Imagine the frustration of opening a cookie jar only to find it empty. That’s how many web-savvy marketers are feeling about the impending death of 3rd party cookie collection that will affect Chrome browsers by 2023.
Google’s Chrome browser will soon join Safari and Firefox in phasing out the collection of 3rd party cookies. Chrome presently represents nearly 60% of the browser market, so this decision will have a notable impact.
Delaying the Death of the Cookie
Google originally announced plans to phase out Chrome’s collection of 3rd party cookies in February 2020 in response to growing privacy concerns. This came after the Court of Justice of the European Union ruled in October 2019 that internet users in European Union nations must give consent to the placement of any web-tracking or analytics cookies.
Not surprisingly, marketers and advertisers had immediate concerns, since many use 3rd party cookies. The death of the cookie has since been postponed, giving marketers time to consider other options. Here’s what you need to know to prepare yourself before it goes away for good.
Some Cookies Will Remain
Chrome will not ban all cookies. The 1st party cookies that enhance the user experience by remembering preferences, passwords, and basic data about what the user did while visiting will remain intact. Analytics gathered from 1st party cookies have the potential to automate or tailor effective marketing campaigns and strategies.
By comparison, 3rd party cookies get placed on a visitor’s computer as they browse various websites to track preferences and general web-surfing habits and online behavior. Such information, when gathered as aggregated data, offers a bonanza for advertisers. This type of tracking that has allowed companies to develop retargeting lists will soon disappear.
To replace 3rd party cookies, Google announced the Privacy Sandbox open-standards initiative to encourage web privacy while keeping user data away from tech firms and ad agencies that might want to collect, control, and sell it.
Partnering with Influencers: A New Cookie Brand
New social media trends — especially those popular with Millennials and Gen-Z — offer an alternative. Smart companies can target specific campaigns with influencers who have a wealth of 1st cookie data from their followers that could be legally shared in an anonymized and aggregated form.
Advertisers do not have to spend big bucks chasing down mega-influencers. A nano-influencer may have only a few thousand followers, but they tend to be quite loyal.
Influencer marketing (IM) works when the connection is made with people who value a product or brand. Cementing this deep IM connection brings returns, even if the influencer’s audience may be small at this point in time.
Important steps to consider:
- Embrace the potential of IM initiatives.
- Seek and align with IM partners that have connections with a target audience that is specific to your niche.
- Work with influencers whose recommendations about products will have even greater impact than traditional ads, especially among the up-and-coming Millennial and Gen-Z cohorts.
- Develop consumer display retargeting initiatives that build messages around influencers popular with your target niche.
- Remember that IM is a closer relationship than grabbing some 3rd party cookies, and consider site retargeting initiatives with customers already familiar with your brand.