In a major update, Google has announced its plan to completely phase out third-party cookies in Chrome by the third quarter of 2024. This decision comes after a trial phase starting on January 4th, 2024, which will initially impact 1% of users. To stay aligned with Google’s guidelines, developers are advised to make necessary adjustments to their websites, enabling them to function without relying on third-party cookies.
How Digital Marketers will be Impacted:
Changes in Data Collection and Personalisation:
The elimination of third-party cookies will present significant challenges for marketers who heavily rely on them to track user behavior across various websites. This data is crucial for targeted advertising and providing personalized user experiences. As these cookies are phased out, marketers will need to explore alternative methods for gathering valuable information.
Shift towards First-Party Data:
There will be a greater emphasis on leveraging first-party data, which is collected directly from users through interactions with a brand’s own digital platforms (such as websites or apps). Marketers must enhance their strategies to effectively collect and utilize this type of data.
Focus on Privacy-Oriented Marketing:
This change aligns with the wider industry trend of prioritizing user privacy. Marketers must adapt by developing strategies that respect user privacy and comply with regulations like GDPR and CCPA.
Resurgence of Contextual Advertising:
The absence of third-party cookies might lead to a revival of contextual advertising, where ads are targeted based on the content of the website rather than user behavior.
Adoption of New Technologies:
Marketers may need to consider investing in new technologies and platforms that offer alternative tracking and targeting methods, such as Customer Data Platforms (CDPs) or privacy-compliant identifiers.
Impact on ROI Measurement:
Measuring the effectiveness and return on investment (ROI) of marketing campaigns could become more complex without third-party cookies. Marketers will need to develop new metrics and methods to evaluate the success of their campaigns.
Increased Collaboration with Publishers:
To access first-party data for targeted advertising, marketers may need to strengthen their collaborations with publishers and other partners.
Adapting to Changes in Browsers:
Marketers must remain updated on browser policies, not only on Chrome but also on other platforms like Firefox and Safari, and adjust their strategies accordingly.
Impact of the Removal of Third-Party Cookies on Affiliate Marketing
The elimination of third-party cookies in Chrome will have significant implications for the world of affiliate marketing. Let’s take a closer look:
One of the main challenges that will arise is the tracking of user clicks and purchases. Without third-party cookies, accurately attributing sales to the correct affiliate becomes more complex, potentially affecting the overall accuracy of tracking.
Shifting towards First-Party Data:
To overcome the tracking challenges, affiliates and merchants will need to transition towards using first-party data for tracking. This could involve establishing direct integrations between affiliate websites and merchant sites to ensure correct tracking of user actions.
Revising Attribution Models:
Traditional attribution models used in affiliate marketing may need to be reevaluated. We might see a shift towards deterministic models that are based on known user interactions rather than probabilistic models that rely on inferred data from cookies.
Increasing Importance of Content and Trust:
With tracking becoming more difficult, the value placed on content-driven affiliate marketing is likely to rise. Affiliates who create high-quality, trustworthy content may experience a boost in direct traffic and engagement, reducing their reliance on cookie-based tracking.
Adoption of Alternative Technologies:
To adapt to the changes, affiliates and affiliate networks may need to embrace new technologies or methods for tracking and attributing sales. This could involve using unified IDs, browser fingerprinting, or more advanced link tracking methods that do not depend on third-party cookies.
Privacy Compliance and Transparency:
Affiliates will need to prioritize privacy compliance and be more transparent about data collection. This could involve obtaining explicit consent from users for any data collection that takes place.
Potential Impact on Revenue:
Initially, the effectiveness of affiliate marketing strategies may decrease as the industry adjusts to these changes, potentially impacting revenue. However, this presents an opportunity for innovation and the exploration of new ways to engage users.
Evolving Partnership Dynamics:
The relationships between affiliates, affiliate networks, and merchants may evolve as a result. There may be a stronger emphasis on collaboration and the sharing of first-party data in a privacy-compliant manner to ensure the continued effectiveness of affiliate marketing.