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'And That's The Way The Cookie Crumbles' The Disappearance Of Third-Party Cookies

author image Written by: Rabije Gashi Corluka           Categories - Digital Marketing, Paid Ads

Update from the future: Google extends the use of third-party cookies once again. Read more about it here.

 

The wish for having it both ways has always been out there, and when it comes to digital marketing, it’s getting even harder to achieve. With more and more concerns about privacy and data collection, it has become challenging to track your potential prospects. As we all know, tracking is crucial for a successful digital marketing strategy. So, what’s this with Google’s plan of stopping the support of third-party cookies in its Chrome browser? Well, it’s privacy.

General data protection and privacy is becoming more important by the day – it is a big thing in Europe and it has made it far harder to collect and use customer data. This part of the globe has its own versions of it and advertising companies are starting to think about alternatives.

The death of third-party data collection will make us try harder to accurately show just how well a marketing investment will result in, well, results (leads, sales, revenue – important stuff).

Third-Party Cookies

Third-party cookies have been a go-to solution for years when it comes to measuring digital ad performance – and once Google stops supporting them, it will be way harder to see view-through conversions (if someone saw your ad and converted on your website later).

The problem with them, as noted in this article, is fake results. Hold up, don’t come at me that easily, keep reading.

If you use multiple channels for your latest campaign, you will, of course, get multiple reports. Every report will have the same number of conversions, and by that logic – if you used two channels and got 100 new leads, according to the reports you will have 200 new leads because both channels showed the ads to a prospect. Ain’t that false? But, the channels will likely try to take credit for it – and that costs money, and reputation in a way.

How To Handle the removal of third party cookies

There are some options – one of them being using first-party cookies.

Having them on your website will help you see which marketing channels and campaigns are resulting in conversions. You can see the number of times people visited your website before they converted, you can give credit to your organic search and email, and you will avoid the double-tracking mentioned above. This way, you will have one true source of tracking information and will show you the exact results and true value of what you have going on.

Other options include:

  • Identity Solutions – email address, phone number, login ID. This uses 1st-party cookies on your website
  • Google’s Privacy Sandbox – still developing
  • Publisher Provided Identifiers (PPIDs) – a PPID is an identifier assigned to a user by a publisher, the user logs in and it enables to deliver of personalized ad campaigns
  • Contextual Targeting – doesn’t rely on personal data, but on the web page’s contents for keywords and phrases (time spent browsing)
  • Data Pools or Data Clean Rooms – storing a large amount of data
  • User Identity Graphs – combines personal identity information (email address) with 1st-party cookies and publisher IDs.
  • Digital Fingerprinting – identifying users by recording their IP, plugins, screen size, browser, time zone and OS.

Having a diverse approach might be a good strategy – combining multiple ways and gathering first-party data could give you a detailed understanding of what’s going on with your campaign while respecting your prospects’ privacy.

Measuring return on investment from media platforms is about to get harder, less accurate and, in the end, not even possible when we say goodbye to these cookies. That won’t happen until next year, but you need to start practising and adjusting now.

 

Rabije Gashi Corluka

Rabije always enjoyed finding different angles to a story, so it’s not surprising her curiosity influenced a move to a new continent, widening her perspective. She enjoys hearing people's stories and learning about different cultures and places - but most of all, she loves putting her thoughts on a piece of paper. Her love for writing led to her studying Journalism and PR, but she actually became a storyteller during her radio-hosting era. Now, she uses her skills, experience, and love for writing to help your brand stand out.

You Can Use Third-party Cookies For An Extra Year

08/03/2022

We should have said goodbye to third-party cookies by now, but Google changed its mind. Again. The search engine is delaying its deprecation of third-party cookies and plans to kiss them goodbye in 2024, instead of early next year.

This is not the first time Chrome has prolonged the usage of these cute little assets – their plans changed last year when they decided to stop the usage of third-party cookies in 2023. This is the second extension.

Third-party cookies have been a go-to solution for years when it comes to measuring digital ad performance – and once Google stops supporting them, it will be way harder to see view-through conversions, especially if someone saw your ad and converted on your website later.

Why Is Google Extending Again?

Because they need more time to test the Privacy Sandbox initiative, Search Engine Journal reports. The Privacy Sandbbox initiative is supposed to be a low-key solution for targeted advertising.

“The most consistent feedback we’ve received is the need for more time to evaluate and test the new Privacy Sandbox technologies before deprecating third-party cookies in Chrome…

This deliberate approach to transitioning from third-party cookies ensures that the web can continue to thrive, without relying on cross-site tracking identifiers or covert techniques like fingerprinting.” –  said Anthony Chavez, Vice President of Google’s Privacy Sandbox initiative.

So, instead of just replacing the cookies with something new and wild, Google is taking a more rational approach and plans for a more gradual transition. The trial version of the Privacy Sandbox API is available to developers and should be available for millions of people this month too. More testing for more people is planned for next year.

Read More: Advertisers Working Hard To Find Alternatives to third party cookies

Other than using first-party cookies, you have some extra options for dealing with Google not supporting third-party cookies. This includes:

  • Identity Solutions – email address, phone number, login ID. This uses 1st-party cookies on your website
  • Google’s Privacy Sandbox – still developing
  • Publisher Provided Identifiers (PPIDs)
  • Contextual Targeting – doesn’t rely on personal data, but on the web page’s contents for keywords and phrases (time spent browsing)
  • Data Pools or Data Clean Rooms – storing a large amount of data
  • User Identity Graphs – combines personal identity information (email address) with 1st-party cookies and publisher IDs.
  • Digital Fingerprinting – identifying users by recording their IP, plugins, screen size, browser, time zone and OS.
Read More: How To Handle the removal of third party cookies

 

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Data-driven Attribution Becomes The Default?

07/26/2022

Google is all about automation, whether you like it or not. In their e-mail to advertisers, they let them know about their ad accounts switching to data-driven attribution.

In the e-mail, Google tells the advertisers which of their accounts qualify for the switch and gives them a deadline for cancelling the auto-switch, Search Engine Land reports. We went through our e-mails and here’s what we got:

But, wait – what is this data-driven thing now?

Back in September, Google revealed its plan to turn data-driven attribution into a default model. At the same time, they said that the other five rule-based models will still exist and be available for usage.

By using advanced machine learning techniques, data-driven attribution can understand the contribution each marketing touchpoint made to lead to conversions. Google says data-driven attribution accounts for several factors, such as ad format and time between ad and interaction.

As Barry Schwartz explained in this article, data-driven attribution checks the website and your ads on various platforms and uses data from your account to figure out which keywords and campaigns have the biggest impact on your business. In the end, it checks out how people engaged with your ads and comes up with a plan to move forward.

Learn how data-driven attribution works here.

“Data-driven attribution allows us to assign the right credit to every touchpoint. With automated bidding and data-driven attribution, we’ve seen an 18% reduction in cost of sales over last-click” – Lara Harter, Head of Online Marketing, DocMorris

So according to Lara, this could help save up some resources and direct them somewhere else. This option could work well with Smart Campaigns, but as always – you should do your own mini research.

Read More: Smart Campaigns Will Be Gone For Good Soon

The Backlash

However, not everyone is happy with this move by Google. For example, David Melamed expressed his opinion on LinkedIn:

“Data driven attribution doesn’t understand your cashflow needs. It doesn’t understand the human side of your account. Conversion & attribution models SHOULD NEVER be taken out of the hands of advertisers… Especially when Google owns the auction house.”

Others have a bit different opinion:

If you don’t want Google to make the switch, you can turn the option off using the link you got in the email.

Sure – data-driven attribution might actually work for you, but make sure you analyze everything first.

Compare the changes that would happen if you do make the switch.

Read More: Google Adds Four New Features To Performance Max

 

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