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Like winter, the removal of (third-party) cookies is coming. While we know this affects digital marketing across the board, which marketers need to worry most?
In this post, we’ll walk you through:
Within just the last three years, there have been numerous updates to strengthen the privacy of users on the internet:
More and more browsers are moving away from third-party cookies, with Google planning to deprecate them sometime in 2022.
To understand this shift, you’ll have to know the difference between first-party and third-party cookies.
Why? Only third-party cookies are going away.
This puts an emphasis on the importance of first-party data once you lose the ability to track and target your audience via third-party cookies.
First-party cookies are created by the website you’re visiting.
This enables site owners to store user information to drive more personalized experiences for users. Some examples include:
Third-party cookies are created by websites other than the one you’re visiting.
The data providers who collect third-party data then enable other companies to purchase it to enrich their own datasets or better target specific audience segments. Some examples include:
As a marketer, you rely on the ability to measure your online campaign performance and make changes to your efforts based on third-party data.
You’ve done this for YEARS.
What will you do when your CFO, CMO, or the Board asks about the ROI of your marketing efforts?
You may also rely on tactics like remarketing. Or you have ad fraud software to ensure you’re receiving quality traffic from your search and display campaigns. None of these would be possible without third-party cookies in our current state.
But alternatives are being explored to continue to respect user privacy while maintaining great user experiences…
Many companies are testing new ways to replace third-party cookies with a more anonymous way of tracking, yet still effective. The intention is to respect user privacy and continue to create great user experiences.
Google is testing interest-based cohorts called FLoCs.
Google claims it still tracks 95% of the conversions when compared to cookie-based advertising, but this claim is still being debated as Google hasn’t given much insight into their math.
Regardless, this would track groups of users rather than individual users. It ties into Google’s new browser framework called TURTLEDOVE, which would keep user data in the browser. A more recent proposal is FLEDGE, which incorporates the idea of an independent web server.
The Trade Desk, a demand side media buying platform, is leading the charge in developing Unified ID 2.0 (UID2.0).
UID2.0 is an open source framework that, in lieu of cookies, will leverage user’s anonymized email addresses. This is done via gaining consent by logging into a single specific website or app.
The Trade Desk also suggests that this approach is not only more privacy-first but that it’s also more operable between devices and platforms without increasing effort or frustration from the user.
Here’s a more in depth introduction to UID2.0 directly from the Trade Desk.
Others, like Criteo, have similar proposals.
Criteo’s framework is called SPARROW which would still involve outside servers but it would be an independent third-party. This could keep user data more private and still enable features that could be lost completely with Google’s solution such as remarketing.
Neustar launched Fabrick™. This isn’t necessarily a replacement for third-party cookies, but they’re developing ways using offline data to improve your targeting in a cookie-less world.
We believe most companies should be focusing on their own, first-party data in preparation for privacy-first advertising.
While no one knows for sure exactly how these new solutions will play out, we know that things won’t stay the same as they are today.
At Seer, we like to use a Keep, Start, Stop framework for change management:
What should you KEEP doing?
What should you START doing?
What should you STOP doing?
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