The shift towards giving online users more privacy has gathered momentum over the past couple of years. The latest digital tool to fall foul of these changes is the third-party cookie. Online cookies have been used by organisations for a while now to track website visitors and collect data. However, the latest announcement from Google indicates that some cookies are on the way out and likely to be phased out completely this year.

What’s actually happening to cookies?

Google has announced that third-party cookies will be phased out on Chrome browsers by 2022. This was actually announced back in 2020 so it’s not a big shock. What is different, however, is that Google also announced that it wasn’t going to replace cookies with ​​ & alternate identifiers to track individuals as they browse across the web, nor will we use them in our products. There has been plenty of negative reaction to this change with 41% of marketers, for example, identifying the biggest challenge as being able to track the right data without cookies. Many businesses are starting to look at strengthening ways to gather data in other areas, for example investing more in email marketing.

What do you need to know about the phase out?

The ban only relates to third-party cookies – this is probably the most important piece of information to absorb from the change. First-party cookies that track key data about your own website’s visitors won’t be affected. It’s also interesting to note that, while Google has been clear that it won’t be investing in technology that tracks users on an individual level anymore, it is still going to put resources into finding alternatives. That includes technology, such as FloC, that tracks groups of people.

How can you prepare for the phase out?

  • Stay on top of the latest changes. It’s important to keep looking out for new options when it comes to third-party cookies, as this is changing all the time.
  • Look at alternatives. If your strategy currently relies heavily on third-party data then start looking at ways that you could change this. For example, Google’s Privacy Sandbox is worth investigating, as it could provide your business with valuable alternatives when it comes to ad targeting. You could also look at the options for focusing more on first-party, as opposed to third-party, data.
  • How can you still reach your audience without hyper-targeted ads etc? It’s worth thinking about the options that are available to you even without the latest software. Any innovative marketing mind should always be considering whether the business has become too reliant on certain technology – or what the alternatives are if a certain strategy gets regulated.
  • Consider older strategies. For example, contextual advertising will enable you to circulate PPC ads on websites that rank for similar keywords – if you’re selling yoga kit, for example, your ads could show up on yoga-related websites.

Google’s phase out of third party cookies will see the search giant taking a stand for individual privacy – and could lay the groundwork for a new approach to the way marketing is targeted. To find out how Iconic Digital can help your business rank higher on search engines, get in touch today and call us on 020 7100 0726. Find out more about our Search Engine Optimisation Agency in London.