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What does a cookieless Google mean for marketers?

By 5th January 2021January 23rd, 2023No Comments
What does a cookieless Google mean for marketers

At the turn of 2020, Google announced that it would be phasing out third-party cookies in its own-brand browser, Chrome. If that had been the worst thing to happen for the rest of the year, we’d be laughing!

The changes were said to be coming into force within two years – though some could be here as early as the end of 2020. So, what exactly does this mean for marketers?

What are cookies?

The term ‘cookie’ relates to small data files that collect records of users’ activity on a website. If you’ve ever been shopping and added something to your basket, then left the site only to return to the item still there, that’s a cookie in action.

Third-party cookies, meanwhile, allow user activity to be shared with technology partners. That’s why you’ll see items you’ve been browsing appearing as display ads (retargeting). It’s all to do with cookie data.

Up until now, this has proven indispensable to marketers. They can use this browser activity to learn more about their customers. So why is Google cutting off this essential data source?

A privacy issue

Google Chrome’s director of engineering Justin Schuh said that it all comes down to privacy. “Users are demanding greater privacy – including transparency, choice and control over how their data is used.”

Instead, Google will ask advertisers to use its “Privacy Sandbox”. Advertisers will still be able to run ads, but they will no longer have access to users’ personal details. We won’t see the full extent of this until 2022, but it could prove to be a death knell for marketers who rely on this too heavily.

What next for digital marketers?

If you’re concerned about Google’s latest changes, don’t panic. As a small creative studio in Chorley, we’ve seen just how effective campaigns can be without data on a global scale. It’s all about better targeting, which is arguably a better marketing strategy going forward. For 2021 and beyond, try these tactics instead:

Harness your own data.

It’s not all about cookies. How many people are opening your campaigns, and who’s clicking on them? Can you create customer segments based on these, for example, people who buy once a month? You can then send targeted campaigns to more specific user groups.

Ask for their permission.

They thought GDPR would kill marketing – but it didn’t! There’s no harm in asking users for their permission to send out promotions. For example, if they download a piece of gated content, you can use this as an opportunity to put them on your mailing lists, and you’ll learn what content interests them.

Implement a company-wide data policy.

You should add this to your internal documents, as well as to any customer-facing literature, for example, your website privacy policy. Let your teams know what is ethical, and legal, and do the same when communicating with customers. Don’t forget the GDPR ‘right to be forgotten’. Customer who feels their privacy is being protected is more likely to engage with your brand.

Get help from digital marketing experts in Chorley

Can’t distinguish your analytics from your elbow? Don’t sweat it. Our trained data marketers will show you how to make the most of the data you’ve got to create targeted marketing campaigns – without alienating customers.

Contact Tall Zebra Designs today and stay in the know with the latest Google updates.