’s the difference between first-party cookies and third-party cookies, so here’s a quick breakdown.

Both first-party and third-party cookies work similarly since they track users as they browse the web—the difference is how they obtain their data. First-party cookies are created and stored by the website you are visiting directly, while third-party cookies aren’t. Third-party cookies aren’t created by the domain owner and are injected into the website code. Since the domain owner doesn’t own them, any publisher with access to that code can see and use that data for cross-site tracking, remarketing, and ad targeting.

As for the APIs we mentioned earlier, Google has stated that they’ll use the following techniques to gather data without tracking individuals:

  • Use Data Aggregation to maintain anonymity within a large group of conversions.
  • Limit the amount of data you can obtain so you can’t obtain the personal information behind each conversion.
  • Including random data to the reported data to obscure an individual’s information.

While these are subject to change as this situation continues to develop, here’s what we’re doing to prepare.

What’s LeadsMarket doing to adapt to a Cookie-Less World?

While Google’s announcement is startling, it isn’t our first rodeo. Another Tech Giant, Apple, beat Google to the punch by completely removing third-party cookies in March 2020 with an update for their Safari Intelligent Tracking Prevention privacy feature. As a result, we created first-party cookie solutions to meet the demand. Our offers already include one-click solutions that engage directly with consumers. Our accessible form templates allow users to input their data directly and obtain user consent—no need for some third-party tracking software! These forms also allow for your list management software to use audience segmentation for targeting specific audiences. Additionally, our first-party data strategy is tried and tested, so whenever Google finally implements these changes, you’ll be ready!  We’ve also added a first-party conversion tracking mechanism that allows you to monitor the performance of your pay-per-click ads accurately.

If you haven’t used our first-party cookie offers, now’s the time to start! That way, you’re making sure that you’re prepared for when Google pulls the plug. Additionally, our team is always developing new and innovative products and ideas to help you create your best campaign yet—there’s always something new on the horizon from us!

Final Thoughts

While this change seems pretty radical, it wasn’t completely unprecedented. As the dialogue of online privacy and protecting consumer’s rights continues to evolve and shift, we’ll see where that takes our industry and adapt to the changes. That said, changes, as daunting as they might be, are a fundamental part of the marketing industry, with digital advertising being no exception. Your customer base may change, the platforms you use can cease to exist, and many other things can happen. One thing that’s for certain is that you can always count on LeadsMarket to stay ahead of the Advertising Bell curve. We’re always innovating and finding new ways to push the envelope!