Third-Party Cookies Are Stopping | Now What?

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Google is getting rid of third-party cookies, but is in the phases of testing replacement technology.

After more than two decades, third-party cookies — or the small files that advertisers use to monitor your browsing history and serve targeted ads — are disappearing.

By 2023, marketers won’t be able to track customers using those cookies, largely because Google is phasing out those trackers on the Chrome browser, as the notorious tracking technology has become unpopular with the public over the years.

Mozilla Firefox and Apple Safari block third-party cookies, but Google Chrome has allowed them to stay until now.

Roughly two-thirds of all internet users use Google Chrome, and unlike browsers like Safari or Firefox, it allows third-party trackers on its platform.

Since 2020, Google has worked on several new potential replacement systems, but those proposals still hold data and privacy concerns.

Google will still be able to track users through data collected from its services such as Maps, Search, or Youtube.

The company said the changes only apply to websites’ ad tools and unique identifiers. Google will also still track and target users on mobile devices.

Since Chrome accounts for around 60% of the web browser market share, not only are cookies disappearing, but so is a vast source of consumer data.

However, consumers are looking forward to this change, which means more privacy as they surf the web.

But the end of third-party cookies does not mean the end of tracking – and the need for true end-user consent to process personal data will persist long after third-party cookies and the technologies replacing them.

Google’s plan to phase out third-party cookies in Chrome is part of a larger strategy of creating a privacy sandbox with open standards for tracking users while protecting their privacy (e.g., through new browser APIs like trust tokens), but it’s facing heavy challenges in the forms of antitrust investigations from the EU Commission and the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA).

This blog post looks at the implications around the end of third-party cookies in Chrome, the misunderstandings, and why consent is the platform for compliant tracking now and in the future.

This blog explores the future solutions that benefit advertisers while at the same time increasing user privacy.

What Is A Cookie?

Cookies have been around for a long time – approximately 30 years – and are a staple in digital advertising.

Used by several internet browsers, cookies target and track customers on a one-to-one basis.

This includes tracking website visitors, collecting data, ad serving, retargeting and cross-site tracking. Most importantly, they help you drive direct bookings to your website.

First-Party Data

First-party cookies are created and used by a single domain, and they do not collect or transmit data to third parties.

Third-Party Cookie

Third-party cookies are small pieces of data stored on an internet user’s browser. These cookies contain third-party data, such as user identification.

You can use third-party cookies combined with tracking scripts for retargeting, user tracking, and conversion attribution.

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Second Party Cookie

A second-party cookie is transferred from one company to another via a data partnership. 

An example of second-party data would be buying a car and then receiving emails from Sirius Radio, most likely because the car dealer sold your data as the first party to the radio company as the second party.

Why Is Third-Party Data Important?

Understanding your user and the specifics of their unique shopping journey will allow you to insert your advertising where and when it’s most relevant and helpful.

Your target audience may respond to this type of marketing better since it’s contextual.

Is Google Chrome The First Company To Get Rid of Third Party Cookies?

In June 2021, Google announced it would phase out third-party cookies in late 2023, with new tracking technology to replace them.

Given the widespread use of Google Chrome, the advertising industry may wonder how they can still serve personalized ads and reach consumers in a post-cookie world.

While marketing teams have other digital advertising options, they may need to adopt new technologies.

Although this move does cause concern, Google and other browsers have still taken a stand for user privacy.

As privacy laws continue to arise, this might be a great opportunity to look at other less-vulnerable advertising alternatives in case another governance renders one of your marketing tactics or processes obsolete.

Still, Google isn’t the first company to phase out third-party cookies due to privacy concerns.

Apple eliminated them from Safari and requires applications to get user permission before tracking activity.

How Does The Situation Impact Advertising Strategies?

Without proper tracking capabilities, advertisers will not be willing to invest as much in digital advertising.

Simply put, brands want to show ads to those interested in their products, and are willing to pay a much higher price for potential customers.

With lower digital advertising inventory due to a lack of tracking, publishers will have to find other ways to generate revenue. Most likely for a subscription-based payment model.

How Will Google's Decision Affect Marketers?

When Google announced its decision to end third-party cookies, many marketers worried they wouldn’t be able to track the right data anymore.

Yet, the end of Google’s third-party cookies doesn’t mean marketers lack options; they should adjust their strategies to use customer-provided data directly.

Some of the latest ideas introduced include all-new approaches to make sure ads are still relevant, but the user data shared with advertisers and websites is minimized.

This happens by anonymously aggregating user information and keeping the information on user devices.

The removal of third-party cookies may also change the digital landscape.

More brands are looking into contextual advertising and good management of first-party cookies as an alternative. This could increase new ways of digital marketing.

Google Topics API

In place of third-party cookies, Google proposes Topics, a privacy-friendly alternative. 

Using a browser-based system assigns a user a set of interests depending on the websites they have visited.

Google plans to test Topics in Chrome in the coming months, and the system could change based on feedback. Then there’s the competition issue.

The smaller number of interests assigned to people could potentially hand yet more power to Google in an online advertising industry it already dominates.

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Investigation of Google's Privacy Sandbox

While blocking third-party cookies may seem like dire news, you don’t have to rebuild your marketing strategy from the ground up.

Google has already created a solution and introduced new technologies that provide insights, just like third-party cookies.

Recently, Google announced the launch of the Privacy Sandbox. 

This technology protects user privacy online by reducing cross-site and cross-app tracking while keeping online content free for everyone.

The idea has been met with controversy, leading to an investigation by the Competition and Markets Authority earlier this year.

The CMA intervened on behalf of user privacy after Google announced the technology implications.

Google’s Privacy Sandbox, the CMA said, will promote competition and support publishers to raise revenue from ads while safeguarding user privacy.

Though the details remain uncertain, it’s clear that solutions from Google’s Privacy Sandbox will not be enough.

To effectively target at scale in the post-cookie world, it’s necessary to adopt a portfolio of approaches that includes solutions to intelligently target ads without clear identifiers.

Removing targeted advertising will impact everyone; internet users, digital advertisers, and publishers.

Without proper tracking capabilities, advertisers will not be willing to invest as much in digital advertising.

The Federated Learning of Cohorts

FLoC is another new technology by Google. User data is collected and organized into groups instead of creating individual profiles.

These groups would share similar interests and receive ads based on their shared interests. This is the alternative method to tracking the browser history of individual users.

At this point, Google will share user profiles with various advertising companies. This also allows Google to allow targeted ads while keeping control of the data.

Some critics have stated Google is just finding new ways to infringe on user privacy. It’s also been said that the new approach by Google may cause predatory targeting and discrimination.

IndexedDB API

IndexedDB provides a generic API for storing structured data, such as files and blobs, on the client-side. High-performance searches can be performed using this API using indexes.

This technology makes it possible to save data on a user’s device from browsers (as cookies do).

What Are Trust Tokens?

To help combat fraud, Trust Tokens is an API that allows websites to transmit a limited amount of data between contexts (for example, across sites) without passive tracking.

The trust token API would allow websites and advertisers to only know about users to a certain level and block attempts to know users individually, unlike Google’s third-party cookies today.

However, Google’s proposal for trust tokens still means that users will have to give out personal data with other APIs in the Privacy Sandbox (such as Google’s Federated Learning of Cohorts or FLoC).

How Does Kennected Collect Data?

Kennected’s Director of Sales Enablement, Jacob-Narson, provided illuminating details on how the company accesses data for use and how we leverage those details.

Kennected accesses its customer data publicly as it’s automatically shared publicly through LinkedIn connection requests and additional interactions.

But this process is already happening when LinkedIn users register with the platform.

When you enter your name, email address, phone number, etc., LinkedIn gains access to those contact details.

LinkedIn is a business-specific communications platform meaning its intended use is to get in touch with people you connect with.

LinkedIn’s user agreement details the legalities of information used, which we’ll briefly cover below.

When you accept someone’s connection request, your contact and additionally provided information is legally public with the other person, meaning they can leverage it for marketing efforts.

It’s considered a valid opt-in for Kennected marketing.

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How Does Kennected Leverage This Data?

With the publicly available information, Kennected can take provided information and market it via email, text messaging, and even find them via other platforms.

This aspect is something many people don’t realize or forget. When it comes to leveraging the data collected in the best way, there’s a method we’ve found to work.

If you connect with someone on LinkedIn, and they blow up your inbox, you’re likely to ignore their messages. However, consider this:

  • Connect with someone via LinkedIn

  • They email you a couple of days later

  • They appear as a suggested friend on Facebook

Whatever the marketing offer was, it’s likely to stick with the customer. So how do we accomplish this?

Kennected utilizes third-party tools for data housekeeping, data warehousing, data cleansing, etc.

These tools store, sort, and fact-check the data for us to feel confident our automation will not misfire and send an email to your personal email address instead of your business email.

Hop-On The Kennected Train

According to HubSpot, 61% of companies name their top marketing challenge is generating traffic and leads.

If you’re part of that 61%, keep reading because what you’re about to discover could be a game-changer for you and your business (like it has for thousands of people before you).

So many business owners & sales professionals that come to us are struggling to get ahead because they’re stuck relying on referrals, lead lists, or manual prospecting.

This is taking up too much of their time and isn’t creating the consistent income they’re looking for to fund the lifestyle they want for themselves and their families.

Four years ago, the founders of Kennected had the same struggles. They found that lead generation was way too complicated, expensive, and time-consuming, knowing there had to be a better way.

So they developed a new way of getting qualified leads that turn into new customers on the #1 platform for B2B lead generation… LinkedIn.

In the four years since we developed this lead gen strategy, we’ve earned a spot on the Inc. 5,000 list of Fastest Growing Companies in America.

And more importantly, it helped over 17,000 businesses get new leads and sales for THEIR businesses.

Want to see how it works?

Click here to see how you can use Kennected to fill your sales pipeline with qualified leads in less than 10 minutes per day.

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