Don’t worry: your Oreos aren’t going anywhere. We’re talking about that other type of cookie.
Earlier this summer, Google announced that their long-planned deprecation of the use of third-
party tracking cookies in Chrome would be postponed yet again. That means web marketers
now have until 2024 to prepare for a “cookieless” world in the browser favored by nearly two-
thirds of all internet users around the globe.
This might seem like a long time away, but without adequate preparation starting now, any
organization that relies on accurate advertising analytics to inform their business decisions may
find themselves scrambling to adapt to this new environment.
Defining Third-Party Tracking Cookies
Let’s step back for a minute. What exactly is a cookie, anyway? If you’re using a standard web
browser across most devices, you’ve probably encountered a pop up box that asks you to either
accept or reject a site’s “cookies,” which are essentially files that website publishers and ad
sellers use to create a profile of a consumer’s behavior across that browser. Ever clicked on a
pair of shoes, then navigated to another site, only to see an ad pop up for those shoes again
(and again…and again)? You can thank third-party cookies for that experience.
While the information collected by cookies has historically been seen to benefit anybody selling
a product or service online, the ongoing use of these cookies presents two key problems.
First, as Ad Age recently put it, “Cookies have come to embody everything wrong with loose
data policies that track everything a person does online, often without permission.” For
consumers, the omnipresence of the cookie pop-up box can become overwhelming and merely
something to get rid of as quickly as possible. The vast majority of us will click “Accept All
Cookies” and skip the fine print, crossing our fingers that nothing untoward occurs as a result of
Second, cookies have in many ways stifled innovation in online advertising. While algorithms
evolve, the basic premise remains the same, which means that consumers are becoming
increasingly savvy with how their data is being used online (remember those shoes?). When
marketers become complacent and focus more on the technology than the content and strategy,
they run the risk of seeing diminishing returns in their campaigns. “Cookie fraud” is a real thing,
and by one account, the use of bots to interact with digital ads means that the rates of consumer
identity matching – that is, lining up data across a browser to ensure you’re accurately tracking
different actions by the same user – hovers between 40% and 60%. These low match rates
mean that, on average, you might be throwing away half your budget on a potential customer.
For these reasons and more, MF Digital Marketing is already deploying technology that
anticipates this cookieless future, addressing consumer privacy concerns by collecting only the
minimum data required to carry out a task. Simultaneously, our approach utilizes anonymized
real-time data on real people, resulting in higher conversion rates for our clients.
If your organization hasn’t yet considered the implications of Google’s phasing out of third-party
tracking cookies, now’s the time. We’d welcome an opportunity to demonstrate how a combination of
innovative technology and targeted messaging can significantly improve your campaign results.