Google is going to render third-party cookies a thing of the past. Most of the other popular browsers have already stopped using third-party cookies. This step is supposed to improve users' privacy. However, this privacy will be ensured at the cost of the ad relevance.
Google has announced that SEO's future is devoid of the cookies in Google Chrome. The increasing criticism over the user's privacy concerns caused this action. The original deadline was 2022, but Google has given marketers an extra year to adopt this change.
Search engine optimization marketers are changing the way they measure SEO performance. 80% of marketers depend upon third-party cookies. In its absence, campaign reach and targeting will be severely impacted.
What will be the SEO future after the demise of third-party cookies? Does this change really matter? Is it the end of SEO as we know it? Here is all that you need to know about the Google ending third-party cookies and its impact on SEO.
What Are Third-Party Cookies?
Before we move ahead, it is crucial to know what these third-party cookies are. Cookies came into being in the 1990s to facilitate website analytics and to improve user experience. After 30 years, they are not merely third-party cookies but do a lot more, some concerning user's privacy.
3rd party cookies track website codes in order to remember users' online activity. They are the small text files that a website gives to your browser. These files help the website remember the information about your visit. It makes your revisit to the website easier and more convenient.
Advertisers and marketers deliberately place them to collect users' data to be used later. Also, the collected data is bought and sold so that marketers can target audiences based on their online behavior.
A retargeting cookie is one of the simplest examples of a third-party cookie at work. For instance, if you are looking for shoes online, the Nike or Puma ads will follow your online presence for the next two weeks. Like it or not, this type of practice is the result of third-party cookies.
How Third-Party Cookies Help Marketers?
Third-Party cookies come into action when you visit a website. When looking for a couple of products online, you might end up seeing ads for those exact products even when you are on a different website. So how does it all work?
Third-party cookies observe visitors' behavior outside the brand's environment and use it to run targeted marketing. In a nutshell, these third-party cookies can convert a browsing visitor into a buying consumer. Also, marketers collect third-party cookies to create a detailed customer profile.
Now when consumers perform more tasks online, such as paying bills your regular shopping – they are getting more aware of the brand's ways to use their personal information. The same concern of the users has evoked the need for a more privacy-friendly Search Engine Optimization marketing.
It is not the first time that a browser is limiting the use of third-party cookies. Safari restricted them in 2014, whereas Mozilla Firefox followed the same in 2019.
What Are The Drawbacks Of Third-Party Cookies?
With the increasing awareness of the brand's behavior of using consumers' personal data, they consider third-party cookies as an invasion of their privacy. Marketers claim that it is to improve the user's experience only. However, cookies let companies track every website a consumer visits, thereby collecting various crucial data about the consumer.
The collected data is also sold and bought, and almost anyone can access it. It can be a serious matter of concern for the consumers. Some websites give you the option to personalize cookies; however, that too, is not risk-free. Some software is prone to security issues and allows companies to access their names, address, and even credit card information when stored in the browser.
Several marketers and software firms let users enable or disable third-party cookies in their browsers based on their privacy concerns or preference. However, choosing this preference can be hard to locate in many browsers. It is because less data for these software means less money they will get.
How Will the SEO Industry Be Affected By This Change?
It is difficult to tell how things will work in the post-third-party-cookies ecosystem. However, one thing is certain, that is, it will affect the advertisers and marketers. The current ecosystem is made of effective collaboration between marketers, publishers, tech providers, and buyers.
It can have unintended consequences that can negatively impact the users and the web ecosystem. Users are looking for a greater policy, in addition to transparency, choice, and better control. Marketers need to look for solutions that can ensure a better user experience without hampering the efficacy of their ad campaigns.
This phase-out will heavily affect some areas of advertising and marketing, whereas other strategies will remain pretty much the same. When some significant changes might be underway, new alternatives are emerging as a dire need to deal with the changes.
How Can Brands and SEO Marketers Adopt A World Without Third-Party Cookies?
Now that much has been said about the discontinuation of third-party cookies, SEO experts and marketers need to absorb a lot about this change. There are many brands that highly rely on the data collected from third-party cookies.
However, there are a multitude of options they can deploy in order to reach out to the audiences and analyze their behavior. Below are the ways a brand can stay relevant without relying on third-party cookies:
1: Increase First-Party Data Collection
Once third-party cookies are limited, businesses will need to rely on first-party data. First-Party refers to direct seller-business interactions, which include sales calls, email engagement, and purchase history. This data can add more value to the targeting and ad campaigns.
Brands need to find new ways to attain data directly from consumers. These insights from this data can be utilized to boost the effectiveness of SEO campaigns. Besides, it needs an efficient channel to share the first-party data across the brands to ensure that they all have accurate information.
The below-given tactics can be deployed to collect consumer's personal data:
• Ask for email sharing before enabling access to the free content.
• Direct contact such as text or email.
• Guided selling tactics that require customer input.
• After-purchase surveys and another form of consumer's survey.
2: Shifting Efforts To Contextual Advertising
Contextual advertising is another way to serve relevant ad content to the target audiences in the absence of behavioral data by third-party cookies. This advertising practices the placement of the ads alongside similar content.
Thus, contextual advertising can kill two birds with one stone. It utilizes the full potential of the content to engage customers with the brand. Secondly, it lets the ads meet customers whom they have reached with a similar interest.
If your ads are perfectly aligned with the related content, they can easily find relevant audiences who are likely to be interested in your products/services.
3: Start Individual Targeting
Facebook initially started people-based targeting; however, it is relevant for other marketers as well with the changing trends. This targeting is based on the technology known as identity resolution. This technology observes an individual's behavioral information across devices and channels without storing their personally identifiable information (information that could lead to a user being recognized).
Earlier, this type was flourishing only on specific platforms, such as Facebook, where people provide their information willingly. With the changing trends, marketers can now utilize this tech to understand individual insights at a personal level instead of analyzing patterns among the group.
Furthermore, by combining this technology with automation, people-based marketing can help the SEO industry in creating relevant and specific ads that can cater to the consumer's interests.
4: Add More On-Site Content
Once the third-party cookies are gone, you need to make your content more searchable and valuable. When visitors find your content valuable, they are more likely to provide their information.
Also, you need to make sure that your content should address each stage of your prospective customer's buying journey. It can help you understand the context in which the user engagement is happening with you. You can strategize your campaigns by having this context in your mind.
The end of the third-party cookies is going to change how marketers will gain users' information to get some useful insights into their purchasing behavior. Getting into the customer's head can help marketers present their products/services as per the customer's needs.
Keep in mind that it is for every SEO company that has relied on third-party cookies so far. The extent of the effects completely depends upon you. When all marketers are making adjustments to their sites, content, and ways of collecting information, you can have competitive advantages by deploying the best practices.
1: Why is First-Party Tracking Better For Businesses?
Third-party cookies are not the only way to get into the performance insights. First-party tracking can also tell which marketing campaigns and channels are bringing traffic to the website.
You can also count the number of visits and channels that are touched before conversion. Duplicate reporting isn't a problem anymore, as Google Analytics can tell you the truth of conversion. Therefore, 20 different ad platforms can't take credit for one conversion.
On the other hand, third-party cookies can't give the right credit to the channels, such as organic search or email, for a conversion.
2: Can Third-Party Cookies Demonstrate True Value?
The end of the third-party cookies can unleash seamless opportunities for your business, provided you have a solid game plan. For instance, adding more voluminous and valuable content that can cater to the actual need of the consumers.
When your web pages and their content is relevant and valuable, you can attract more traffic without needing to rely on third-party cookie information to determine the buying behavior of the consumers. Third-party cookies can never demonstrate value.
For most businesses, the value is conversions tied to online purchases or form submissions. However, when SEO agencies run campaigns on different ad channels, let's say Google Ads and Facebook, they all try to take credit for the conversion.
However, when the conversion can't be double of the actual sales made through the website. So, this method can't give the actual value of the conversions.
3: What Innovation Can The End Of The Third-Party Cookies Bring In Advertising?
The end of third-party cookies is not that bad for skilled and adaptable brands. They are looking for the less-vulnerable advertising alternatives to attract customers. The advertisers with the innovative mindset keep in mind what will happen when their strategies get regulated.
Therefore, they can come up with more clever and innovative ideas that can meet the needs of the masses. Gone are the days when hyper-targeting or annoying pop-ups helped businesses thrive.
Another possibility of innovation lies in the ways marketers leverage and use collected data. Besides, new tools and technologies need to get deployed in the SEO future in order to learn about the relevant audiences without getting intrusive into the user's privacy.
4: What To Expect From Your SEO Agency In This Situation?
The end of the third-party cookies on Google Chrome will be rendered in 2023, which is not so far. Therefore, you need to talk to your SEO agency about how they are going to deal with this situation.
You need to make sure that they are up-to-date with the news and developments related to third-party cookies. Moreover, marketers and advertisers also need to keep an eye on the other data privacy moves that can impact your business.
If your SEO company highly relies on third-party cookies data, they need to start looking for other alternatives. Besides, they also need to look for software or solutions that can help your business in this phase-out.