Google wants to ditch all third-party cookies within their browser Google Chrome in the year 2022. So, what does this mean for us in performance marketing and what potential risks and issues could we face? And are there any solutions to this obstacle?
Honestly, my first thought was: Great! Now Google can´t do as much tracking with third-party- cookies as before. But is that really the case?
First of all, let´s answer the question: What actually are third-party cookies?
Cookies are data records that are stored in the user’s browser when he visits a page with advertising. Third-party cookies are used by advertisers who collect user information through their advertising on other sites with cookies. Google uses these third-party-cookies to sell them to advertisers. At least that´s what they did so far.
The exact differences between first-party cookies and third-party cookies are:
- are set by the website the user is currently visiting
- are not accessible across different domains
- contain meaningful reports such as
- Necessary cookies – suitable for online stores and give insight into the Users shopping cart
- Performance cookies – give information about loading times or the behavior of the website with different browsers
- Functional cookies – increase the usability of a website
- Advertising cookies – show advertising to the user according to his surfing behavior
- Are set by third parties (third parties)
- Tracking of the user’s surfing behavior over a longer period of time without explicit login to the website.
This provides us with important information such as:
- Navigation of the user via links
- How much time they spent on different pages
- Different page views and the frequency of the views
This shows that it is always possible for both first-party cookies and third-party cookies to be collected during a website visit. With these third-party cookies, advertisers are able to place advertisements on the visited pages.
Due to increasingly harsh criticism from users, Google has also decided to abandon third-party cookies in addition to the GDPR law in 2022 and to improve the privacy of Chrome users with the new Chrome Update.
(More information on the topic of cookies and conversion rates here)
So, what potential issues could arise in the performance marketing space?
First, a little recap: What is performance marketing?
Performance marketing prevents the economic blind flight and enables that every marketing measure can be checked, questioned and optimized at any time.
Performance Marketing consists of four areas that strategically build on each other:
1. goal setting: what do I want to achieve?
2. marketing initiatives (channels): How do I achieve it?
3. controlling: Why do I do what I do?
4. optimization: Where do I need to improve?
(You can find a detailed article on about performance marketing this here)
Tracking is an important prerequisite in performance marketing to be able to achieve the actual performance and to check the performance of advertising campaigns or the usability of a website. Only through user tracking you are able to
- record orders and buyer behavior
- it can be checked which products have the highest or lowest sales
- which pages are preferred by men or rather by women
- in which age group they are
And the most important for third-party-cookies:
- from where do the users of a page come
- on which page do the visitors leave
With most of the marketing tools we don’t have to worry, because you can do tracking with them with the help of first-party-cookies. The information from first-party-cookies is only exchanged between the user and website owner. As soon as a User visits your website, this User is automatically assigned a number (cookie) which is recorded for further visits.
Tracking is not only possible via the own website, but also via several websites that cooperate with each other. This is where third-party cookies come into play. Without the information from third-party cookies, it is difficult to track visitor behavior.
So, what can we do to avoid this problem?
The best solution for this problem is not just one marketing tool. It is rather a good marketing mix that makes the difference! This could be achieved, for example, through
- First-party cookie tracking
- See above
- Tracking parameters
- When a user clicks or views an advertisement, the advertiser wants information about that view or click. This is possible through parameter-based tracking. A snapshot is taken of the moment the user clicks on the ad. This makes it possible to see what aroused the user’s interest and what made him want to click on the page the ad was shown in.
- Server-side tracking
- Server-side tracking involves collecting data in the web server over a span of a day and then passing the collected data from the web server to third-party tools.
These are just a few of many tracking methods that can be used to improve as an advertiser even without third-party cookies. Combining the advantages of first-party cookies with the strengths of server-to-server tracking, you get a perfect mix to face the coming challenges.