Where do we go from here? How the end of third-party cookies will affect digital marketing methods
Since Google announced their plan back in February 2020 to ban third-party cookies – albeit a restriction which has yet to be implemented and has been pushed back again to 2023 – marketeers are having to find alternative methods to optimise user experience. For anyone who doesn’t know, cookies are small text files that are placed on your computer by the websites you visit. Here at ICLG.com, we use our own cookies to identify visitors, which can be accepted or declined in the consent banner. Third-party tracking refers to any tracking done by a party other than the website you’re visiting. These third-party cookies are often used as a means to understand behaviour and tailor ads to your search history. However, whether Google’s imposition of this ban is an honest move towards prioritising your privacy, or simply a ploy to directly receive more ad sellers, soon this indirect data collection method will be no more.
So, what options do marketeers have now?
At ICLG.com, this shift to first-party data collection from website visitors is a method we have always heavily relied on. And since Europe’s GDPR guidelines and the California Consumer Protection Act (CCPA) brought about significant changes in how marketeers can manage data, we have been optimising our own data collection techniques. Improving experience as you navigate our online domain is our priority, such as with ICLG.com’s free subscription service and the CDR subscription which both allow for the direct input of user data. Collecting data in this manner, while being less intrusive than third-party cookies, also allows for an improved web experience, as content can then be personalised accordingly.
Cookies are not the only form of online tracking, however; IP address tracking, browser fingerprinting and email tracking can all be employed to enhance user experience and find out what your users want. Along with content marketing and people-based targeting, a method that uses identity resolution technology to understand someone’s activity across channels without storing identification information, there are many options for marketing teams. Of course, if you are uncomfortable with the storing of data, you can regularly clear your cache and browsing history to minimise the number of saved cookies on your device.
Looking ahead, this shift to prioritising people’s privacy on the internet is a positive, whatever Google’s motive. The truth is that data collected first-hand is more reliable than any stored third-party data. As the relationship between businesses and users becomes more transparent, marketeers must continue to ensure that their clients’ positive online experiences and chosen preferences are at the core of what they do.