What’s happening to Cookies?

Delete cookies monster cartoon

(Credit: Imgur imagine-sharing)

In January 2020, Google announced its plans ‘to phase out support for third-party cookies in Chrome within three years. By 2023, all major browsers (Google Chrome, Firefox, Safari) will have blocked the use of third-party cookies. This has the potential to alter the landscape for digital advertising which currently relies extensively on third-party cookie data for personalization. Businesses and agencies need to prepare and adapt to changes in personalization solutions.

Here is a recent presentation we did on the subject, and it is followed by 10 steps we can take now to prepare for the cookieless world:


10 steps we can take to adapt to no longer having 3rd party cookies:

1. Build first-party data

First-party data such as emails collected from promos and form-fills will ensure that remarketing is seen as valuable instead of annoying.

Without 3d party cookies and remarketing based on them, brands will need to build up their supply of first-party data. They’ll need to make sure the website is set up to collect the data they need — whether it’s emails, phone numbers, shopping history, or on-page behavior.

Building in a lead capture mechanism is more important than ever. Clients usually see improved performance on campaigns that have customer list targeting.

2. Leverage tools like time- and- location-based messaging

It will help to provide a similar sense of user customization that we had with targeting based on audience identity and behavior.

Campaigns applying deep personalization through clever geo-targeting and time-parting (often called ‘moment marketing’) typically generate high engagement and even lead to advertising awards, but are still not widely used in the industry!

Combining these tactics with contextual targeting will allow marketers to draw new customers to their site and serve them a personalized experience that’s totally cookieless.

3. Utilize Contextual Targeting

Contextual advertising is a form of targeted advertising for advertisements appearing on websites or other media, such as content displayed in mobile browsers.

Contextual targeting allows advertisers to display relevant ads based on the website’s content rather than using the data about the visitor. The idea is not completely new; before the advent of the Internet, contextual targeting was widely used in magazine and newspaper ads. So we’re basically back to the origins of the ads here.

4. Monitoring the market

Being able to quickly gather, visualize, and interpret the data will help you optimize your campaigns, as well as to remove that ‘dark data cloud’ and make your life easier. Also analyzing which search terms are worth investing in is key to the success of your campaigns. It doesn’t make sense to spend your budget on search terms you rank first or even second organically.

5. Keeping ad messaging fresh

Implement RSAs across your campaigns, and create A/B testing on your smaller laser-focused AdGroups, to learn what works faster and get better campaign results.

When it comes to creating fresh content, look to your competitors for inspiration. You can emulate their messaging to win on a bidding strategy or completely pivot your content to stand out.

If you adopt best practices with your ad content and create impactful landing pages you can also increase your conversions and improve your on-page quality score.

6. Leverage Dynamic Search Ads

Dynamic search ads help you to capture new search queries and increase the impression share for existing search campaigns.

7. Optimizing smart shopping campaigns

Smart shopping can help with new customer acquisition


8. Enable Audience Expansion or targeting expansion

You can enable Audience Expansion or targeting expansion on Remarketing and Customer Match campaigns and/or include Similar Audiences to recuperate any lost reach

Audience expansion can help you reach new and relevant audiences that are likely to convert. Google uses the audience signals that you provide (such as your customer data, custom segments, and more) as a starting point, then goes beyond them to find more conversions for your campaign.

Targeting expansion is automatically enabled when targeting eligible audiences. For first-party audiences, the targeting expansion slider will be set to No expansion by default. For Google audiences and custom lists, it will be set to the first segment (least expansion) by default.

9. Implement best-in-class cookie consent management solutions

If you haven’t already done so, you should cookie consent management solution to ensure that your first-party data is fully compliant with regulations and future-proof. Also, clearly communicate to your customers how you process and protect their data, to increase trust

10. Explore second-party data from tech leaders.

Google and Facebook, for example, offer aggregated but granular audience data collected across their respective platforms (including Google Search, YouTube and all websites within the Google Display Network, and Facebook and Instagram) through their respective media buying platforms (Google Ads and Display & Video 360, and Facebook Ads Manager), completely free of additional charge (unlike third-party data).