It’s baaaaaaack! No, Biscoff cookies still aren’t being served on planes again, but we’ve got something almost as yummy. We wrote about this a couple of years ago, but wanted to revisit the topic now that there have been official changes announced. Here’s what you need to know about cookies in advertising, why Google is making updates (hint: it has to do with advertising and privacy), and targeting options in Google ads once the changes go into effect.
Out With The Stale (Cookies)
Here’s a quick refresher on cookies. They are small pieces of code that track individuals and their activity as they use the web, which advertisers then use to create personalized ads. In recent years, consumers have become more and more concerned about this type of tracking and more firm about protecting their privacy. They’ve also been more resistant to businesses storing, selling, and using their personal information. As the outcry has gotten louder, the giant has seemingly listened.
In January, Google shared that it would be ending support for third-party cookies in its Chrome browser within two years. Third-party cookies are those that are on other websites, whereas first-party cookies are intended for use on the same domain on which they’re embedded. Third-party cookies are the ones being kicked to the curb; first-party are not.
This means that yes, this move will protect user privacy but no, it does not eliminate web tracking altogether.
How Does This Impact Your Ads?
The main thing to remember is that third-party cookies will be phased out over a couple of years, so your ads are not likely going to be impacted for quite some time. But, you should prepare for how this move is going to reshape the digital ad ecosystem, which has largely been built upon third-party cookies to date.
Google said it’s not going to replace third-party cookies with another system for following individual users across the internet, so a similar level of targeting won’t be attainable. But, the tech giant did disclose its “web products will be powered by privacy-preserving APIs which prevent individual tracking while still delivering results for advertisers and publishers.”
Some of the shift seems to be heading toward tracking the behaviors of cohorts of like-minded people, so groups could be targeted but individuals wouldn’t be. Oh, and it’s important to note that Google will still most certainly be tracking users of its own services so it will be different types, but there will not be a shortage of data to be used in advertising.
Although data is advertisers’ bread and butter, it’s all in all a positive sign that the most powerful player is taking rather major steps toward protecting consumer privacy. Companies will still have plenty of tools at their disposal in addition to data, like keyword contextual-based advertising, customer relationship building, and more, that will help fuel ad efforts and make them successful.
In the meantime, there’s no need to stress. Google says advertisers can expect at least 95% of the conversions per dollar spent in a test of one proposed ad initiative (compared to cookie-based advertising), so Google Ads are sure to remain a viable and rewarding avenue for advertisers.
For now, we recommend continuing with your existing Google Ads strategy and staying tuned for further details as changes start to go into effect. Need help planning your digital ad strategy – and/or future-proofing it? Give us a call!