Is your digital marketing crumbling with the phasing out of third-party cookies?

Digital advertising is currently facing a major change that we as advertisers will have to address. The data we use for targeting, 3rd party cookies, disappears from the advertising ecosystem.

If you use retargeting today, ie target ads to users who, for example, have looked at or put a product in the basket on your website without buying it, then that targeting is done with 3rd party cookies, and they now disappear.

They do this because over the past few years we have seen various players limit how we track online behavior and target messages to those users and customers whose attention we want to capture with our products and services.

With Google’s decision to phase out 3rd-party cookies in 2023 in their market-leading browser Chrome, the last domino is overthrown and the race for alternatives to well-known formats such as retargeting and programmatic ads has finally kicked off.

So if you are buying targeted advertising online then you are facing a challenge.

Long live 1st party data

3rd party cookies are a big part of the way we today target advertising on the major digital platforms. A phasing out of 3rd party cookies will be crucial for the companies that run much of their business from channels beyond their own control. You drive traffic from ads on Facebook, Linkedin and Google, and from ads on the many small and large websites that make a living from advertising revenue from the same platforms.

You are the one who converts the traffic from these channels to sales, but who does not succeed in creating a direct communication path to the customer around these platforms. So when you need to have a new sale through, you are dependent on the major advertising platforms. They know your customers better than you because they track them using, among other things, 3rd party cookies. And although the phasing out of 3rd party cookies does not happen overnight, it is underway and it is already estimated that up to 40% of online traffic in the US has blocked 3rd party cookies, making the targeting of advertising less and less effective.

This is the same trend we see in Denmark and therefore we all need to relate to what challenges we will face with the phasing out of 3rd party cookies, and which solution models can already be drawn up. We point to login solutions, customer data platform, customer relationship management and server side tracking, among other things, but these are just some possible approaches. There are several options depending on what your marketing setup looks like and the solutions are not mutually exclusive.

Timeline for 3rd party cookie death

2011: The EU issues the ePrivacy Directive which gives people the right to reject cookies.

2016: The EU approves the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) which expands the requirements for obtaining acceptance from users on a website before they can be tracked with cookies.

Sept. 2017: Safari starts blocking some 3rd party cookies with the first version of Intelligent Tracking Prevention (ITP).

Oct. 2018: Firefox introduces “Enhanced Tracking Protection” which blocks 3rd party cookies, but that feature is not turned on by default.

Sept. 2019: Firefox blocks all 3rd party cookies by default.

Jan. 2020: Google announces that they will block all 3rd party cookies by default: “Our intention is to do this within 2 years”.

March 2020: Safari blocks all 3rd party cookies by default.

June 2021: Google finally announces that they will block all 3rd party cookies by default in 2023.

Recommended read : Tie your customer data properly with a Customer Data Platform

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