May 19, 2021 | 1 min read time

Google is steadily moving away from the use of cookies and other third party tracking devices, a move that recognises the growing focus on user privacy whilst leaving digital marketers concerned about the future of SEO and data analytics!

Businesses use cookies to track website visitors, improve the user experience, and collect data that helps us target ads to the right audiences. We also use them to learn about what our visitors are checking out online when they aren't on our websites.

By phasing out cookies, all this valuable information is in jeopardy - at least, without resorting to indirect collection methods!

The move away from third-party tracking was announced in February 2020, and also revealed that they won't be building "alternate identifiers to track individuals as they browse across the web, nor will we use them in our products." 

"We realize this means other providers may offer a level of user identity for ad tracking across the web that we will not — like PII graphs based on people’s email addresses," a Google post wrote. "We don’t believe these solutions will meet rising consumer expectations for privacy, nor will they stand up to rapidly evolving regulatory restrictions, and therefore aren’t a sustainable long term investment. Instead, our web products will be powered by privacy-preserving APIs which prevent individual tracking while still delivering results for advertisers and publishers."

 

So, where has this come from?

 

Google’s plan to replace third-party cookies comes from its Privacy Sandbox, a set of proposals for improving online adverts whilst reducing impact on the ad industry. Aside from getting rid of third-party cookies the Privacy Sandbox also deals with issues such as advertising fraud, reducing the number of CAPTCHAs people see and introducing new ways for companies to measure the performance of their ads.

So far, Google says it's only planning to phase out the third-party cookie on its browsers. However, first-party cookies that track basic data about your own website's visitors are still safe.

In fact, in Google's 2021 announcement, the tech giant called first-party relationships "vital." So, ultimately, any first-party data you gain from your website's visitors on all browsers will still remain in-tact.

A first-party cookie is a code that gets generated and stored on your website visitor's computer by default when they visit your site. This cookie is often used for user experience as it is responsible for remembering passwords and other preferences.

With a first-party cookie, you can learn about what a user did while visiting your website, see how often they visit it, and gain other basic analytics that can help you develop an effective marketing strategy around them. 

So all is not lost when third party cookie tracking finally bites the dust! Existing platforms that rely on third party data will also likely be updating their algorithms and practices to ensure that marketers and advertisers can still make the most of the information they can control.


 

Sam Webster
Sam Webster, Digital Marketing Executive: Experienced content producer, paid search and organic SEO specialist with broad experience running our Wonderful client accounts.

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