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The End of Third-Party Cookies | Google Chrome Cookie Update | Infinity Nation

The way your brand currently acquires new customers from platforms like Google Ads and Facebook is changing for good, from 2022.

Media costs are likely to rise and without significant investment in resourcing new teams to generate server-side platforms and create your own 3rd party cookie data, your KPIs are likely to take a hit from what you would previously class as your ‘banker’ channels.

There is light at the end of the tunnel. You can control your own destiny, but it requires action now, to use your existing 1st party and customer data to fill your own cookie jar before the end of 2021.
Read on to find out more…

04th Mar 2021
Stacey Wilson Client Services Director 04th March 2021

Are you filling your own cookie jar?

Executive Summary

The way your brand currently acquires new customers from platforms like Google Ads and Facebook is changing for good, in 2022.

Media costs are likely to rise and without significant
investment in resourcing new teams to generate server-side platforms and create
your own 3rd party cookie data, your KPIs are likely to take a hit from what you would previously class as your ‘banker’ channels.

There is light at the end of the tunnel. You can control
your own destiny, but it requires action now, to use your existing 1st party and customer data to fill your own cookie jar before the depreciation of 3rd party cookies, anticipated at the end of 2021.

Read on to find out more…

Didn’t we do this in 2012?

Well, that’s when it all started. The advertising industry all learnt what a cookie was and overnight cookie policies and privacy banners were popping up all over the place.

Fast forward 9 years and you could be forgiven for not knowing that Google Chrome is joining the list of web browsers who will cease using third party cookies at the end of 2021. After all, what a year we have all had!

Ironically – in 2020 you probably worked your ecommerce channels harder than they have ever worked before. Brands who had a small online presence looked to the little guy over the last year and have watched ecommerce blossom and in many cases pick up the slack for the whole business, trading directly with the end consumer and boosting bottom line revenues, while other sales channels have been under huge restrictions.

2021 has started strong for many retailers – we’re still in a national lockdown and for many brands; online is still king. Investment is being made into website platforms and ecommerce teams are growing. Online ranges are expanding and all the while, we are blissfully unaware that
the very methods we are using to acquire these new customers are no longer
going to be available to us in their current form, at the end of this year.

 

What’s the deal?

1st party vs 3rd party cookies

1st party cookies are used on retailers’ websites. They store (useful) information like your password for a site, or items you have added to a retail basket, or what pages of a site you visited last time to display a more personal experience on subsequent visits.

3rd party cookies are anonymised strings of random text or code stored on a web browser which build up a picture of an individual’s browsing behaviour.

3rd party cookies vs 3rd party data

Don’t worry, you aren’t losing the ability to purchase lists of data or losing the ability to contact your own customers. Cookies and data aren’t the same thing.

3rd party data is the information held within platforms such as membership schemes, loyalty points schemes, email subscriber databases etc.

So, where did it all go wrong?

The bottom line is that we, in the advertising industry did
such a shoddy job of explaining to people what cookie data was are and how we
actually use it, that people have built up a misconception and now tech giants
are being forced to cease trading in cookie data due to privacy concerns of the
public.

While we can delete our cookie data, we are unable to delete
or manage servers holding 3rd party data (i.e.) that already
collected from our browsing habits. Platforms like Google had to give consumers
choices on how their data was collected and stored, but the consumer demanded even
greater control which has led to the death of the cookie.

Essentially if we do a better job at explaining to the consumer what advertising is, then we will be in a better position to control our own marketing techniques and channels of communication with them in the future. 

Google will just find another way to keep collecting this
data, right?

Kinda.

While it won’t just delete all its customers’ data, the cookie data that has been anonymously collected via Google chrome, will be deleted from its servers at the end of 2021.

The data that Google will retain (and presumably continue using to feed its own advertising targeting strategies with) will reduce significantly. The remaining data will be held within Google’s walled garden of logged in customers using Google products (gmail, youtube, photos etc). This in itself has come under scrutiny in the press, with Google being accused of still
having significant data control
over the market, and use for its own
monetary gain through its ad platforms (Google Display Network, Google Ads
etc).

Here’s the latest blog from Google on its.privacy Sandbox

The sandbox sounds like a ‘safe place’ for all Google's customer data (logged in browsing habits) to be held, and then smushed into anonymised ‘segments’ of behaviour. It is highly likely that this will allow Google products to continue offering similar levels of targeting and retargeting that it does now.

So what’s the impact for ecommerce retailers?

  • From 2022 advertisers will not be able to access 'pools' of 3rd party cookies for behavioural targeting
  • Chrome will cease to collect cookie data on its browser and Google will delete its data from its servers 
  • The smaller pools of data that exist remain in the hands of a few tech giants (or walled gardens). As the data pools won't be growing via 3rd party cookie data, this will be in higher demand
  • Cost per thousand impressions (CPMs) and cost per clicks (CPCs) for data with any targeting overlay are likely to rise significantly
  • Smaller brands without tagging and developer resources will be hit hard as they are unlikely to be able to afford server-side platforms that compete with the bigger publishers and brands. 

What can you do about it, right now?

Start filling up your own cookie jar.

We don’t mean hire a team of adops executives and developers. More simply just make your current customer data count.

Retailers are literally sitting on goldmines and by using your 1st party data effectively, now to understand channel behaviour and acquisition trends, you can maximise media performance in the remaining 9 months of this year while cookie targeting options are still available.

Segment your database – understand your RFM (recency, frequency, monetary) segments, who your best customers are. 

Design pen portraits. Get to know your great customers
better and enrich their data to keep them interested when the whole industry
turns to bombarding their opt in databases with 1st party channel
messaging (like email, DM etc) from 01st January 2022!

Final tips:

1. When forecasting your channels into 2022, increase your media costs.

It is highly likely that to buy the same inventory, it will cost you more, or your performance will drop as a result of losing targeting options. 

2. Focus on the customer experience and creative.

Make more effort to connect with your customer. In the absence of 3rd party data, connection is key to set your brand apart and drive new in-market potential customers to your site – where you can convert them to 1st
party data ??.

3. Find a platform that stitches together your Google Analytics (1st party cookie) data with your CRM data

Understand your own customer behaviours, by channel before it is too late to gain an accurate picture. Many of our clients are already using this powerful combination to great success.

Contact us today to explore how you can take control and fill up your own cookie jar.

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