Digital marketing can be ever-changing in ways that impact businesses, advertisers, and consumers. One of the biggest changes on the horizon has to do with third-party cookies, specifically the fact that the digital landscape is making it harder and harder to use cookies as we did before. Safari and Firefox have already blocked third-party tracking cookies, and Google intends to do so soon. In this blog, we will be discussing what third-party cookies are, and how this change will impact digital advertising and businesses. As living in a cookie-less world becomes more of a reality for businesses, it’s on marketers to plan accordingly.

What Are Third-Party Cookies?

Third-party cookies are snippets of code that track visitors and record information. When you visit a site that uses third-party cookies, the code will gather your information and send it to the advertiser. Then, the advertiser can target a campaign directly to you. Using these cookies effectively helps digital marketers run successful digital advertising campaigns. With the right targeting, your ads will show up in front of the people who are most likely to engage with them.

Related: Are Your Facebook Ads Performing the Way You Think?

It’s easy to see why advertisers want to use third-party cookies; they help marketers obtain valuable insights on customer behavior and buying trends. However, consumers aren’t nearly as thrilled about the process. More and more consumers prefer not to be tracked. It creates privacy concerns, which is why Google has decided to make the changes it has. You may not have noticed, but right now, more and more websites are asking if you want to “Accept All Cookies,” or “Accept Some Cookies,” or “Remove All Cookies.” This is the first phase of putting privacy controls back in the hands of customers.

How Will Google’s Decision to Remove Third-Party Cookies Impact Businesses?

What this all amounts to is that marketing firms and businesses may undergo some big  changes in the coming years. Unable to rely on information from third-party cookies, advertisers will need to turn to other strategies to ensure proper targeting. But there’s no reason to sound the alarm just yet. There are a few things to keep in mind when the time comes for this change to take place.

First, Google isn’t removing all cookies. First-party cookies will still be available for businesses to take advantage of. First-party cookies help you learn what a user did while they were visiting your site and how long they were on the site for. First-party cookies also retain login information, as well the language you speak and any items left in a cart.

Second, the cookie phase-out has been one of those transitions that many folks saw coming. Across the globe, governments and regulators have focused on the privacy issues involved in third-party cookies. Google is also helping with the change by developing its Privacy Sandbox. This feature will allow marketers to target large groups of people based on interests and behavior. The Privacy Sandbox will provide a nice middle ground for marketers and privacy advocates. Marketers can still target Google Ads, but consumers do not have to worry about their data ending up in unfamiliar hands.

What this also means is that businesses will be forced to get more innovative when it comes to advertising. Marketers are going to have to rely less on Google’s hyper-targeted ads and find new ways to reach consumers. But again, all is not lost. As we speak, data management firms are coming up with new tools to help marketers and businesses track data. So, while this is different from third party cookies, these new tools could still help you get the information you need to make better business decisions.

When Is the Change Coming?

Digital advertisers and businesses have ample time to adjust to this change. At first, Google was going to eliminate third-party cookies by 2022. Now, the deadline has been moved to 2023, and Google will implement the change over a three-month period.

The delay makes sense from a data and compliance standpoint. Google doesn’t want to eliminate tracking cookies until it has a solid replacement. That’s why it’s working in tandem with regulators to ensure it finds a data tracking solution that meets guidelines in all countries.

Start Planning for a Cookie-Less Digital World Today

Even though Google is keeping third-party cookies around for a couple more years, you don’t want to wait to start planning for the change. 

When you’re building out your marketing gameplan, think about how you can make your brand less susceptible to future governance or monopoly-related policies. Take time to meet with your team and come up with strategies that reach audiences in new ways and still bring you impact. It’s getting more and more important to ensure your business is not adversely impacted by the ever-changing technology trends of the internet.

If you need a partner to help with new strategies for growing your business, Ironmark is here to help. Reach out today to learn how our digital marketing experts can help you prepare for the future while ensuring you reach your customers today.

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