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Surviving Without Cookies: How Marketers Can Prepare for a Third-Party Cookie-Less World

How Marketers Can Prepare for a Third-Party Cookie-Less World
June 17, 2021

Surviving Without Cookies: How Marketers Can Prepare for a Third-Party Cookie-Less World

Jun 17, 2021
Devyani Paliwal
Devyani is an ACJ graduate with a bachelors in English Literature. A voracious reader since her school days, cinema aficionado and music enthusiast, she has been doing content writing for some time now.

When last year in January, Google had announced that there are plans to phase out third-party cookies from Chrome, there was a wave of unease among all the marketers, users, and tech companies. Cookies play an important role in helping advertisers and others in getting to know their users. 

The vital role that cookies play in interpreting consumer behavior, their actions, and attribution, all work together in helping advertisers provide personalized experiences and even carry out successful marketing campaigns cannot be denied. 

Google to Phase Third-Party Cookies

Source: The Internet Protocol

These cookies are responsible for the impeccably timed ads that you so often receive and are always left wondering about they ended up there. According to the news released by Google, they are planning to phase it out by the year 2022. 

Further, since Microsoft Edge is also based on the Chromium technology by Google, it will naturally then affect Edge users as well. Even Apple's Safari browser and MozillaFirefox, which have already blocked them out, just add to the notion that cookies are well and truly going to be out soon. 

What is a Cookie?

Our understanding of cookies is extremely limited and the first thing that most of us remember whenever we think of cookies is that box that comes at the end of the page. The one that asks whether or not we accept the cookies present on the website. 

However, the work that cookies do is pretty layered. To put it in simple words, a cookie can be considered as a packet containing information of all the web users that let the website remember who they are and what they like. 

These can be temporary, or permanent, depending upon the amount of information they are collecting. If they are only collecting it for a single or couple of sessions, they are temporary. With their help, information such as saved logins, items in a shopping cart, preferences, and so on on a website are stored. 

To understand third-party cookies, you need to understand the two types of cookies: 

1st Party Cookies

These are created by the websites that the users visit. 1st party cookies are those that store information regarding that specific website such as your password, preferences, etc.

3rd Party Cookies

External websites create these cookies so that information can be collected. For instance, if someone reads an article on a website on some media website, where an ad is already present, the company responsible for posting that ad might use the user's information. Even though it is someone else's website. 

Third Party Cookies Process

Source: Bounteous

How will it affect Digital Marketers and Agencies?

As third-party cookies give access to such a plethora of information, it allows agencies and marketers to carry out cross-site as well as cross-app tracking. This in turn leads to enhanced targeting practices and a much more personalized experience for the users. 
But with the imminent phasing out of third-party cookies, this will become a challenge. As in, the process of retargeting and determining and analyzing customer behavior will now become hard. 

Moreover, the cost of acquiring customers (CACS) and even return on ad spend (ROAS) will also most probably take a hit for several agencies. But as we have mentioned before, with Mozilla Firefox and Safari already having banned third-party cookies, this has been in the works for some time. 

In fact, Mozilla stopped supporting third-party cookies as long back as 2013. According to a study, conducted in 2017, as many as 64% of the advertisers' tracking cookies had been blocked or deleted by the search engine. 

How can Marketers adapt? 

With the change in the data retrieval process just around the corner, there are several ways that marketers can adopt to adapt to the imminent situation: 

Make use of first-party data

Marketers can make use of the horde of information they already have at hand. This refers to all the data they collect from their own sources with the help of first-party cookies that are stored directly on the website.  

It is after all considered the best source of procuring data as it is collected with the help of your own audience. To get this data, you can audit your company's CRM as well as website analytics, and sales tools. 

Leverage declared data

Considered one of the richest sources through which you can get the information of customers is declared data. This is the data that users or customers willingly provide through one-on-one engagements. 

This is therefore the most accurate source as well. It will help marketers in understanding exactly the type of products they want to buy, their desires as well as demographics. Over 50% of customers happily give information to personalize their experience. 

Make optimal use of email marketing

Email Marketing

As third-party cookies bid adieu, email marketing will become more important for marketers than ever. Even though it is decades old, it remains one of the most effective channels of digital marketing with among the highest ROIs (return on investment). 

But the primary factor is that it is a completely cookie-free marketing tactic but helps in cultivating long-lasting relationships with the customers, and even understanding them better. 

It lets marketers gather customer data with the help of opt-ins. If you have a subscriber database, or once you establish one, they can then be compartmentalized according to the customer's company size, position, location, and so on. 

Final Thoughts

Even though it might prove to be an inconvenience to many marketers initially, the fact remains that the data collected by third-party cookies weren't even that reliable. 

As it is fragmented and isn't even mapped properly since it is borrowed from some secondary or tertiary sites, it is in a way better only for the marketers that they adapt to this change as soon as possible, and look for better avenues to gather data. 

For more such content, don’t forget to go over our Blog section. Further, you can also check out the various digital marketing courses that we offer and take your first step towards becoming a digital marketer. 

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