In the last couple years, we’ve seen and endured some things as a people. However, there’s another ticking clock for business owners around the world: The Cookiepocalypse.
For those of you who didn’t hear about Google’s announcement in 2019, the Cookiepocalypse is the “fun” nickname given to Google’s phasing out support for third-party cookies and tracking mechanisms by 2022.
Google calls their initiative the Privacy Sandbox.
So, what does that mean for Springfield-area small businesses?
We’ll briefly touch on what a cookie is, what limitations the Cookiepocalypse will have on advertising and digital marketing, and possible solutions for your marketing efforts.
What are third-party cookies?
Third-party cookies are basically code that tracks your behavior as you visit different websites.
Some browsers automatically block this code, like Firefox and Safari, but Google Chrome – which accounts for 48% of overall internet browser traffic – does not.
Hence, the panic from business owners and digital marketers.
Have you ever been digging through a brand’s website only to see an ad from them on another website or on your social media?
That ad was probably served up courtesy of third-party cookies.
The problem here, in terms of marketing (let alone privacy), is far too many businesses and marketers rely entirely on these cookies.
However, those who are willing to put in the work to understand their audience, innovate, and find clever new ways to reach their audience will be fine.
The rise of first-party cookies?
Once you can’t track behavior across the entire web with cookies, one apparent pivot will be going back to learning whatever you can from first-party data.
First-party data is any information a customer gives you like their phone number, email, or address. It’s also whatever behavior you can track on your own site from stuff like purchase history, most-viewed pages, and stuff like that.
Basically, the difference between first-party cookies and third-party is: With first-party, you can track everything a customer does on your site, but nothing once they leave.
Target sent out a pitch deck last year and claimed first-party data that it can offer is actually better than third-party cookies.
According to a writer at Modern Retail who saw Target’s pitch, one slide noted that while cookie-based data can tell you that a user is “likely married” and “between the ages of 18-35,” Target’s advertising network can help you target users based on their EXACT age, what Target stores they might shop at, and other data.
And Google has said first-party cookies are still a go in their browser and the Privacy Sandbox.
Social media ads are still here
Social media advertising can provide your business highly-targeted ads or promotional content.
If you’re able or willing to do video content, those perform very well across Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and the usual suspects but then you can also utilize the second-largest search engine in the world – YouTube.
Furthermore, on some social platforms like Facebook, you can submit contact information you’ve secured from your customers to use as a “lookalike audience.”
What this does is target your ad to users that share similar demographics to those on your uploaded list.
Each platform will have a minimum size for your lookalike audience. Facebook’s is 100.
However, the larger the list you upload, the more effective it’ll be.
Google’s recent news regarding the changeover
One alternative for cookies Google has been talking about recently is Federated Learning of Cohorts (FLoC).
Through FLoC, businesses reach people with relevant content and ads by clustering large groups of people with similar interests.
Google says this approach works by hiding individuals “in the crowd” and uses on-device processing to keep a person’s web history private on the browser.
According to Google, their testing of FLoC shows that advertisers can expect to see at least 95% of the conversions per dollar spent when compared to cookie-based advertising.
So, is the sky falling?
No, marketers, the creators of the tools we use, and the platforms in which we promote your business have been brainstorming and working ever since Google’s announcement in 2019 to make sure everything will be fine.
There’s the tried-and-true alternatives and the arrival of new “sandboxes.”If your digital marketing relies too heavily on third-party data, an agency like 2oddballs Creative can help you transition to this new era of marketing and advertising.