In 2021, Google announced it was going to stop using third-party cookies in its Chrome browser. That statement frightened digital marketers everywhere, who worried they couldn’t obtain the amount of consumer data necessary to run effective marketing campaigns.
However, it’s now 2023, and Google has pushed this plan back twice, saying third-party cookies will remain until 2024. Other browsers, including Bing and Firefox, don’t allow third-party cookies on their platforms and haven’t for years. However, neither one gets near the traffic that Google commands.
While third-party cookies may go away soon, marketers have other alternatives. Here’s what to know about the future of digital marketing.
1. You’ll Still Retain All Your First-Party Data
Third-party cookies benefit marketers by providing information about consumers’ browsing habits outside their websites. Through a third-party cookie, it was possible to learn what customers shopped for, what websites they frequented, and demographic details.
Marketers won’t be able to access a consumer’s browsing activity without third-party cookies. However, they’ll still be privy to all the first-party data a customer provides.
First-party data includes information about how a customer interacts with your website, such as:
- How long they spend on your webpages
- What they click on
- Items they add to their shopping cart
- Their general geographic location
All this information will still be available. However, you won’t have access to any activities they perform on domains that you don’t own.
2. Governments Are Getting Concerned About Data Privacy Issues
In 2019, the EU ruled that all website administrators must provide an opt-in for residents to accept or deny before tracking them through third-party cookies. Known as the GDPR, the legislation prevents advertisers from tracking website visitors across different domains without their consent.
In the past, visiting a website was considered implicit consent to track customers, but that no longer applies. California implemented a similar ruling for its residents, requiring companies to obtain their full consent before monitoring them through third-party cookies.
Other governments may follow suit. That’s why it is critical to stay abreast of changes in digital marketing that impact cookies.
3. There May Be Other Alternatives to Third-Party Cookies on the Horizon
Massive data aggregators like Facebook and Google hold lots of information about consumers. They may make that data available to marketers who want to cultivate robust marketing campaigns.
Both companies already have some information available for businesses. For instance, Facebook’s lookalike audiences can show ads to people who fit a similar profile to those who previously purchased from your website or fit a customized audience you select. Similarly, Google’s pay-per-click ads allow you to target customers based on keywords they search for and other factors, like their geographic location.
The third-party cookie could soon be completely gone. If this happens, marketers may look to these solutions as the future of digital marketing.
The Future of Digital Marketing Is Always Evolving
While third-party cookies are going away, that doesn’t mean you won’t have other options to consider for your marketing strategies. Building up a robust database of first-party data can help. You might also turn to aggregated data solutions from Google and Facebook.