How the cookies will crumble in 2022 (and what it means for your business)

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Author: Coordinate

Digital marketing is set to be turned on its head in 2022 when Google bans third-party cookies on Chrome browsers.

Far more than just a tasty treat, digital cookies are a small text file dropped on websites which tracks what you do on that site, and your preferences. First-party cookies are used within the same website to keep track of your session, for example when you are online shopping and put an item in your basket. Even when you refresh the page, that item will still be in your basket, waiting for when you want to go to the final payment page.

Third party cookies are used to track your browsing habits across multiple sites and gather data on where you’ve visited and what you did there. So for example, the data can show that you’ve been browsing auto websites, and if you’ve downloaded a brochure or booked a test drive when you were there. Or think about a time when you’ve looked at something online and then keep seeing ads for that product or service pop up wherever you browse to. That was because of cookies.

Basically from a digital marketing perspective, these third-party cookies are one of the most significant currencies available to businesses.

Apple first banned third party cookies on Safari three years ago, but with only a 12% share of the browser market, it didn’t have too much of an impact. But with Chrome accounting for almost a further 50% of browser users, this change will significantly change how businesses can digitally target their customers.

Coordinate’s Digital Media Director Alexis Brassil, who has recently joined the Coordinate team, believes this change will mean many businesses may need to shift how they operate entirely when it comes to digital marketing. With more than 15 years experience in digital media in both independent agencies and large multinational agencies, Alexis says now is the time to act so you don’t find yourself back-pedalling when the changes are implemented.

“If you just leave it and wait, businesses may not even realise they’re in trouble. With the changes not coming into effect until 2022, we’ve got time to figure out exactly what you should do moving forward. But if businesses aren’t prepared, they’re going to lose pretty much all of their means for recording conversions and retargeting, and they’ll have to pedal back and figure out what they’re going to do.”

The change will mean that businesses who rely on retargeting advertising platforms will need to completely rethink their strategy, which will make for interesting times in the industry.

“There will probably be a deterministic algorithm to replace cookies when it comes to conversions, but when it comes to audience targeting we’ll probably have to pivot to think of other tactics. We may need to go back to basics a bit, like incentivised or more contextually relevant strategies, which is not such a bad thing. In the early days of digital advertising, we relied more on contextually relevant targeting. For example if you wanted to target people who were interested in news, you’d advertise on a news website, or if you were targeting people buying a car, you’d advertise on a car website. It will also become even more important and valuable for businesses to build their own first-party data, and advertisers may offer more incentives to encourage people to willingly hand over their information. We used to do this all the time with competitions and surveys and that sort of thing, so we might see a shift back to that style of advertising.”

Want to stay on the front foot with your business and ensure the changes to cookies don’t impact you? We can work with you now to help define your business goals and work out a solution so you don’t miss a beat and are ready for when the changes take effect.