If you’ve been keeping up with digital marketing news, you may already know about the so-called “death of third-party cookies”. Though the biggest change won’t occur until 2022, we’re already shifting strategies to prepare. If you’re looking to get up to speed or just want some ideas on how you can prepare, we’ve put together a quick breakdown.
What are third-party cookies and why are they going away?
Third-party cookies are the backbone of programmatic targeting. Basically, they are placed on your browser by an advertiser and track your behavior, what sites you visit, etc. for the purposes of serving you relevant ads. Unlike first-party cookies, you don’t have to visit that specific advertiser’s website to be tagged.
Consumer privacy concerns and government regulations (like the GDPR) have led browsers like Firefox and Safari to ban third-party cookies already. Google announced they plan to ban them in Chrome (the most popular browser by a mile) beginning in 2022 in an effort to give advertisers time to adjust.
These bans only block targeting and traffic from third-party cookies, not first-party. So, this will mostly affect tracking and will be a huge blow to third-party ad partners.
How can we start preparing for the shift now?
The core strategy we recommend is to shift to building, maintaining or increasing focus on your own first-party database. It can be used not only for sales contacts, internal campaigns or ABM, but also for targeting on the wider internet.
Some other tactics to consider as you prepare for 2022 are:
-Content marketing and SEO can bring in a lot of leads when done right. It takes planning and resources, but when the challenge is finding your audience, the best strategy is sometimes to get them to come to you.
-Start testing other types of programmatic targeting now while you still have your existing campaigns with access to third-party cookies.
-Talk to ad partners with a network of first-party sites and begin testing to see how effective these are for your brand/audience.
-Contextual targeting is going to gain a lot of importance. Relevant content topics may seem obvious, but we would suggest also gathering information from your audience on their online behavior. The right campaign may be able to connect some seemingly disparate topics to your brand.
These changes will cause a huge shake-up for many companies, but there’s no need to panic. Ad partners are already working on alternative solutions (and so is Google). If you approach the problem strategically, it may end up yielding a campaign that gets even better results. This change can be an opportunity to make changes you may never have tried before.