We’ve written about Google’s cookies before – twice in fact. Our most recent post was from last year, intended to provide an update about upcoming changes. But just shy of a year later, it’s time to take another look at the topic. Specifically, let’s explore how marketers are planning to handle advertising without cookies and how they may adjust Google ads accordingly.

What’s The Latest With Google Cookies?

Google had initially said it was aiming to get rid of third-party cookies by 2022, but here we are in Q2 and they’re still alive and well. What gives? Well, in June of last year, Google revised its estimate, saying the new plan is to phase out third-party cookies by late 2023. So, while the tech behemoth is indeed kicking the can down the road a bit more than expected, the ultimate result will still be the same.

Replacing Third-Party Cookies

Google promised to release an alternative to cookie-based advertising and has already made some attempts to that end. It started by introducing the Federated Learning of Cohorts (FLoC) concept, which was intended to group people with similar interests together and allow advertisers to target these cohorts rather than individuals. 

Since then, FLoC has been replaced by Topics. This new concept is said to have been inspired by learnings from the FloC program and revolves around identifying users’ topics of interest by categorizing the sites they visit into one of 300 topics. This tech is still in the early stages of development, but you can keep an eye on it here.

Should You Adjust Google Ads?

Well, it’s not just Google ads that need adjusting; savvy marketers will need to revisit (and possibly revamp) much of their overall marketing and advertising strategy as cookies, privacy, and technology constantly evolve. But, when it comes to preparing for the inevitable demise of third-party cookies, there are some things marketers can do. 

We concur with the following tips from the research experts at Gartner: 

  • Invest more into first-party data collected with consent
  • Consider partnering with large publishers who also collect first-party data
  • Plan to use contextual advertising, which “focuses on the page instead of the user”

All great advice, and we’ll add one more: develop real relationships with your customers, so you can learn about their interests directly from them. Here’s some more guidance on how to do that. As always, give us a call if you’d like help setting your digital marketing strategy!