The new era of cookies

You probably remember, the entrance to the cookie policy. This caused (at least for me) a huge irritation. With every website I visited it came up and I clicked it all away blindly without thinking twice because I wanted to see the content I was looking for. But what do you actually give permission for as a consumer when you press the button? Because let’s be honest, who looks at all the terms and conditions before you click ok… hardly anyone.

Just a little refresher course, cookies what is that again?

A cookie is a small text file that a website places on your computer’s hard drive when you visit the site. This allows the website to distinguish you from other users. Identifying users is very valuable. By tracking what pages the user visits on the website, the offer can be adapted to the user. Think of recommended products or relevant articles.

With cookies, a distinction is made between first-party and third-party cookies. First-party cookies are placed directly by the website owner. For example, the cookies with which the website owner receives data about the visitor in Google Analytics. Third-party cookies are placed by third parties that often have nothing to do with the website owner (think of Facebook and Google). This, for example, to collect data about the user’s click behavior and location in order to subsequently be able to show personalized advertisements to this user. This last variant will soon disappear completely.

After Safari and Firefox, Google, as the browser with the largest reach, is now also coming over. Google will phase out third-party cookies by the end of 2023.

What is the consequence of shelving the third-party cookies?

Third-party cookies have long provided important data that serves as the basis for online advertising. With this, everything about you as a user can be linked together and, as a result, communicate with you in a more relevant and personal way. However, new legislation is turning this traditional advertising model upside down. It becomes inevitable to get your ads to the right users in a different way, retargeting will also lead to this. But is this really that bad?

This change in privacy legislation forces us as marketers to look differently at the data we already have at our disposal and how we deal with it.

What steps can you take?

It is smart to start thinking now about what the best strategy is for you for the future. Fortunately, you can go in several directions.

    1. For example, look at the Umfeld. Do not look at who is behind the screen, but look at what is happening on the screen. Does the online advertisement fit well with the content of the website on which you are advertising. Or focus more on variables that have nothing to do with one person, but more on a group level. This allows you to share your personalized message with a group of people who are in the same category. This 2nd option can be used in the future with Google’s Federated Learning or Cohorts. Your personal profile is no longer looked at here, but you are an anonymous part of a ‘cohort’, a group of users with similar surfing behavior. This way your privacy as a user is also better guaranteed. Research has shown that users who do not give consent deal with advertisements differently, if they click it is more aware and more valuable. That means more time spent on your domain and higher conversion. (source: FrankWachting)
    2. In addition, you can collect data by facilitating an account login to a website (so the visitor still pays with his data) or use an identity framework. As a website you can then ask to log in with Facebook, Google etc. so that the user always logs in with the same e-mail address. This officially uses first-party cookies, but this way a website can still map someone’s search behavior based on an email address. Whether this is really completely ok with the privacy law is still doubtful.
    3. Setting up a paywall to keep generating revenue is also an option. However, it is already noticeable that consumers only accept this to a certain extent or will eventually switch between subscriptions (for example, think of all streaming services that are available today).

One thing is certain, the future for online marketing will look very different. As far as I’m concerned, a nice change for consumer privacy and a nice challenge for us as marketers!

Written by Michelle Molenaar

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