When you hear the word cookie what comes to mind? An afternoon snack, the cookie monster? How about those cool things that suggest new products for you to buy and experiences for you to try out?
For years brands have been using cookies to track website users, helping to improve the consumer experience and overall journey. Data is collected which assists with targeting ads to the appropriate audience and using them to see what our visitors are checking out online when they aren’t on our websites. That is now all about to change (well partly) as third-party cookies will shortly be crumbling away.
Different types of cookies
Did you know cookies are so valuable there are even two types; First-party and third-party? First-party cookies are directly stored by the website or domain that the user is visiting and help companies collect data analytics such as language settings to improve the overall user experience. Third party cookies delve even deeper and are designed to collect more marketing-relevant information such as age, location, gender or user behaviour. This essentially forms a basic profile for each customer, cool right?
So why are third-party cookies going away?
In an era where there is much concern over ‘big brother’ watching you, people are starting to become wary over who has access to their private and personal information. The introduction of GDPR intensified these thoughts and although this law did not specifically mention third-party cookies, it certainly added a new layer to how companies could share and use data.
The future of cookies
We have now entered a new digital dawn. As we all know marketers and advertisers rely heavily on data retrieved from consumers. Last year Google announced plans to phase out the use of third-party cookies and other big names are following suit. A spokesperson for Google Chrome explains “users are demanding greater privacy, including transparency, choice and control over how their data is used and it’s clear the web ecosystem needs to evolve to meet these increasing demands.” The introduction of Google’s Privacy Sandbox back in 2019 certainly paved the way for these upcoming changes. This set out new standards for privacy on the web, enlisting five browser APIs to protect user privacy but still allowing content to remain open and accessible. In essence Sandbox tracks a group of people rather than the individual, without the use of third-party cookies.
Where does that leave marketers and advertisers?
Companies are now being advised to put first-party cookies well, first! One way to do this is by investing in consent management solutions that allow brands to reach valued first-party data while respecting the customers’ privacy and preferences.
Therefore, this upcoming change will give marketers and advertisers across the world the opportunity to get tech savvy and do what they do best, be innovative. Rather than looking at this as a hurdle, this should be seen as an opportunity to discover new ways of reaching out to your database, engaging and conveying your brand message and collecting that all important customer information.