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Are Cookies Going Away in 2023?

    Last Updated on February 5, 2023

    3rd Party Cookies: Those Old Friends of Ours and the Pillar of GDPR’s Data Protection are Changing. Here’s what you need to know.

    Digital marketing’s third-party cookies. What will happen to them in 2023? It’s been a subject we’ve been talking about for the last few months. Oddly enough more so over the last week when more news started appearing on social media. This post is a collecting point of information I am reading on the subject of 2023 cookies.

    So Why Are You Writing About 3rd Party Cookies this Year?

    One of my students asked me if it would be good to take an eCommerce class that was on offer. I said yes, but thought it would be out of date by the time she completed it. Especially as there was nothing in the curriculum pertaining to the 3rd party cookie change. In fact, none of my clients have any plans relating to the change. Some people are calling it Cookie Armageddon. A new Y2K?

    I remember being at a New Year’s Eve party in Munich, Germany in 1999. A friend of mine worked for Microsoft then. He had two mobile phones with him. He said if either of these rings, we are in deep sh*t. Neither rang, but everyone was very excited. We were still building websites outside of any CMS. There was no WordPress or Drupal. We had Flash banners up on the internet. It was the Wild West. Anything could have happened. Today we have so much more balanced on the tip of the world wide web than in 1999.

    I Missed the Email: What’s Happening with 3rd Party Cookies?

    Google announced that it will phase out 3rd party cookies in the Chrome browser. It also does not plan to build any similar tracking devices. Their plan is for this to happen in 2023. This change will affect anyone advertising with Google Ads, as 3rd party cookies are important for retargeting us when we move from one website to another. They are what activates those display ads we see.

    Google plans to use tokens based on larger groups of people with similar interests and behaviours instead of personalised interests and behaviours. So perhaps we will all start dressing alike and buying the same shoes? Digital advertisers will need to find new ways of retargeting people now, at least in the Chrome browser.

    Why is that a big deal? Chrome is the most widely used browser there is. There are an estimated 3.2 billion internet users worldwide using Chrome as their main browser. (Statista)

    What will other advertisers do? Facebook for instance? There are still some interesting questions, not to mention the idea of siloed tokens. I imagine a world of Google customers, Amazon customers, Apple customers, Facebook customers … especially if we are talking about groups of individuals.

    What is Google Saying About 3rd Party Cookie Alternatives?

    Alternatives to cookies 

    Advertising and e-commerce will need to evolve to operate in a cookie-less world. Technologists are rising to the cookie privacy challenge by developing alternatives. Interest-based advertising and new methods for website remarketing are under development as alternatives to cookies.

    Interest-based advertising (IBA)

    Interest-based advertising, or IBA, relies on generalized browsing behaviors instead of on the browsing behaviors of specific individuals for the targeting of ads.

    Federated Learning of Cohorts, or FLoC, is one proposal that presumes that a browser can group people together when they have similar browsing characteristics without using a unique identifier per browser. Advertisers can then observe the browsing behaviors of users in a cohort instead of by their individual activities. Ads could be customized based on which cohort a person is part of.  

    Programming mechanisms are still being developed. You will most likely read about other proposals to implement IBA until a working solution is widely adopted.

    Trusted servers for website remarketing 

    For website remarketing, marketers must be able to create and manage preferred audiences without the use of third-party cookies. While many options are being discussed, an alternative could be a trusted server that is allowed to store certain information for a campaign bidding process. 

    Source: Assess for Success: Marketing Analytics and Measurement

    This course is part of the Google Digital Marketing & E-commerce Professional Certificate

    How Did You Hear About the 3rd Party Cookie Crumble?

    The first I really heard of the 3rd party cookie issue was in a blog post on Andrews Wharton’s website in October 2021, which you can find below followed by other interesting news in both English and German.

    How Will Google’s Move Away from Third-Party Cookies Affect Your Business?

    Third-Party Cookies in 2023 in the News (English)

    Google ending third-party cookies in Chrome

    Charting a course towards a more privacy-first web

    Getting started with Trust Tokens

    Attribution Reporting

    9 Best Alternatives To Third Party Cookies (2022) Definitive Guide

    Salesforce touts Google Ads, eCommerce, social media integration for Customer 360

    Google, Apple, and Amazon Stifle Innovation When They Favor Their Own Products

    Cookies von Drittanbietern im Jahr 2023 in den Nachrichten (Deutsch)

    Was das Cookies-Aus für personalisierte Einkaufserlebnisse bedeutet

    Google beendet Nutzung von Third Party-Cookies in Chrome

    Warum das Gros der Unternehmen nicht auf das Cookies-Aus 2023 vorbereitet ist

    With thanks for the cookies to Vyshnavi Bisani on Unsplash