Digital Marketing on a Diet: Goodbye Third-Party Cookies

This week topic is about cookies, not the chocolate type though, but the tiny messages web servers pass to the web browser every time you visit a site. Cookies store any information you volunteered like location, interests and browsing history, which are used for digital advertising purposes.

GR Notes #1 Google’s Privacy Sandbox

Rising privacy concerns gave birth to many privacy laws (like GDPR, CCPA, LGPD, PDPA) that limit the use of third-party cookies, making it more difficult for data collection software, like Google Analytics, to function in the same way it was intended to; and now third-party cookies are about to come to an end. As a consequence, Google announced their “intention to phase out third-party cookies and replace them with new browser features that are fundamentally more private.”

Google’s Privacy Sandbox aims to promote relevant advertising with accurate measuring while protecting user’s privacy.

Key Points

  • Web browsers are blocking third-party tracking. Mozilla Firefox and Safari are the biggest players to make moves against the cookie. Of course, Google had to step up against the malicious use of third-party cookies that can cause damage to the user’s privacy by unethical practices.
  • Google’s Privacy Sandbox aims to keep ad delivery efficiency intact without the use of third-party cookies but through browser APIs.
How would Privacy Sandbox work?
  • All the user data will sit safely in the Chrome browsers of the individual users. The interests of the users will be discovered based on their browsing history. The users with similar interests would be in groups (what Google calls FLoC). Only Chrome will know about the group to which a user belongs.
  • The API will signal only the users’ groups, and the buyers will be targeting those groups. The remaining APIs will help in all the supporting activities like reporting, fraud detection, conversion tracking, etc. 
  • The First-Party Sets will enable targeting across multiple sites owned by the same publisher. Cross-site targeting across the web will not work.
What Google says
  • FLoC was proposed in 2020 with the idea that groups of people with common interests could replace individual identifiers.
  • On January 25, 2021, the Google Ads Blog released that FLoC “effectively hides individuals “in the crowd” and uses on-device processing to keep a person’s web history private on the browser. 
  • Google’s ads found that FLoC can provide “an effective replacement signal for third-party cookies”and are expecting to see “at least 95% of the conversions per dollar spent” when it comes to generating interest-based audiences compared to cookie-based advertising.
  • Audience creation will have a remake too. However, it is too soon to tell if the proposal of a “bring your own server” model will have a positive welcoming from advertisers. More testing is needed to ensure that ad auctions will continue after third-party cookies are gone.
  • For Conversion measurement, tagging and an API surface can be added to the web platform to allow advertisers to measure ROI in a way that provides better privacy to users. Using API alone will not be able to support all conversion measurements. Again, too soon to tell, but testing is happening as we speak.
  • In the fight against bots, Google wants companies to be able to distinguish actual visitors from bots and fraudulent traffic (which skyrockets ad spending) with a new Trust Token API. Although the plan is still on diapers, the Trust Token may be released for trial this Summer.

Major key players, like IAB Technology Laboratory, believe that removing third-party cookies and identifiers will have a profound impact on digital advertising, specifically on ad budget, retargeting and measurement. We expect that in the next two years, there will be a lot of action across the digital supply chain to balance consumer privacy and personalization with industry revenue.

Digital marketing agencies will need to go the extra mile. Focus on considering first-party strategies and CMS software to learn how your visitors behave while using your site, so you can develop a sound strategy based on context, content and intent. Monitor, track, and save data collected from visitors to your site using analytics: email newsletter subscribers and feedback/surveys. With each data point on your website, you can utilize it to target ad campaigns, understand your readers, and optimize the site experience. Work on delivering valuable original content and use organic campaigns focusing on the upper-funnel testing new audiences related to your buying personas for testing and data collection.

What are GR Notes?

We believe valuable content should be accessible, that is why we created GR Notes, a free resource with important information for marketers, businesses, and creative geniuses who want to keep ahead of the competition.

Every week we will be sharing highlights, key points, and foreseeable trends on digital marketing topics that matter to you. Think of Novel Notes as flashcards, but way better.

Down the Rabbit Hole

Better known as that extra just for the geek inside you 😉

  • Application Programming Interface (API): Computing interface that defines interactions between multiple software intermediaries. It defines the kinds of calls or requests that can be made, how to make them, the data formats that should be used, the conventions to follow, etc. 
  • Conversion: The completion of a meaningful user action on the advertiser’s website by a user who has previously interacted with an ad from that advertiser.
  • Federated Learning of Cohorts (FLoC): A group of people with similar browsing habits so that ad tech companies can observe large groups’ habits instead of the activity of individuals for ad targeting.
  • Third-Party Cookies: Tracking codes placed on a web visitor’s computer after being generated by another website other than your own.

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