You may have heard that Google is eliminating third-party cookies by 2022. What does this mean for you—or your marketing? It’s important to understand that there are first- and third-party cookies. It’s only third-party cookies that are being eliminated.
So what are cookies?
Cookies identify online users and have become a mainstay of digital advertising. As web servers have no memory of their own, cookies make websites remember our actions. In this way, they’re not asked to perform a task over and over again. In their simplest application, they help provide a better user experience.
Ever wonder how our favorite sites remember our login information?
Or how they remember the languages we speak, the items in our carts, and other key things that make our online experiences seamless? They’re using cookies to remember these details. I’m in Istanbul right now, and when I go to sites I use all the time, sometimes they’re in Turkish. My laptop auto-adjusts to Turkey time—not PDT. All the ads are in Turkish. A little bit creepy, but also amazing. It’s cookies, hard at work.
A first-party cookie is a code that gets generated and stored on your website visitors’ computers by default when they visit your site. A first-party cookie will provide information about what users did while visiting your website–how often they visit it and other basic analytics that you can use to help develop an effective marketing strategy.
Third-party cookies are tracking codes that are placed on a web visitor’s computer after being generated by another website other than your own. When a web visitor visits your site and others, the third-party cookie tracks this information and sends it to the third-party who created the cookie–which might be an advertiser.
A great example of the power of third-party cookies
Let’s say you’re getting married and start shopping for wedding paraphernalia–caterers, dresses, flowers, shoes, jewelry, photographers, etc. You pull up Amazon to start researching availability and costs, viewing a lot of items and spending time on a number of product pages. Exhausted from this effort, you pour a glass of wine, purchase a pair of shoes and take a break. Now you start receiving emails and ads for dresses, flowers, caterers, bakeries and jewelry that you looked at on Amazon but didn’t purchase. For any vendor in the wedding industry, having access to this kind of rich information–a user’s browsing history–is powerful. This is what third-party cookies are able to deliver. And this is what the data wars are all about.
If you’re an advertiser, third-party cookie data allows you to learn about your web visitor’s overall online behaviors and create comprehensive retargeting strategies to reach them. There is a timeline—some time in 2022, third-party cookies will be eliminated. We’ll see. Frankly, I think they’ll find a workaround—there’s just too much money involved.
Time to talk about digital ads? Contact Top of Mind Marketing. We’re writers and digital marketing specialists.