You’ve probably heard stories in the news about how privacy concerns are causing browsers and operating systems to clamp down on how users are tracked across the web. As a marketer or businessowner, you might be worried about how this will affect your digital advertising campaigns – and you’d be right to. Keep reading to find out everything you need to know.
HTTP cookies are small text files that are placed on your device by your browser when you visit a website. They’re split into two types:
Due to increasing concerns about privacy while browsing online, users are demanding greater transparency and control about what data is collected and how it is used. This, along with legislative changes, is putting pressure on browsers to stop using ‘invasive’ third-party cookies.
The cookieless era is already partially upon us, with Firefox and Safari blocking third-party cookies by default. However, Chrome, which has almost 70% of the browser market share, isn’t set to phase out third-party cookies until late 2023.
For marketers, the loss of third-party cookies will mean losing the ability to retarget ads to previous website visitors or lookalike audiences. It will impair advertisers from building detailed user profiles, which would previously be used for tightly targeting ads to highly relevant segments. From a reporting perspective, it will also prevent marketers from being able to attribute non-last click conversions (e.g., when a user clicks on your ad, then comes back later to make a purchase).
Google are currently working on their new ‘Privacy Sandbox’ solution, which aims to balance users’ desire for privacy with advertisers’ desire to target and track ads effectively. The Privacy Sandbox is made up of several proposals:
The Privacy Sandbox is set to launch in late 2023 to coincide with when Chrome will block third-party cookies by default, so keep your eyes peeled for further updates.
Facebook are also working on an API-based solution, their ‘Conversions API‘ (or ‘CAPI’ for short). Unlike the Facebook Pixel, which is a browser-side tool, the Conversions API is a server-side tool and so does not rely on cookies. This means you should be able to do all the same data tracking and ad targeting as before by sending information directly from your server.
The death of third-party cookies is already well underway. If marketers don’t adapt, the performance of ad campaigns across digital channels will suffer due to the loss of attributed conversions and restrictions on audience targeting.
But all hope is not lost! We can help you maintain – or even improve – your Return on Ad Spend (aka ROAS) by implementing alternative solutions, developing your digital marketing strategy, and getting the most out of your analytics, so you can see tangible improvement to your online performance.