It’s time for businesses to start thinking about the impact of third party cookies being removed entirely.
Following in the footsteps of Apple Safari and Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome are moving towards removing third party cookies from their browser.
Given that Chrome accounts for 65.52% of all browsing activity it’s time to start looking at the impact for online advertisers while also taking into account how this will affect their users.
Although there are ripples within the marketing community it’s happening for good reason. A cookieless internet promotes better transparency and privacy of data.
The real question is how can publishers, advertisers and agencies continue to target and grow their audience?
At SaleCycle, we primarily utilise java script and local storage technology rather than cookies in the strict sense. However, the term “cookies” is often used to capture cookies and these similar types of technologies and for the purposes of this Article we will use the broader term of cookies.
The anticipated Google Chrome change will impact both cookies and similar technologies deployed under the third party method. In recent years SaleCycle moved towards only dealing with first party deployment of our technology, which means we are perfectly placed to navigate the upcoming regulations.
Here, we’ll go through the pros and cons while also looking ahead as to what this means for marketers and how you can utilise this change.
What Are Third Party Cookies?
Third party cookies are placed on websites by someone other than the owner (third party). The cookie then collects data for the third party. These are primarily used for advertising purposes and are added to a website through a script or tag. A third-party cookie is accessible on any website that loads the third-party server’s code. Third party cookies are used to remember something about the user for the next visit.
- Why should marketers care: third party cookies allow you to learn about your web visitors overall behaviour. Including things like purchases and websites visited and even interests shown. This allows you to build accurate visitor profiles and retargeting campaigns.
What Are First Party Cookies?
First party cookies are placed by the website (or domain) you visit. These allow websites to gather information such as language settings to streamline the users’ experience on a website. This information only goes to the party whose website you visit. These are seen as an agreement between the user and the website to create a better experience.
- Why should marketers care: first party cookies allow you to understand what a user did while visiting your website. For example, it is the power of first party cookies that remember items in your online shopping cart or your login details for a smoother shopping experience.
What’s The Difference Between First & Third Party Cookies?
The main difference between first and third party cookies is that first party cookies are mainly there to improve the user experience and are set by the publisher’s web server whereas third party cookies are mostly about collecting visitor behaviour, which are set by a third party server.
First Party Cookies vs Third Party Cookies
Imagine first party cookies as friendly sales people. For example, imagine a physical shop, customers go in and out anonymously. However, when you become known by the sales people they may learn the types of products you look at, the colours you prefer, and your favourite looks and then may redirect you to the specific part of the shop. These are helpful cookies that remember your preferences such as your shopping cart items.
However, third party cookies track users between websites and make changes to online experiences. They track your internet browsing activity and then often sell this data to third parties and advertisers. Depending on which side of the fence you sit you could see this as intrusive and dangerous. For example, in some instances they may collect and hold your political beliefs, medical conditions, hobbies and interests, location, age and more. This information allows advertisers to target you with personalised ads and can display these adverts across multiple websites and devices.
This is a type of data that is technically the most valuable when it comes to understanding your customers. It’s also a bulletproof strategy. Zero-Party Data is information that’s given specifically by the customer. For example, having a direct conversation with your customers about their product preferences.
Why Are Cookies Important For Ecommerce Marketing?
Cookies help ecommerce brands to make their customer experience as slick and smooth as possible. As we know, this could be the difference between a new customer or a customer returning down the line.
It’s important to personalise marketing communications to enable your customers to feel wanted. This is a sure fire way to make improvements to your customer experience website journey. Research by Accenture found 83% of consumers are willing to share their data to get a more personalised experience.
Google’s Take On Removing Third Party Cookies: Building A More Private Web
Justin Schuh, Director of Chrome Engineering, wrote a blog post about the path to removing third party cookies completely.
The Privacy Sandbox is a new concept that aims to make web browsing more private while also supporting publishers. Essentially Google is suggesting their pivot is a positive move for the user.
Schuh touched on the fact that Firefox and Safari had already removed third party cookies. However, Google will begin a phase out over two years to ensure the protection of online advertising businesses.
He says: “Some browsers have reacted to these concerns by blocking third-party cookies, but we believe this has unintended consequences that can negatively impact both users and the web ecosystem.”
It’s important to understand Google’s stance given that Google Chrome is the most widely used browser in the world. For example, according to Global Stats research as of September 2022 Chrome takes a 65.52% share of the internet browser market.
It’s interesting to note that although other browsers like Safari and Firefox removed third party cookies Chrome is still the leading browser.
First Party Cookies Future For Marketing: Here’s How
There are many different ways to pivot with this change as well as using first party data to spearhead your marketing strategies.
Improve Your Opt-In Features
Create value by offering a newsletter because first party cookies can help to fuel a more personalised marketing strategy. Essentially you can optimise the amount, type or placement of opt-in magnets around your website.
For example you can try to make it rewarding for those that opt-in by offering consistent value or even a discount code – depending on your industry.
This allows you to develop a large database of users who you can market to using email marketing strategies while also being able to export data to create audiences for social media retargeting campaigns.
Utilise Your Email A/B Testing
To get the most of your first party cookie data it’s important to test your emails – everything from subject lines, send times and the content within them.
With no more third party cookies many traditional marketing practices also get phased out. Now it’s vital for brands to make their first party cookie data work for them and be more effective with the customer insights received from other channels. This presents an opportunity for brands to create better content that resonates with their audience and therefore actually increase customer loyalty and conversions.
Utilise Omnichannel Marketing
There are now many different ways to reach and engage with potential buyers and customers. Using first party cookies on your website allows you to inject customer profiles into your journey – including on-site messaging – giving you all the right tools to personalise the experience.
Have A Clear Understanding Of Your Customers
It’s more important than ever to have a clear understanding of your ideal customer. Define your ICP (ideal customer profile) and make sure this is communicated with your marketing and acquisition teams.
SaleCycle has developed its technology in response to Safari and Firefox changes and in anticipation of upcoming Google Chrome third party cookies changes and we are positioned to deploy in a first party format to ensure that we can continue to remarket to visitors to your website. As stated above we don’t strictly rely upon cookies as a distinct technology but have flexibility in our deployment to ensure we continue to serve our existing and future clients.
In addition, SaleCycle’s solutions have always been implemented locally to the client’s websites and we have never sold data to third parties or tracked visitors across multiple platforms/ websites and as a result we are uniquely positioned to efficiently utilise the power of first party cookie technology to continue to recover conversions and optimise sales on our clients websites beyond the upcoming changes.
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Brad Ward is the SEO & Content Manager at SaleCycle. Brad is a former magazine journalist with over 8 years experience in digital, including SEO, social media and copywriting. Brad has written thousands of articles for a range of different sectors including online gambling, travel, education, sports and ecommerce.