Cookieless apocalypse slightly postponed

… the highest time to use 1st party data

Google has just pushed back its deadline to deprecate 3P cookies (mid 2023). The industry readiness for the cookieless change was below the expectations. So it doesn’t mean you have another 12 months to waste. The change will come and all marketers should be ready to leverage their own customers’ data, learn to collect them, utilize them and synchronize them with the industry when the change comes.

Here is why to use 1st party data

Leveraging first-party data is more important than ever for all marketers. You could have been disregarding 1st party data, the sense of collecting and using them in your organization. You could have been asking: why should I collect anything on my side if Google, or Facebook, or any other company on the planet could do it better than me? You could have been even disregarding GDPR regulations that somehow could influence you and encourage to collect data on your side. You could have been saying: it is complicated, nobody understood it and I didn’t care if dozens of other companies on the planet got more information about my customers than my company got. But 1st party data become even more crucial for you, for nobody else will be able to collect it so easily any more, when the apocalypse comes.

The thing is, anybody can easily add yet-another-tracking-script in Google Tag Manager today. It is still easy to be done, you’ve got a new vendor, it sends a new tracking script, you implement it or send it to your agency and and end up with 20 scripts implemented on your site. It is technically a half-truth. Actually you end up with an odd collection of 100 codes implemented as every single script acts as a container for 5 other scripts on average. A mean web site fires 90-110 tracking script. Scripts match their identifiers with other scripts, with other technologies that match their identifiers… It’s like a snowball effect.

Nobody controls it and without regulations can’t be stopped. The European Commission has proposed an updated regulation on ePrivacy to reinforce trust and security in the digital world, and to align it with GDPR introduced in 2018. That would change the scene anyway. The phase out of third-party cookies would happen later or sooner to restrict possibility of tracking users by 7000+ vendors, from different countries, that would never respect European regulations. Technological limitations come to the European Commission assistance. On the other hand the “culprit” of that mess would have much less vendors to compete with, instead of 7000…

Cookieless impact on advertising

First-party data help you build consumers’ profiles by monitoring how users interact with your web site, how they buy, what they buy, how they behave in other channels. You can offer them more of what they are interested in, and less of what they are not interested in.

First party data undoubtedly help with onsite personalisation, but when it comes to acquisition – problems arise. Audience targeting, retargeting, frequency capping, look-alikes – all these require 3rd party cookies nowadays. But it will be shifted into 1st party cookies in the near future with all their limits. We should expect some major changes on the market, including some come-backs, and disappearances on the other side. Contextual advertising shall get some hype in the near future. But SSPs and data aggregators would soon go out of business.

Publishers just starting to collect their own first-party audience data, identifying visitors’ interests by the content consumed. They will be able to sell these audiences but you should treat them as extension of contextual targeting. Whenever you want to select a particular user and target it – it means it’s required to be done on your side, with your own audience, with your own technology integrated with the media vendors.

Slightly more time to prepare yourself for cookieless digital

Now you gain another 12+ months to rethink your strategies to target users in the future and to prepare yourself to that major change.

Last but not least, please don’t mix up 1st party data with 1st party cookies. It is somehow related and it is not a coincidence that phasing out 3rd party cookies means even stronger phasing out 3rd party data. If 7000 vendors won’t have possibility to track your users, they also won’t have possibility to sell their data. Simple as that.  

Therefore, having tools and technologies that allow you to collect first-party data in multiple different ways makes you could float safely instead of drowning after a high wave came.

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