Google will also kill 3rd-party cookies by 2023: How to measure going forward?

Author : Elizabeth Mathew

Insight by: Elizabeth Mathew

The holy grail of digital advertising is the measurement capabilities that come with it, rather than shooting in the dark. Now that Google Chrome will stop supporting 3rd party cookies by 2023, how to measure going forward?

As you are already aware, Safari and Firefox have already killed 3rd party cookies. However, Chrome being the most-used browser, this shift will be even more consequential for the ad industry, and ‘cookiepocalypse’ is something widely discussed by marketers in concurrence with the obvious questions:

How will we meaningfully engage with our brand audience?

How will we measure the effectiveness of the digital campaigns and attribute?

If you are a brand or a marketer, it is time to understand the ramifications of the end of 3rd party cookies on digital advertising, and how you can prepare for the future- challenges and opportunities that lie ahead of you.

There is no need to worry, Google Tag Manager Sever-Side Tagging can help you in the post-cookie-less world.

What is a 3rd-party cookie?

Unlike a 1st-party cookie, which is set directly by the website the user visits, a 3rd-party cookie is set by a website other than the one the user has visited.

3rd-party cookies are used as user identifiers and track the user activity across websites they visit in order to send them highly personalized ads based on their interests, online behavior, and the sites they visit.

For Internet users, it is hard to control the data captured and shared by 3rd-party cookies. 3rd-party cookies do not provide users any visibility into the brands processing their data and when they are being followed across the internet.

Data Protection Regulations

The growing concerns around consumer data and privacy have paved the way for legislation like GDPR and CCPA. The regulations empowered consumers to be in charge of their data. Therefore, it is important for brands to create transparent standards for user privacy and adopt means to collect user data that are aligned with regulatory requirements.

Key events: End of 3rd-party cookies:

  • 2016: The European Union enacted GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation), which requires websites to seek explicit user consent before tracking users with cookies.
  • 2017: Apple announces ITP (Intelligent Tracking Prevention) for Safari to block 3rd-party cookies.
  • 2019: Mozilla brings out ETP (Enhanced Tracking Protection) for Firefox and announces that Firefox will block all 3rd-party cookies by default.
  • 2019: Apple announces ITP v2.1 for Safari, and it will block all 3rd-party cookies by default.
  • 2020: Google announces a plan to kill 3rd-party cookies by 2022.
  • 2021: Google announces restricted use of Android IDs by the end of 2021.
  • 2023: Google’s revised deadline to killing 3rd-party cookies in Chrome.

And now, brands need to run early on and start measuring without 3rd-party cookies, while respecting user privacy and the regulations that are in place.

3rd-Party Cookies Never Have Been Great

That being said, 3rd-party cookies were never aligned with user data privacy, and they haven’t also been the ideal way to measure the effectiveness of digital campaigns. Here are a few we can dive into:

The use of 3-party cookies and/or the last-click attribution model has resulted in an incomplete picture of the effectiveness of your advertising that truly drives your business outcomes. 

Cross-channel tracking with 3rd-party cookies has been getting increasingly difficult due to different platforms using different sets of user identifiers and the walled gardens built by tech giants.

3rd-party cookies have been notoriously poor in measuring the long-term effects across devices and platforms for a while because of the ongoing evolution of the internet, with the same users often owning and using multiple devices. Imagine your target audience wading the internet with their: Smartphone web-browser, Smartphone in-app browser, Smartphone native app, Laptop web-browser(s), Tablet web-browser, Tablet in-app browser, Tablet native app, Smart TV, etc.  All of these work with different user identifiers. 

12 days is the half-life of an average ad tech 3rd-party cookie. 50% of the cookies placed are dead just 12 days after they are dropped.

The attribution accuracy of 3rd-party cookies for their consumer identity match rates hovers around a poor 40% and 60%.

Importance of 1st-Party Data and How GTM Server-Side Tagging Can Help?

In a world where tech giants are consolidating their dominance by building walled gardens by collecting massive amounts of 1st-party data, and then restrictive access to that data, it is critical to prepare your own 1st-party data strategy.

For brands to meaningfully engage with their target audience and measure the effectiveness of digital campaigns in the post-cookie-less world, they need to embrace a 1st-party data strategy and consent-based advertising by seeking user content before collecting and processing user data.

When done right, 1st-party data and implementing Google Tag Manager Server-Side Tagging can map user behavior for better ad targeting and intent data measurement that respects user privacy and is compliant with regulations.

Learn more on how you can easily use Google Tag Manager Server-Side Tagging to convert 3rd-party cookies into 1st-party cookies, stay compliant with GDPR, CCPA, and other regulations, and at the same time bring additional benefits for your target audience like: better user experience, faster website loading, and more with GTM Server-Side Tagging.

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