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The Death of the cookie!
There is a silver lining, we promise.
The death
of the cookie!

What do marketers, the cast of Sesame Street & well, all humans everywhere have in common? A love for cookies, of course.

Sadly, this isn’t about the delicious kind of cookie that we dunk in milk. This cookie is the kind that follows us around every digital platform, leaving trails of those hiking boots we looked at last winter.

The cookies we’re covering today are text files that have small pieces of data attached that track your usage on various websites, and while they are a treasure trove of insight for marketers and web developers, they are also the perfect kind of data that cybercriminals use to spy.

Unfortunately, though, third-party cookies have given all the other cookies a bad rep. In fact, it’s safe to say that most cookies are simply there to improve user experience, offer more personalized viewing & track the usability of a website. But, let’s be honest, in a world where data privacy & hacking are becoming more & more prevalent users would feel more comfortable if developers & marketers didn’t track anything about them at all.

Step in Google.
Google has recently announced that their browser would slowly start phasing out the use of third-party cookies & that by 2022 there would be no crumbs left of this once useful data delivery tech. In February 2020 Google shared a post on numerous platforms indicating that “Users are demanding greater privacy – including transparency, choice, and control over how their data is used – and it’s clear the web ecosystem needs to evolve to meet these increasing demands.”

Firefox and Safari got rid of cookies a while ago, but given that Google works with advertisers – the two-year plan was necessary to ensure this turn of events didn’t destroy the entire online advertising business. It’s also important to note that Google’s decision to rid itself of third-party cookies is a much bigger deal than competitors given that more than 56% of the web browser market belongs to them.

That said, if you’re a marketer reading this post we don’t recommend you panic just yet – Google has a solution like only Google can.

Firstly, not all cookies will suddenly be vanquished. First-party cookies that track basic data about your website visitors will still be safe. Secondly, it’s the kind of thing that web developers like us at Billie&Code saw coming. Given that governments all around the world have been cracking down on data privacy issues (think the latest POPI act here in SA) it was just a matter of time before the internet of things needed to address these concerns too.

Back to Google. Google has launched the Privacy Sandbox, which is just a set of tools that allow advertisers to keep running targeted ads without having direct access to personal details. As would be the case from this sort of exercise, it means that Google will be able to cement its position as the dominant player in digital advertising. There is of course concern amongst marketers and advertisers about what the Privacy Sandbox’s operations might be like; potential for interference, conversion management that leads to Google always have the inside scoop and “all good actors being given equal opportunity to leverage this tech similarly without undue advantage given to Google in the process,” said Adam Solomon, Lotame’s CMO.

The Silver Lining
Whilst not ideal in the immediate future, this kind of disruption allows marketers to innovate and find new ways to target consumers. Now is the time to start considering alternative ways to engage and excite users. If anything, marketers have become overly reliant on this ability to track and optimise, marginally improving their online presence to keep their customers coming back but not necessarily in love.

Our suggestion? Stay up-to-date with the latest news on data privacy, start brainstorming and feed your creatives more coffee. This might just be the evolution that online advertising needs.

Written by: Demi-lee Jacobs


Winners, losers and fallout from Google’s plan to drop cookies

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