Chrome Blocks 3rd Party Cookies

James Parker

CSO - Data & Planning, Jellyfish

In its bid to keep the web private and secure for users, Google has announced plans to start blocking 3rd party cookie tracking on publisher sites over the next two years. They’ve been looking for a way to please users whilst still supporting publishers, and the tech giant is actively looking for solutions to the challenges that will arise for advertisers with these changes.

What does this mean for users?

Users have been looking for greater privacy and more control over how their data is being used. By imposing initial restrictions on 3rd-party cookies and having only 1st-party data available to advertisers, users will have greater control in how their data is being used by the companies they have actively shared their data with.

What does this mean for marketing?

Making 3rd-party cookies obsolete over time means that performance-based marketers and agencies will need to make significant changes to their marketing strategy. Google has said it will look for new ways to track conversions and measure activity without the need for user data, but until those solutions are in place, limited tracking means that measurement will be difficult, and marketers will see a decrease in efficiency as the two years progress.

Fundamentally, the ability to collect data as a third party and harvest it for your own use will be hugely limited.

A brand’s use of its own 1st-party data will be largely unaffected, except for the use of audience retargeting on the open web. If a user visits a website using a browser that doesn’t allow 3rd party tracking, the retargeting bid won’t be activated, and the retargeting could look like prospecting.

For those running programmatic activity, making media buys that are specifically 3rd party data audience-led will become limited on the open exchange unless the user is logged in to the browser or has access to a newspaper site through a paywall.

How can I lessen the impact on my marketing from this announcement?

There are already many advertising products that don’t rely on cookie-based audiences, such as YouTube, Discovery Ads, and Search. It’s also time to start taking contextual targeting seriously but you’ll need the help of a digital partner like Jellyfish to get this to scale. The open web is changing but already users spend much of their time switching between closed platforms and the wider internet and so your media strategy will likely be well balanced already. In previous times, marketing plans might only have had two channels listed and disruption was significant when a major change occurred. This is a sizeable change but we are much more agile and experimental now as an industry to adapt accordingly.

If you haven’t already, it’s worth investigating tools such as Salesforce Marketing Cloud in order to reach your audiences within logged-in app environments such as Facebook, Snap, Pinterest etc.

If you think you’ll be impacted by this announcement, arrange a call with one of our experts, who will be able to assist in getting your marketing mix ready for the changes.