Google will completely disable cookies in the 3rd quarter of 2024. What does this mean for marketers?

What will change after the ending of third-party cookies and how to prepare for these changes - practicing experts have answered. They discussed 6 problems that marketers and website owners will face, as well as 10 ways to solve them.

Google will completely disable cookies in the 3rd quarter of 2024. What does this mean for marketers?

Recently, Google announced that it will completely stop using third-party cookies in Google Chrome by the 3rd quarter of 2024. However, partial change has already occurred. In January, 1% of random users lost access to third-party cookies. For some specialists, this test removal was unexpected, as Google has been postponing cookie cancellation plans for several years.

While Apple and Mozilla have already blocked third-party cookies, it is more challenging for the world's most popular browser, Google, as, unlike Yandex, Google relies entirely on its advertising revenue.

How the end of third-party cookies will affect marketers: 3 possible problems and 4 ways to solve them

Disabling cookies is kind of the end of an era for marketers. Now it will be impossible to:

1. Collect data on user behavior using cookies and analyze the effectiveness of placements.

2. Launch campaigns that use user data from cookies - for example, set up retargeting and bring back those who have already viewed a product.

3.    Personalize ads based on data from third-party files, for example, offer a user who visited the site from an iPhone to buy a protective screen specifically for iOS.

What will happen after Google phases out third-party cookies?

- The number of "new" users on the site will increase.

- The number of direct traffic will increase.

- The quality of attribution will decrease and the length of the chain will shorten.

- It will become more difficult to form cohort reports.

- The cost of customer acquisition will increase.

- The reach of retargeting campaigns will decrease.

Strategy 1. Use a Customer Data Platform (CDP) and unique device identifiers (Device IDs).

CDP allows to collect, unify, and analyze customer data from various sources. This can include information gathered through website registration, newsletter subscriptions, or purchases. Analyzing this data will help marketers better understand their audience and create personalized content and advertising.

Unique device identifiers (Device IDs) help track user behavior and personalize advertising. For example, in mobile advertising, advertising device identifiers such as IDFA (Identifier for Advertising) in iOS and GAID (Google Advertising ID) in Android are used to display ads tailored to the interests of specific users.

Strategy 2. Use artificial intelligence (AI).

Marketers can use AI technologies to analyze large volumes of data and identify patterns and trends in user behavior. This will enable specialists to make more informed decisions and optimize their marketing strategies.

Strategy 3. Collaborate with platforms and publishers.

Marketers can partner with other platforms and advertising networks that provide alternative methods of collecting user data and targeting. For example, using tracking data collected on these platforms, or using their tools and technologies to achieve marketing goals.

It is also worth considering the use of contextual advertising. Instead of relying on user behavior data, marketers can rely on other signals: keywords, page themes, and demographic data. This will allow specialists to reach their target audience and offer them relevant advertising.

It is important to note that these changes in Google Chrome are not the end of the world for marketers. They simply require adaptation and the search for new approaches to data collection and analysis. Instead of relying solely on third-party cookie files, marketers will now use more diverse and reliable methods to obtain information about their audience.

You can also collect first-party data on users:

- lead data from CRM;

- user registrations on the website (if any);

- contacts of your newsletter subscribers;

- contacts of those who have provided data for a lead magnet or other useful content.

Right now, you can upload data about your potential customers to Google Ads to use them for targeting a new audience. Plan in advance all data collection scenarios that will be relevant for your business and will not annoy users.

There are high risks that advertising campaigns will become less effective, and then website owners will lose revenue from advertising. It is already worth starting to collect your own data, improve user experience and use alternative data collection methods. Also, it is a good idea to work with contextual advertising, use analytical tools, and collaborate with partners and platforms to set up more precise and personalized advertising (yes, the same recommendations as for marketers).

More things to consider and actions to take:

1.    Use alternative tracking methods. Instead of standard cookies, you can use anonymous identifiers that do not contain personal information about the user. This can be implemented using technologies like Local Storage or IndexedDB, where data is stored locally on the user's device. There are also analytical tools that do not require the use of cookies to track user activity. For example, Google Analytics can be set up to use anonymized IP addresses and disable the use of cookies.

2. Test Consent Mode v2 - this is an updated consent mode provided by Google for website owners. It allows website owners to collect conversion data for users who have not consented to the use of their personal information. This is especially useful for website owners who want to improve measurement accuracy and bidding algorithms even without consent from some users.

3. Update the privacy policy and inform users about what data is collected and how it is used.

4. Develop transparent consent mechanisms so that users can control what data is collected about them and how it is used.

5. Improve user experience. Focus on creating high-quality and valuable content that attracts and retains users. Improving user experience can lead to greater engagement and conversion without using third-party cookie files.

6.    Optimize login forms, surveys, quizzes on the site, set up cross-linking and relevant offers, search. All of this will also allow users to improve their interaction with the site and become your customers.