Third-Party Cookie Phase Out: How Are Marketers Preparing For It?

Cookies have long been used by brands to track website visitors, enhance user experience, and create targeted ads for the right audiences. Furthermore, we use them to find out what our visitors do when not on our website.

With Google’s plans to phase out third-party cookies on Chrome browsers by 2023, the way we use cookies and ad-tracking tools could change dramatically. Initial announcements regarding third-party phase-outs were made in February 2020, but Google ramped up the buzz in 2021. Their announcement in late 2021 stated that they will not be building “alternative identifiers” for tracking individuals across the web or implementing them in their products.

Although few will shed tears for Google, the company is in a very difficult position as the one that dominates several markets: web browsers, advertising, and search. By removing third-party tracking, Google causes harm to other companies and potentially increases its own dominance in the advertising industry. On the contrary, the less the search engine cuts off tracking, the more likely it will be accused of not protecting user data. Moreover, whatever it does, it will be heavily criticized by privacy advocates, regulators, publishers, advertisers, and just about anyone else with an interest in the web. 

Spectrum cable is an American telecommunications company. The company is owned by Charter Communications, an American mass media and telecommunications company.

Advertisers will, therefore, be unable to track users on Chrome using third-party cookies. To attribute conversions, retarget site visitors, and cap ad placements, digital advertisers will need to find new ways. Many ad tech companies are now developing solutions for digital advertisers to maintain the same level of performance and tracking. 

In 2023, the digital marketing industry will undergo vast changes, largely due to the end of the controversial third-party cookies. We’ll soon discuss how marketers can prepare for life without third-party cookies, but first, let’s understand what third-party cookies are.

First-Party Cookies

First-party cookies are third-party cookies’ precursors. Typically, first-party cookies are generated by the website the user is on. They are used to remembering basic information, such as the language users prefer and what items they have added to their cart. 

Also, users must agree to first-party cookies before they access the website. This allows for a more customized and better user experience.

Third-Party Cookies

The third-party cookie, on the other hand, is a web cookie that is formed by third parties to track the users’ preferences and buying behavior for online advertising.

Since third-party cookies track and observe users’ online activity and personal details, they have been blasted for abusing users’ privacy. 

In 2021, Apple joined the bandwagon by offering its users the choice to opt-in or out of being tracked across their apps. By doing so, Apple made sure they wouldn’t come under fire for using consumer information without their consent. 

And as already mentioned, Google, too, has announced that Chrome will phase out third-party cookies starting in 2023. Thus, it will shift from being a data facilitator to being a data collector, which simply means that it will use only its own data. 

How Are Marketers Coping with the Death of 3rd Party Cookies?

With all the major changes aimed at protecting consumer privacy, it is no surprise that marketers and advertisers will be most affected. In light of Apple’s recent decision to give consumers the choice to opt-in or opt-out of being tracked, AppsFlyer estimates that up to 75% of consumers are most likely to opt-out of having their personal data tracked and stored. 

Marketers have relied on third-party cookies for many years. It helped them monitor the online activity of users, improve their user experience, and most importantly, helped marketers gather useful consumer insights for creating custom advertising and targeting them effectively. 

Due to the demise of third-party cookies, marketers are left with very little data to work with and have limited access to valuable consumer information. In the long run, these obstructions and limitations prevent businesses from running successful marketing campaigns, which in turn, results in poor leads and conversions. 

Why Do Marketers Love 3rd Party Cookies?

The tracking of third-party cookies is easy if you look at it from the perspective of the user. Nonetheless, it’s not all smooth sailing when you look at it from a marketer’s perspective. These marketers frequently use third-party cookies to reach their target audience and make more informed and better marketing decisions. Third-party cookies are popular with marketers for the following reasons: 

  • A majority of marketers believe that the death of third-party cookies will hinder them from tracking the right data. So, they won’t be targeting a specific audience across multiple digital platforms. But instead will have to make do with the scarce information they have on hand to target an audience who shares similar demographic and behavioral traits. 
  • As a result, marketers will have to increase their advertising expenditures by a whopping 5% – 30% to achieve the same results. 
  • After Apple announced Mail Privacy Protection, which obscures your IP address, preventing marketers from tracking your email open rates, up to 25% of marketers have planned to invest in robust email marketing software. 

What Should Marketers Do Now?

You don’t need to panic. Here are some tips you can use to prepare for the end of third-party cookies: 

Utilizing First-Party Cookies – The Basics

Third-party cookies may be on the way out, but we can go back to first-party cookies, which are still around. With Google’s Customer Match, you can create targeted ads based on the information shared by your customers. 

The first thing you do is create a list of contact information your customers have provided you with. Once your customer match segment is created, you create an appropriate campaign to target it effectively. You can then spread the targeted ads across your users’ different accounts and platforms, including, Gmail, YouTube, and shopping tabs. It’s an effective way to attract new customers who share your current customers’ interests. 

Another useful tool in your marketing toolbox is Facebook’s Custom Audiences. Using your existing customer lists and app or web traffic, you can create tailored ads for people who have been engaged with your brand. 

However, to use these tools, make sure you have a reliable internet connection in place. If in any given case, you don’t, you can call Spectrum Customer Service to subscribe to one of their internet deals. For Spanish-speaking customers, there is a separate Telefono De Spectrum line available for assistance.

Get Users to Share Personal Data

Using third-party cookies is out of the question. Here are a few ways in which you can maximize the use of your first-party cookies as a means of encouraging your users to share information:

You can draw in your target audience with a registered form for online and offline events. You can collect valuable information from a registration form and add it to your current list. 

You should add a subscription pop-up on the landing page of your e-commerce website if you have one. Take, for example, a clothing or jewelry store; you could offer your users a discount of 10% or 15% off their first purchase – a deal users are likely to take advantage of. You can use the data you get from this process to create tailored ads in the future. 

A newsletter is another excellent source of data. Users can choose how they want to be informed, giving you a clear understanding of their preferences. As a clothing store, you can offer customers choices to pick from. Do they want to hear about women’s clothing or men’s clothing? Do they want to be notified about the newest arrivals or just the discounted items? 

Utilize What You Have

Aiming for quality as well as quantity when collecting data is the goal. Your energy and efforts would be better spent working with the data you do have instead of stressing about the data you don’t have. 

To optimize your marketing strategy, it is crucial to work with people who can go through your current data and refine it. Besides regularly refreshing your contact list to eliminate futile, redundant contacts. These people will also implement an automated system by which contacts, who haven’t responded to your emails, campaigns, or messages for a long time will automatically be deleted.  

Consumers having the option to cancel subscriptions sounds dismal, but at least you know that those who opt out weren’t the ones you needed in the first place. 

Those who opt-in, however, are the contacts you would like to hang onto because they are consenting to the use of their data without violating the legislation. Contacts like these will boost and improve your database’s quality. 

Not All Cookies Are Being Banned

We mentioned earlier in this blog that third-party cookies pose a threat, not first-party cookies. Thus, you can rest assured that your cookie-centric marketing strategies won’t be discarded after all! 

Google is only planning to stop gathering third-party cookie data, so first-party cookies are safe as it was announced in 2021. Marketers can continue their advertising efforts with the help of first-party cookies. 

Google Will Not Stop Tracking People

Despite Google’s commitment not to track users individually, this does not mean that they will not be tracked at all. Using FLoC (Federated Learning of Cohorts), Google has gleaned stunning insights from its web tracking system. FLoC categorizes users into cohorts based entirely on their browsing history. 

How Digital Advertising Can Still Work without Cookies?

Fortunately, the world is not over with the removal of third-party cookies. To connect with your target audience, what can replace tracking cookies? The following is one suggestion: 

People-Based Targeting 

In view of the fact that most mobile devices and apps do not accept cookies, cookies have become a challenging marketing tool. The retargeting trail is lost when a user switches from their work computer to their mobile device, or even when they navigate from one browser to another on the same device. 

Person-based targeting can help here. Advertisers can reach users using first-party cookies across multiple channels and devices by targeting the person, not the device.

Wrapping Up

We see change everywhere around us, and the digital landscape is no exception. Change brings the ability to adapt and prosper, but it also creates the possibility of dissolution. Marketers must decide which path they prefer to follow. 

Third-party cookies will cease to exist unavoidably, bringing about drastic, even uncomfortable, changes that marketers simply cannot ignore. 

To cope with third-party cookies’ departure, we must first accept first-party data and use it fully to provide consumers with personalized content without violating privacy. Companies will be able to generate high ROI without invading users’ privacy in this way.

As a marketer, you need to learn and understand new targeting methods. You may also need to implement new marketing tools in your business to track and gather information about customers’ buying behavior. However, to use these tools, you would need to call Spectrum Customer Service to get access to their fast and reliable internet connection. If you’re a Spanish-speaking customer, you can connect with the Spectrum Servicio Al Cliente for assistance.