Google Chrome is planning to eliminate the use of third-party cookies by 2022. They are the last browser to do so, with Safari and Firefox taking this step years ago. This is coming into play as Chrome now represents at least 66% of the market share.
With this update, we will only target users based on in-the-moment actions taken on the current page (vs. including users’ actions from previous pages); some tracking capabilities will become limited. This applies to all Google products, including SEM, GDN, Discovery, Gmail, and Youtube.
Our team is continuing our education on these topics through research and webinars. As the digital landscape continues to evolve, we will continue to investigate new updates as they are announced and bring the key points to your attention to help inform the next steps relative to your business and campaign.
In the meantime, the below provides some background on terms you’ll likely be hearing, as well as some early solutions to be mindful of as we get closer to 2022.
Google Chrome will stop selling ads targeted to individual user’s browsing habits. As this action is taken at the browser level, the change will impact all advertising, regardless of the inventory source.
First-party cookies (cookies created and stored only by the site a user visits) will not be changed.
With the inability to use historical web data, there will be some nuances to keep in mind with reporting capabilities:
- We will likely see a drop in conversions, as well as an increase in cost per conversion.
- We don’t recommend looking at metrics such as returning vs. new visitors, as with the update, all visitors will be considered “new.”
- Conversion tracking will be limited to click only, which means we will no longer be able to reference view-through conversions, understand the effects of cross-channel remarketing, or look at cross-channel attribution.
- Conversions will be passed through in batches of 24 to 48 hours, meaning there will be a slight delay in tracking.
- It will not be possible to adjust attribution and look back for different time periods (such as 1 day, 7 days, 28 days, etc.)
Google is creating the “Privacy Sandbox,” a set of tools that allow advertisers to run targeted ads without direct access to personal details. Two of the main elements are FLoC: Federated Learning of Cohorts, and Fledge: First Locally-Executed Decision over Groups Experiment
- What is Floc? Interest-based cohorts have proven to be nearly as effective as cookie-based ads. FLoCs are created by using machine learning to group users into cohorts based on their browsing behavior, becoming indistinguishable from the other people in their unit
- What is Fledge? Operates by making ad auction decisions in the browser, as opposed to the ad server level. This protects user privacy by limiting the amount of data flowing around ad systems and bitstreams. If ad bid and targeting decisions happen at the browser and device level, there will be fewer user data for profiles
Tactics To Consider
First-party client data will be key
- Utilize first-party data identification services such as LiveRamp to leverage client-supplied CRM data
- Increase CRM data by incentivizing prospects to provide permission to use their information
- First-party cookies are created and stored only by the site a user visits
Put UTMs in place for all media (paid and owned)
Increase use of vertical ad networks, premium publishers
Create dedicated landing pages for paid media
Set up conversion tracking goals in Google Analytics
Use cookieless signals