In January 2020, Google announced that it would be banning third party cookies from its ad networks and chrome browser by 2022. Since then, this initiative has been pushed back to 2023, but marketers are preparing and planning to shift their strategies accordingly.
Cookies latch onto and track certain actions a user takes on a website and then they file that data away.
There are two different types of cookies:
First party cookies
According to CookiePro, “First-party cookies are directly stored by the website (or domain) you visit. These cookies allow website owners to collect analytics data, remember language settings, and perform other useful functions that provide a good user experience.”
Some say these are harmless. They file data ONLY from the site you are currently on. For example, when you’ve added a pair of your favorite jeans to your cart, and you come back to that site later, your jeans will still be in your cart. The cookie has “remembered” that information. Similarly, when you go to plug in your shipping information, it may auto populate your name, address and phone number from the last time you entered information.
Third Party Cookies
CookiePro defines Third Party Cookies as “created by websites that are not the website that you are visiting. These are usually used for online-advertising purposes and placed on a website through a script or tag. A third-party cookie is accessible on any website that loads the third-party server’s code.”
Google can essentially track your behavior and actions across the internet on multiple sites and in doing so build up an extensive amount of data on you. This helps marketers send you targeted ads based on your search history and behaviors.
For example, have you ever been looking at new cars, then as you’re browsing other websites you get car ads for the exact cars you were looking at? The teasing is unbearable, and just when you’ve convinced yourself to save money and not buy those new shoes, they show up in front of your face everywhere you go on the internet.
Third party cookies have been seen as a threat to privacy and an unethical approach to marketing. New privacy laws like GDPR, the California Consumer Privacy Act, and Apple’s iOS14 foreshadow a digital space that is cookieless. Google’s Federated Learning of Cohorts (FLoC) is a “‘privacy-first’ and ‘interest-based’ advertising technology that is still a work in progress. With FLoC, Chrome will keep track of a user’s browsing habits across the web, and then place the user in various audiences, or ‘cohorts,’ based on those habits. Advertisers will then target their ads to cohorts, rather than an individual user. “
Although this lockdown on privacy will throw a wrench into the tactics we have been using as marketers, Google has introduced a new savior that will help keep the user’s privacy but provide valuable data to marketers. This new savior is called GA4 – you may have heard of it.
GA4 is the new and approved Google Analytics.
As Google defines it, “The new Analytics is designed to adapt to a future with or without cookies or identifiers. It uses a flexible approach to measurement, and in the future, will include modeling to fill in the gaps where the data may be incomplete. This means that you can rely on Google Analytics to help you measure your marketing results and meet customer needs now as you navigate the recovery and as you face uncertainty in the future.”
GA4 is focused on tracking User ID rather than cookies. In collaboration with GTM (Google Tag manager), Google can allocate a random client ID on every page. A new data modeling feature uses AI to fill in gaps in data where traditional Analytics may be blocked by cookie-consent rules.
Checkout this overview of the new Google Analytics 4 property:
If you are interested in setting up GA4 to utlize Google’s latest technology as well as prepare for the cookieless future that is coming faster than we know it, reach out to our team here at Gray Digital Group. We have experts that can get GA4 set up for you and a custom dashboard for reporting that data in real-time.
Image by Monika jurczyk