Remember when Noah tried to warn everyone that God would flood the entire Earth? No one listened to him, and yet the giant flood came. The same thing is going to happen when Google flushes out third-party cookies from the digital world. It’s called the Cookie Apocalypse and here’s how to survive it.
It’s coming in 2022 and it will have devastating effects on your digital marketing. That’s only if you don’t adapt to new policies on cookies or data.
Here’s why you should be very concerned.
What is The Cookie Apocalypse?
In August 2019, Google subtly announced that it would get rid of third-party cookies.
That’s any cross-website tracking or ad-tech used to store user data in order to create targeted ads when a user visits your website.
So third-party cookies are essentially the bread and butter for these ad-tech companies. And ALL of that is going away in 2022.
And that’s how the cookie crumbles (there will be more of these cookie puns, so prepare yourself)
Prior to Google’s official announcement in January 2020, Apple and Firefox waged war on third-party cookies by banning them on their respective browsers. This was done through Intelligent Tracking Prevention (ITP) to promote privacy for users and stop data that tracks users’ devices or web activity.
The only type of cookies your business is allowed to have are first-party cookies. But let’s quickly go over how first and third-party cookies work for those in the back.
The Difference Between First and Third-Party Cookies
First-party cookies are any cookies that are created directly by your own website. So when a user visits your website, the cookies will identify them and remember their preferences.
Now, let’s talk about how they work differently.
See, cookies in the digital sense are very much like fortune cookies. It contains a piece of paper or code that acknowledges you once you interact with it.
The difference is that third party cookies do this anonymously and don’t really identify the user personally. They’re like that small piece of paper with that generic message or code regardless of who clicks it. This is done either through:
- 1 to 1 marketing (track every click, IP address etc)
- Installation of cookies in user’s web browser
- Cross-device tracking
This helps collect user information, website behavior, and device type, then create ads based on that user activity.
It’s a very cookie cutter way to store data on users. But very effective for creating targeted ads.
So you can see why ad-tech companies LOVE their third-party cookies.
Now, first-party cookies are created directly by your website once a user visits it. They are generally accepted by most browsers.
Their purpose is to customize and improve the user experience. It will remember things like their settings, passwords, and bookmarks.
So they identify the user specifically through data that is unique to them such as an email and other relevant login information. That’d be like a user opening up a fortune cookie that knew their name with a unique message specific to that user.
And no, it’s not creepy, because that user volunteered that information beforehand so it’s all good.
However, this is only activated when the user visits your website so you can’t track them or create targeted ads like third-party cookies. This makes advertising difficult.
But since Google is getting rid of third-party cookies, digital advertising will have to reinvent itself with audience-first marketing.
So the key difference between this type of digital marketing is identification and person-first. marketing.
What Does This Mean For Your Business?
So if you’re an ad-tech company that’s relying on third-party data with anonymous metrics such as user clicks, device type, and ad-targeting tech, you are in for a nasty surprise.
The Cookie Apocalypse is already wreaking havoc on major ad-tech companies that specialize in third-party cookies.
Just ask Criteo. They lost a market share of $2.5 billion when Apple, Google, and Mozilla blocked third-party cookies in their respective browsers.
Their founder Jean-Baptise Rudelle stated in a report to the Financial Times:
“The first time we were caught off guard, we didn’t really think this would be a risk. We were in a bit in panic mode because wow… those guys overnight can press a button and hurt us a lot”
Sounds like they didn’t get on that Digital Ark fast enough.
And there’s genuine cause for concern. Because with The Cookie Apocalypse coming in 2022, it could wipe out 85% of the digital market according to Data Science Analyst, Roger Kamena
“In essence, Chrome will create a browser sandbox which will serve as somewhat of a black hole for cookie IDs during server calls.”
Basically any data or ad-tech that captures any info on unidentified users through a data management platform (DMP), is going out the window.
Which just means Google is going to piss on your third-party cookies. Which means a lot of lost revenue.
This isn’t Y2K. This is going to happen.
Why, Cookie Apocalypse? Why?
While Google wants to promote user-privacy and digital consent through first-party data, let’s not kid ourselves that this is a solely noble cause.
With this transition, there are obvious winners and losers.
The obvious winner is any company that mines first-party cookies or data.
And which companies have the monopoly on first-party data?
It just happens to be Google, Amazon, Facebook, Apple, and Microsoft.
For example, Facebook requires ALL of their users to identify themselves with an email address to use their platform. In fact, these digital giants operate exclusively on first-party data.
With Google owning 66 percent of the browser market share and going exclusively with first party data, they want to disassociate themselves from digital marketers that use their ecosystem to smuggle third-party cookies and flood users with hyper-targeting.
And other first-party giants are following suit…
“This is already the case for Campaign Manager users who can’t add impression pixels on Facebook ads. The reason is simple: Facebook won’t let Google siphon its precious data. Likewise, Google Display Network and Amazon DSP won’t allow any DMP impression pixels into their ecosystems. In essence, marketing data will become more fragmented and siloed,” according to Kamena.
In other words…
Deal with it.
What Can You Do About This?
So for your digital marketing services to survive, you need to get your customers to engage with you and get them to identify themselves when they use your services.
That means you have to incentivize your users to give you their email address, and other identifiable data. This way, they can be qualified as first-party data.
So focus on business strategies that provide value to your customers or audience with relevant information so they can make better decisions regarding your services and products.
With that in mind, I think content marketing will go through a major resurgence.
And if your business already operates on collecting email addresses and other first-party data through consent and value-based marketing, then you’re on the right path.
And for any digital businesses that need to transition from DMP to CRM/ESP for the sake of first-party data, there’s Swift Audience
How Swift Audience Can Help With This
Right now, there will be a lot of businesses that need to convert or abandon their third-party data.
That also means there’ll be a major migration of businesses that have to move ALL of their digital campaigns to first-party data ecosystems. Some companies will also have to import long CSV files of first-party data to major platforms such as Facebook or Google.
And it’s a long and tedious process because you can’t import all that first-party data at once. You have to do it in chunks.
However, Swift Audience can connect any audience of yours to your CRM/ESP or any customer data platform (CDP) and vice versa in real time. No imports or exports are required.
You just sync your audience or ad campaigns to Swift Audience’s API and you’re ready to go.
That means fast, secure, and scalable automated transfers of your first-party cookies to create custom:
- Facebook Audiences
- Instagram Audiences
- Google Customer Matches
- Snapchat Audience Match
- Twitter Tailored Audiences
- Yahoo Custom Audiences.
And it connects to major CRM/ESP providers from MailChimp, SendGrid to Constant Contact.
As a result, Swift Audience automatically and legally gets you into Google’s ecosystem and other advertising platforms that only work with first-party data.
You can learn more about Swift Audience here.
And If you want more on copywriting and digital marketing, check out some more intel from the The Copy Cartel.
Until then, stay blessed.
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