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How Google’s Elimination of Third-Party Cookies Will Affect Your Google Ads

  Privacy on the web has become a hot-button topic in recent years as after a long time, users have become a little bit annoyed about the way their data has been used and shared. Some web browsers, Safari and Firefox, have already taken steps to protect their users’ data by eliminating third-party cookies altogether, but Google has been a holdout with their Chrome browser. Just recently, however, Google announced that Chrome will also be eliminating third-party cookies from the browser by default, but not for at least another year or so. This sounds alarming, frustrating, and quite frankly annoying as a digital marketer, and this change will influence your Google Ads, but it won’t be the end of online advertising as we know it.   What is a third-party cookie? First off, you might be asking yourself what exactly is a third-party cookie? We know that cookies exist all over the internet as a tracking tool, but there are first-party cookies and third-party cookies. What is the difference? The easiest way to think about it, is to know that first-parties are the host, and the third party is the invited guest. For example, if you are on the website a 1st party cookie may exist on the site to keep your shopping cart updated as you browse around the site or if you do not finish your shopping in one session. The site most likely has third-party cookies as well. These track what you are shopping for so that the data can provide related advertisements to you in the future. This is exactly how Google Ads functions when it comes to display advertising.   How will this affect your advertising efforts? Google Ads relies on this third-party cookie data to create audience categories, both affinity, and in-market, for ads to run across their display network. If third-party cookies were eliminated it would be much more difficult for advertisers to run effective audience-targeted campaigns. However, Google Ads does have a placement feature that allows advertisers to select specific sites, apps, or YouTube video channels to target ads. These exist within their respective networks. Advertisers may have to shift their focus towards a strategy like this where they rely on placing ads in strategically calculated locations that they believe their customers would visit. Collecting first-party data through tools such as a survey that offers voluntary participation has become another avenue outside of cookies. The good news is that your search campaigns using expanded text ads, responsive search ads, or dynamic ads should not be impacted nearly to the level retargeting display ads will be. These ads will still be based on keywords advertisers build into their campaigns or content pulled directly from their landing pages via the dynamic route. It will become more important to build effective ads and landing pages to ensure conversions occur on a customer’s first visit to your site as opposed to relying on retargeting or audience targeting to bring them back later.   Why the shift towards the elimination of third-party cookies? Google has delayed making the switch to eliminate the third-party cookie so that they can find alternatives to still allow effective advertising, not to mention the fact that the change will impact their revenue. Their belief is that the advertising is still in the best interest of the user when ads are based on their browsing history. The tech giant is looking for a win-win scenario so that users feel their data is protected, but still allows them to see ads that make sense. The idea is to create something more universal so that the web experience is consistent despite browser preference. It is quite possible that whatever ends up being the new route for tracking data is a stronger and more effective route than the one we are currently taking!
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