- It will have an impact especially if you are a retailer that relies really heavily on third-party data.
- Google is calling their solution Enhanced Conversions, and for Facebook, they call it their Conversions API, according to Kroll. Essentially, instead of having a third-party cookie transmitting data through your browser, it is actually going through an API via server-to-server.
- “We are telling brands right now that you need to start dual-deploying and having both analytics set because it is going to happen in May or June of next year when Google stops recording data on their UA platforms.”
The cookie is crumbling. Following Google’s announcement of the elimination of third-party cookies to be completed by the end of 2024, marketers have become increasingly concerned about the cookieless future. Especially after Apple cracked down on cookies in iPhone users’ emails, it is getting more difficult to track consumer data.
What Does This Mean for Retailers?
First off, the sky is not falling, but it will be a change and it will have an impact especially if you are a retailer that relies really heavily on third-party data. Safari — while not as widespread as Chrome — already did this a few years ago where they kept third-party cookies for only a select amount of time, and it did not crash the ecosystem, according to Brian Kroll, VP of Strategic Accounts & Alliance Partnerships at Adtaxi.
“I think it is going to be potentially challenging for folks though on the marketing side of things where you maybe will not have the same level of addressability or reporting from your digital media,” Kroll said. “As a retailer, when this change happens, it might mean different things depending on what you have put in place and how you sell (i.e. online, offline, or hybrid of both). For online retailers where 100% of the transactions are going to be ecommerce, you are probably going to want to have some of the enhanced measurement solutions that Google and others are already putting out there.”
Turning Cookies Into Enhanced Conversions
Google is calling their solution Enhanced Conversions, and for Facebook, they call it their Conversions API, according to Kroll. Essentially, instead of having a third-party cookie transmitting data through your browser, it is actually going through an API via server-to-server, and passing encrypted information like name, address, phone number, email, etc. from the purchase transaction and sending it via API instead of cookie.
While cookies typically would send only anonymous details about a transaction (timestamp, revenue, etc), a lot of the same data would still be passed back to the ad platforms for attribution. Retailers are going to have to be pretty on top of their game to make sure they are utilizing all of this technology so they lose as few of the important marketing signals as possible.
How Can Brands Still Market Themselves?
Depending on what retailers are looking to promote, search advertising platforms such as Microsoft and Google Ads, social media platforms, and other programmatic platforms can help you reach your goal. Kroll advises brands to ask themselves these questions:
- Who do you want to reach?
- What do you want to tell those shoppers?
- What do you want those shoppers to do?
The last question is where the biggest challenge is, and each platform has their own methodology for trying to start this up. It is really the reporting and understanding how conversions are going to be reported which is the biggest hurdle. In terms of “reaching the right audience,” Kroll expects that we will see a resurgence in contextual targeting that does not rely on third-party data for audience discovery/development.
“Right now, there is technology that is already in play where cookies are not being used to measure performance,” Kroll said. “One example of that is with Connected TV. With Connected TV and streaming audio, there are no cookies already. Some of the largest media holding companies and brands are already adopting this. I think that it will be a little bit of a rollercoaster ride to see how everything plays out when their signal is lost — what it looks like and how consumers are going to adjust. I would say just be prepared to possibly be a little more agile than you have been currently, and that may be a little bit of an understatement.”
The Future of Marketing
The current usage of Google Analytics is going away in 2023 and everyone is going to be forced to go to their next generation, which is built off of different technology. Everyone that relies on standard UA Google analytics for success metrics to show how their campaigns are performing are going to have to adjust to slightly new metrics.
“We are telling brands right now that you need to start dual-deploying and having both analytics set because it is going to happen in May or June of next year when Google stops recording data on their UA platforms. In 2023, I think marketing for brands is going to be all about how to be efficient and effective as possible with budgets, getting as much data as possible, and utilizing that data. I think there’s also going to be a big push for usage of first-party data,” Kroll said.