Cookieless Tracking: What it is and How it Affects Your Business

By Lucas Jarrett

The day is upon us. Cookies –– in the form of third-party tracking, not the kind you eat –– are becoming obsolete. With new updates coming to the Metasuite of products and other digital marketing platforms blocking the use of third-party cookies, it’s time to adapt and overcome. What’s going to happen now that you can’t track customers cross-platform? Fear not, this is not the end of cookies of all types, just a decline in the value that third-party cookies once had. You can still use first-party cookies and you can still track customer’s actions on your site! Let’s dive into the changes and the differences.

What Are Cookies?

They’re something you eat at midnight while the whole house is asleep, right? Well, yes, but not this kind! This type of cookie is a short snippet of code that attaches itself to your computer after visiting a website. We have first-party cookies and third-party cookies. First-party cookies aren’t going anywhere, and you can still use them on all of your sites and forms to do what they have been doing. These cookies will save to someone’s computer showing they visited your site and allowing you to retarget them later on.

Third-party cookies are similar snippets of code that can be placed on other sites and platforms to track where your customer clicks and their behaviors. These have been used in the way of retargeting someone who, let’s say, was shopping for cat food, visited your site, then left and went to another site like a boutique shop. Now we know the interests & behaviors of that person and can leverage that information to target them with relevant ads for clothing or cats later on. Third-party cookies help strengthen the native targeting that advertising platforms make available when you’re in the Ads Manager platforms.

Problem? Maybe, Maybe Not

As marketers, we have used cookies to create audiences and gauge which audiences were working and which ones weren’t. So what now? Well, there are still options. First-party cookies can still track cross-platform if/when someone accepts the cookies when they visit your sites. Your first-party cookies are, can, and will be beneficial moving forward in the world of digital marketing, but at the same time, there is much more to be done!

Solution 1: Contextual Advertising

What is contextual advertising? Contextual advertising is purposefully placing ads on sites related to the ad. For example, picking certain sites to place your ad about hair loss is pretty important to make sure your target audience is still seeing your ad. You don’t want this ad showing on a site related to clothing boutiques or rock climbing, but you do want it to show on a car parts website or a golf website because those interests are associated with an older male audience who would be the ideal target for hair loss. With contextual advertising, you can pick and choose the sites you’d like your ad to run on, and platforms you’d like to run on specific pages. But there are limitations to this that can’t be overlooked. It can be very strenuous to make sure your ad is placed everywhere you want it, but you may be missing out on some places that you may not have thought your customers would end up going, so there is a loss of network that could be utilized. So what’s the solution?

Solution 2: What We Do Best: Marketing Mix Model

The Marketing Mix is the best way to overcome the issues presented by the loss of third-party cookies. The Marketing Mix is the combination of multiple different advertising platforms that broaden your reach in the most effective ways possible. When you mix in search ads, CTV ads, Facebook, YouTube, Pinterest, and more, you get the broad reach you desire, while still being able to narrow your audiences based on observations across all platforms! So when you monitor the behavior of your audiences on Facebook, you can make those changes cross-platform and see if they work in other areas! This strategy is a great way to reach as many quality customers as possible.

What We Know Going Forward: Every Problem Has a Solution!

The loss of third-party cookies doesn’t have to be the end of your digital marketing efforts! With the use of the Marketing Mix, we can market to a wide audience while still monitoring and making changes based on data from all platforms. You get the best data-driven decision-making power!

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