Google Dropping Third-Party Cookies: What You Need to Know

Have you ever felt puzzled by a site you visited once and they consistently send ads to you? At the moment you are being stalked by tons of websites and your information can be fed back to data brokers. This circumstance belongs to the so-called third-party cookies which allow a user to be tracked as they go around the internet. They are usually used for online advertising purposes through a common way to gather user data, personalize browsing experience by building a profile of user interests, and using that to advertise. But do you feel safe about it? Up to 86% of people, we may call them — netizens, using the internet of the world, could infringe upon the right of privacy since cookies set by a website other than one website visitors are recently visiting to track your consumer behaviors.

In early 2020, the digital giant, Google, announced that third-party cookies will cease to exist within two years from its Chrome browser. Phasing out third-party cookies is not new in the tech industry since Apple’s Safari limited cookie tracking in 2017, Firefox blocked third-party cookies in 2019. However, Chrome is the most popular web browser out there, this decision will certainly make either a positive or negative impact on a large majority of internet users, marketers, and Google itself. The decision may be seen as a protection for privacy invasion to the online user as Google establishes a security web of user privacy from cyber ​​risk who stop selling ads toward browsers, but it doesn’t mean that Google stops collecting user data and using the data to target ads.

Is there any impact on Google?

If you think banning third-party cookies hurts Google advertising revenue because they don’t earn money for selling user data from ad companies anymore, you may reconsider it in this way. When you are using YouTube and Google Search, they are still collecting your first-party data — that is, Google can earn user information directly from their audiences and target ads to them based on it. They no need to rely on any others for precision marketing, the online ad income will continue to grow.

While Google is not going to stop tracking people entirely, it promotes an alternative to maintain a network of sustainable development. A report from Google pointed out that ad businesses decrease their revenue by about 52% while they take away third-party cookies from Chrome. To balance user privacy and business model, Google brings a substitute up — Federated Learning of Cohorts (FLoC). With FLoC, users are still tracked on Chrome, but they are grouped based on those habits. Advertisers will then send their ads to groups instead of an individual. The alternative may sharply drop in advertising to the right people for ad companies, but it does consider both two sides of customers, users, and businesses. Google would be the biggest winner in this play.

How marketers become competitive against the coming situation

Obviously, the huge impact is on advertisers. They experience difficulties with tracking consumer habits and movements resulting in increasing ad costs. Targeting wrong people is far more urgent than anything else. Here is the question: What marketers can do in order to lessen the impact of Google getting rid of cookies?

For brands who rely on third-party data, it is a good opportunity to build their own first-hand data. Make good use of Google Analytics and other software, such as google data studio, empowers marketers to earn real-time information based on consumer interests and understand how visitors and consumers use business websites, how they engage with content. The tools make it easier to converse with information to determine what makes good websites for the target audience. In addition, they can cooperate with database companies, for example. The companies possess technology and data services that can bring supporting pieces of evidence for advertisers to result in maximizing the value of connecting with audiences.

Don’t be scared.

As a marketer, we are facing unpredicted situations, unanswerable questions every day in this fast-changing marketplace. What you have to do is to be open-minded. An open mindset drives your growth, keeps calm and resolves issues, and opens you up to new possibilities. I believe that there are many solutions out there in response to Google’s plan for eliminating third-party cookies.

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Tsuyi Li

Tsuyi Li

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Digital Marketing Explorer / Golf-loving gal / Master’s Candidate of Integrated Marketing at NYU