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cookie less future - Google Chrome bans third party cookies

What – no more cookies?

It’s been in the news, Google has announced that it will phase out third-party cookies on Google Chrome browser in 2022, to full effect the following year. If you have a business with a website, and want to see how this affects you, read on!

For the general person browsing the internet, wanting to do so in privacy and peace, the banishing of these “cookies” seems like good news.

For business owners who rely on using digital advertising to get more people visiting their online shops and websites, it means coming up with new marketing strategies – there will be fewer targeting options for ad campaigns.

Quick Definitions

  • First-party cookies are stored under the same domain you are currently visiting. Those cookies are usually used to identify you, your website logins, shopping carts and more.
  • Third-party cookies are mostly used to track users between websites and display more relevant ads between websites.

Going into a bit more detail, there are 2 types of “cookies” on websites.

First party cookies

First party cookies are stored at the same domain you are visiting.  They are there to remember things like:

  • Your website logins
  • Your previous shopping carts
  • User preferences

Much of this is quite handy for us, as it helps us get use the website and if the website remembers us we don’t have to be re-entering information all the time.

Third party cookies

This is where the changes taking place.

These cookies are what other websites use to collect information about what you visit online, which give clues on your interests and preferences, in order to serve highly personalised ads – those that seem to “follow you around” – you see an ad that is remarkably something you were looking at recently when you thought you were alone. Many website users think of these as a violation of privacy.

And it’s these third-party cookies that are being banished.

For a deeper look, read this article: First second and third party cookies – what it all means

What the browsers are doing right now:

By default, the browsers SafariFirefox nor Microsoft Edge have blocked third-party cookies by default. While this can be enabled manually in the browser settings, I don’t see it being a common practice.

Google has decided to completely stop supporting third-party cookies in Chrome. This is all about protecting users’ privacy – it’s part of an initiative called “Privacy Sandbox” – where Google is setting standards that protect the privacy of its users.

Alleviating your guilt

If you have a business and you have been thinking of trying targeted ads, don’t feel bad. We know it’s not that you’re deliberately trying to take away people’s privacy! You just want to use technology to find your ideal clients, based on their interests! However, with these browser changes, the opportunities to serve targeted ads to people based on cookie-based algorithms are limited.

Instead here are some things you can be doing

A quick list of activities you can be doing to deepen your existing relationships, build on the shallow ones, and continue to find ideal clients for your business:

  • Always aim to improve the content and messaging your website pages. Tell a good story, and you’ll be far more likely to get and keep the attention of your audience, once they are reading!
  • Shift your focus to bringing people to knowing you in other ways, not via ads that are served to them, but through one to one connection, being reliable, being helpful. This means they know who you are, even if you’re not selling anything to them right away.
  • Keep working on your customer relationships, even after you’ve already worked with them. There is far more ahead of you beyond selling that first thing, if you keep that relationship growing.
  • Keep improving the journey people make when they are interacting with you – from that first email or call, to the way you explain your services, reassure them, clarity on pricing, options they have to work with you, and what they can expect if they do. All along they need to feel they’ve made a good decision!

“First-party relationships are vital”

Here is an excerpt from Google Ads & Commerce Blog

We will continue to support first-party relationships on our ad platforms for partners, in which they have direct connections with their own customers. Keeping the internet open and accessible for everyone requires all of us to do more to protect privacy — and that means an end to not only third-party cookies, but also any technology used for tracking individual people as they browse the web. We remain committed to preserving a vibrant and open ecosystem where people can access a broad range of ad-supported content with confidence that their privacy and choices are respected.

Further reading: Check out this blog about a cookieless future on Search Engine Journal.

Thanks to Aurimas Poskys for the research work in this article.

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