Earlier in the year, Google confirmed its intention to phase out cookies on its Chrome web browser, following Apple’s decision to do the same during its March keynote presentation.
Cookies – those small text files that are created by almost every website you visit – have been used by advertisers for analytics companies for years to build up a picture of each and every user on the web. They use that data to sell targeted advertising. Whether you’re a PPC aficionado or you find leads organically, the chances are that the upcoming cookie ban will impact your brand. Below, we’ve rounded up some tips to ensure you’re well prepared…
Switch to first-party cookies
Although Google is planning to phase out third-party cookies, that’s not to say that first-party cookies aren’t an option to consider. Whenever a customer visits your website, you can collect data such as their location, language, alongside any information they submit via a form or user account. Those who’ve visited your site in the past and have an account have already engaged with your brand and therefore will be more receptive to future marketing.
First-party cookies are also known as HTTP cookies and can be stored on your web server. It’s possible to “connect the dots” and correspond data from your app users and web users; speak to your web developer and look for ways that you can collect these session cookies.
Consider contextual advertising
The removal of cookies – and Apple’s significant ad tracking changes coming to a future iOS 14 update – should encourage brands to have a “fresh start” and reevaluate their current marketing activities. Rather than trying to target individual users based on their interests and previous browsing experiences through pay-per-click, consider contextual advertising by promoting your products and services on sites with a similar target audience to your own.
For example, if you’re an online grocery company, you may have in the past relied on third-party cookies to promote your service on all sorts of websites, from local newspapers to YouTube pre-roll videos. Instead, you could go “cookieless” and promote your service on recipe websites and partner with foodie YouTubers via influencer and affiliate marketing.
Now is the time to think outside the box and consider more inventive advertising methods.
Stick to persistent user IDs
It’s still possible to track users across the web without using third-party cookies. Brands are increasingly turning to persistent user IDs. These identifiers can bridge the gap between users on different websites and devices – like app time, desktop sessions, and mobile web sessions – using deterministic data collected from logins. Amazon and Facebook already use these IDs, and though they’re going to be tougher to track on iPhones from 2021, they’re still a viable alternative to web cookies when they’re necessary for your marketing campaigns.
Remember to be respectful of user privacy
It’s not just legislation like General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) you need to think about – in recent years, consumer attitudes towards privacy have changed a great deal.
As a brand, it’s your responsibility to protect your customers’ data and indeed respect their privacy. If it appears as though your business is participating in unusual practices to drive sales or collect data, existing customers may decide to abandon your brand in favour of an alternative. This extends to third parties you may work with – trackers, analytics tools, and any advertising companies like Google Ads and Facebook Ads, which may also collect data.
Pay for data from other brands
Something else to consider is paying companies for access to data on your customers and potential customers. Remember: you’re not the only one who will be collecting data on users and some companies may be happy to exchange or sell data. Big brands like Google and Facebook are the most obvious here, but you can consider a more localised approach. For example, an estate agent could sell their data (customer names and email addresses) to local removals firms. Remember to comply with GDPR and make it clear that you’re going to sell or use data from third parties; you should also allow your customers to opt-out from this.
If you’re concerned about Google’s upcoming changes to third-party cookies, reach out to the app and web development experts at Zudu. We offer a unique blend of digital marketing services that will put your brand in front of the right audience every time. Call 01382 690080.