Cookieless browsing is coming – here’s what you need to do

cookieless

One of the key issues facing the advertising world this year is the move towards cookieless browsing and what it will mean for agencies, advertisers and brands around the world.

A failure to work out a sound strategy for dealing with all this in advance could prove costly for brands and agencies.

So Farhad Divecha, managing director and founder of AccuraCast, a digital marketing agency and one of the longest-running independent social media and search marketing agencies in the UK, has given us his take on what key points we all need to be considering…

Farhad Divecha
Farhad Divecha, Founder Accuracast

Performance marketing in the age of cookieless browsing

Within the next year, cookies that allow Facebook and Google to track users on other websites, such as after they have clicked on ads, will be disabled by default for nearly 90% of users. 

By 2022 the most popular browsers and apps will block third-party cookies by default.

Start planning now

Brands need to start planning now about how they will manage this, otherwise they risk losing opportunities to optimise ad campaigns to drive more sales and retarget previous customers and visitors to their websites.

Many customers will no longer see personalised and targeted adverts.

This will impact every single business.

It will take time to implement solutions, so leaving it till the last minute won’t be an option.

According to Facebook, advertisers could see a 150% increase in cost per acquisition if they lose performance tracking.

Cookieless cost implications

This is a massive change to digital marketing, and brands that don’t consider it will find their costs increase very significantly and it will be harder to track their customers.

Brands need to future-proof tracking, increase data reliability and attribution accuracy.

What are the big brands saying about these moves? 

Google hasn’t officially announced any clear guidance; however Google Tag Manager has had a server-side offering since autumn 2020. 

Google also recently announced FLoC (Federated Learning of Cohorts). This is Google’s new approach to delivering and measuring ads sent to Chrome users after it retires third-party cookies.

Facebook has been the most proactive in pushing cookieless tracking, being the first and only major as network to come up with a real and viable solution.

Be proactive now

The process to adapt isn’t simple and needs to be thought of well ahead of time – large organisations may need to allow three to six months to implement a solution.

There are three main options for brands looking to get ahead of the curve with cookieless performance tracking.  

Hard-coding

The first is by hard-coding onto the website. 

This will give maximum control but requires technical knowledge and developer resources, and may not be something the business has in-house.

Prefabricated integrations

The second is by prefabricated integrations. This might seem like the easiest option, but the solutions are currently very poorly supported and are often prone to bugs.

Also, they don’t cover all conversion events an advertiser might want to track and optimise for.

Server-side tag management

The third solution is using a server-side tag management solution like Google Tag Manager (server side). This might be the easiest way in time, but currently there is very little support and almost no readymade integrations apart from Google Analytics. 

It will also probably require resource from a developer and additional costs for Google Cloud Platform data storage and processing.

Start planning now

My advice for businesses, would be start planning now – especially as iOS 14 could start blocking third party cookies by default any day now.  

It is very important to start building up your own customer and target audience data and lists – your own first party data. 

Brands will also need to update GDPR cookie notices because data collection methods on site will change.

At AccuraCast, we are one of a very small number of Facebook Marketing Partners worldwide, officially qualified to support brands transition to this new way of working. 

We are currently supporting some very large brands as well as small businesses to implement CAPI, and one thing we are finding across the board, it is never straight forward!