A World Without Cookies
Posted on 5th January 2024 at 15:55
Read Time: Approx. 3 Minutes 50 Seconds
Author: Lewis Stretton & Dave Trolle
On January 4th 2024, Google removed third-party cookies for 1% of its Chrome users, marking the start of its plan to be a cookieless world by 2024. Although 1% doesn’t seem like a large amount, this will represent around 30 million users globally.
What are Cookies?
Cookies are a sweet biscuit that sometimes contain chocolate or fruit … Cookies on the internet are a small bit of information that is stored on your device. This text is unique to your device, and this allows you to be tracked.
Now we have established that cookies are stored online, there is 3 different cookies. First Party, Second Party and Third Party. The main 2 cookies are First Party and Third Party
First Party Cookies: These are cookies you accept when you visit a site and this allows the website owner to collect data, remember language settings and make the user experience better.
Third Party Cookies: These are created by domains that are not the website. These are used for online advertisers to gather the data.
Is this information new to us?
The answer is no. Advertisers were alerted in 2020 that cookies were going to be extinct from Chrome. However, after multiple delays, with them first stating it “would end within two years” in 2020, they extended the timeline to complete the process by late 2023. The latest delay was targeted for the advertisers as this delay gave users of the online industry time to test and prepare for a world without cookies and use Google’s Privacy Sandbox Initiative. We predicted that there would be many changes to cookieless tracking in our 2021 predictions and 2022 predictions. The current timeline with the first changes being made, is predicted to be gone by the end of 2024.
Google has been preparing in many different ways for the removal of cookies. Starting with the sunset of Universal Analytics, with the addition of GA4 being Google’s measurement option. One of the big changes with GA4 was its change to a cookieless tracking approach. To deal with this, GA4 uses tracking ID’s instead of third-party cookies and has also integrated machine learning to fill in any possible gaps it may miss. If you are missing the gaps of knowledge on GA4 our blog discussing the changes to tracking and privacy will guide you.
What does this mean to us and other marketers in the digital space?
The significance of a world without cookies means that your ID is no longer there to be tracked. Marketers use these ID’s to track performance, categorise users and so much more. This means marketers could target ads based on your interests, sites visits and your journeys in the online world. With all this data gathered up they could make sure you are receiving relevant ads. So without the ID, the current 1% of users will now be targeted totally differently online. We talked about The Challenge of Cookie Deprecation in one of our product update blogs and what it means when cookies sunsets.
How we have prepared and are continuing to prepare for this change.
Since it was announced a couple of years ago, we have prepared in multiple different ways to embrace the change.
Measuring different metrics and sources: With tracking performance, we make sure that we do not only use Google platforms like GA4 and previously, Universal Analytics for tracking performance. For a while now, we have been reporting using multiple platforms, some of the names include Shopify and even Rakuten Advertising for our affiliate clients. This gives us a greater understanding of performance and we can track to see which data is tracking between all platforms and which isn’t.
Getting ahead of the curve with the GA4 migration: We still believe that GA4 is a very reliable platform and should still be used to collect and report data before and after the changes. We set up GA4 for our clients in early 2023 before the switch from UA to prepare ourselves and our clients for how the UA and GA4 changes will affect measurement and ensure all reports are setup. We have also developed a number of guides, which we have published to the industry. If you are interested in discovering some of the changes or understanding how to use GA4, read our user guide to support you.
3rd party media and tech partners: We have also understood how media and tech partners have prepared for the change, to ensure they have future proofed their solutions and are capturing / tracking data using first party cookie. It’s important to understand which cookies are being used to collect data, to determine any limitations and flag whether they may have to look at other solutions, for the service.
Gaining more first party data: As the cookie crumbled, we’ve also been working with our partners to build up their first party data, to support with future retargeting techniques. This has included enriching existing customer data, through a range of methods including surveying and gamification, to understand the needs and preferences, along with acquiring new first party data through collaborations via our brand partnership service.
If the above has peaked your interest or if have any additional questions, please feel free to contact us. We are happy to help
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