Prepare Now for Google’s Slow Ban of Third-Party Cookies

Google's ban of third party cookies

Last summer Firefox joined Safari to block the use of third-party cookies in their browsers. Google’s ramping up to join them, but the internet giant plans to take a slower more measured approach. However gradual Google’s implementation maybe, a ban of third-party cookies can impact your digital marketing effectiveness. 

First Party Vs Third Party Cookies

First party cookies that track our movement through their own website help make for a more pleasant user experience. When your website offers suggested reading material or remembers a product your customer viewed on their last visit, it makes it easier for the customer to move down the conversion funnel. Google, FireFox, and Safari continue to allow your website to use these cookies. You may also use this tracking to retarget your customers based on their activity on your website.

Third-party cookies track a user through your website and any other websites they visit. These cookies have received some criticism especially with more intense looks at privacy. Because Google receives the lion’s share of its revenue from ads, it’s obvious why they would be reluctant to put a hard stop to all third-party cookies.

Re-Enter Contextual Marketing

Many digital ad sources rely on behavioral data from third-party cookies. When you schedule Google display ads to target people who have an interest in small business, your ads may show up on a variety of sites that have nothing to do with small business, but they follow the people who have shown an interest in the topic. Contextual ads are based on keywords and specific searches by the user. Now instead of ads aimed at small business owners on fishing sites, you’ll be more likely to find ads about bait or boats.

Contextual marketing means you’ll deliver more relevant ads to users which should increase click-through-rates and the overall effectiveness of your marketing.

Our Take

We’ve run retargeting campaigns for several of our clients over the years, but have found the results to be more expensive without more ROI than more general campaigns. Many of the clients we represent are medical clinics, and there’s some concern about HIPAA compliance with retargeting campaigns.

Large, national companies that focus their substantial budgets on narrowing an audience by behavior will see some challenges as they tweak their strategies. Companies that target larger, more general audiences in rural locations will likely not experience as many of those challenges. In many rural areas, narrowing the market by behavior leaves them too small an audience to target.

Using your own data has always been the best way to retarget customers and prospects. We encourage all our clients to collect email addresses that can be used for retargeting through social media and email marketing campaigns. Company websites can be great sources of first-party data as well.

As the twenty-five-year-old cookie technology begins its farewell tour, we’re working with our clients to create strategies to use contextual clues and content marketing to draw the right customers to their websites and social media pages. If you’re not using paid social or pay-per-click advertising to attract new customers to your business, now’s the time to start. We can help. Contact us to learn more.

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