Third-party cookies are the backbone of digital advertising campaigns. The ability to read, analyze and adapt is part of what makes digital advertising so successful.
When Google announced in early 2020 it would join the movement to phase out third-party cookies in the Chrome browser, marketers took notice. Then, a year later when Google announced that it would not build alternate identifiers to track individuals, the marketing world went into a mad scramble.
This year, Google changed plans again. Google recently announced that support for third-party cookies would continue until late 2023. This gives marketers more time to prepare and shift strategies before the change.
The urgency has been lifted. But we can’t sit back and relax. It’s time to start thinking creatively and finding innovative strategies to thrive in this new world of cookie-less digital advertising.
Google is not the first browser to remove cookies, but it is the most significant. According to Statista, over 56% of web browsing is done on Google Chrome. So, while Firefox and Safari have already phased out third-party cookies, Google’s phase out will have a much larger impact on digital advertising.
Thankfully, Google isn’t leaving marketers completely emptyhanded. Federated Learning of Cohorts (FLoC) is Google’s solution to keep everybody happy. The general principle: groups of people with common interests are clustered together without individual identifiers. This enables marketers to continue targeting, with less privacy concerns.
This will be the easiest method moving forward. Stick to what’s worked and continue using Google’s tools.
Google’s own testing of FLoC shows it to be an effective replacement signal for third-party cookies. Google claims advertisers can expect to see at least 95% of the conversions per dollar spent when compared to cookie-based advertising. Those numbers are encouraging and suggest that the new world of advertising may not be all that different from the old world.
Either way, a lot can change in the next year and a half. Marketers must focus on controlling what they can – such as their content, website, first party data collection, online engagement and more – while putting plans in place now so they are ready to immediately shift into the cookie-less future.