Personalization is losing its foothold in website development amidst data privacy concerns. As more users demand transparency in how their information is stored—and shared—internet browsers are lending their support to the cause by blocking of third-party cookies.
We know that users only respond to the most relevant targeted content placed on their timelines and sidebars. Yet over the past year, Mozilla, Apple, and Google have all enacted measures to remove the third-party cookies that make those highly-relevant ads possible. The audience sizes of these browsers combined represents 90%+ of internet users, so this signals an end to the powerful advertising tool by 2022.
A big shift is coming to marketing.
Wait! What’s a Third-Party Cookie?
A third-party cookie is designed to track your activity across multiple websites. It shares your personal information with a third-party that is not affiliated with the domain you are currently browsing.
When you browse the web with multiple tabs open, third-party cookies log your interactions across all your website activity as a single session, storing this information and sending it to third parties for future marketing. A good rule of thumb is if a website displays ads, then it has third-party cookies. You can check if a website is using third-party cookies here.
See the data privacy problem? In the post-GDPR world, people are asking questions as to how their data is being accessed, and for what reasons. With complete transparency now being required at each step of a data exchange, third-party cookies come with too many risks of exploitation of user data.
But third-party cookies are not ALL bad. In fact, the biggest user of third-party cookies (who won’t be immediately impacted by this change) is Google.
The Google ad network stores users’ search patterns, interests, and demographic data across websites to tailor their ads, and it looks like they are gearing up for a monopoly on third-party personalization across domains. We’ll just have to wait until 2022 to see how their stance on third-party cookies applies to their own advertising networks, and what workarounds, if any, they provide to their ad publishers.
But What About My CPC Strategy?
Google released research last year that predicted the loss of third-party cookies will lead to a 52% loss in global ad revenue. What does this mean for marketers making use of ad placements in their content strategy? Google has stated their goal is to reduce this impact as much as possible, but details on how they plan to achieve this are scarce at best.
This change will also impact users who offer advertising space on their website. The onus will be on them to make sure their advertisements are placed only in the most appropriate locations, rather than relying on user’s past web activity to filter results.
This shift seems to indicate that Google intends to move towards traditional advertising placements, putting the work on ad publishers to carefully place content on only the most relevant websites, rather than relying on tracking behind the scenes.
With this change in full effect for Google Chrome users in 2020, marketers will soon have to find new ways to reach their ideal customers through targeted campaigns, by relying more heavily on research.
What do you do now?
The extent of these changes are still uncertain. But now is the time for you to prepare for whatever awaits us around the corner.
Start by diversifying your advertising platforms instead of relying heavily on third-party cookies. Use LinkedIn ads that target your subscribers to further encourage them to convert, make sure your website is doing its part through a solid SEO strategy and user experience that drives conversions, and consider personalized outreach through LinkedIn Social Selling.
Being a successful marketer means adapting to industry trends faster than the rest of the pack. By thinking about how CPC strategies will evolve, you ensure your organization contends in future advertising efforts no matter how the landscape shifts.