How to Survive the Cookie Apocalypse

Wondering what the future of digital advertising looks like without Google cookies? Terminus has been preparing for a cookie-less world for years. Learn how Terminus makes sure your ads get in front of the right people – whether they’re at home, on the road, or in the office.

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Cookie Apocalypse

To understand the “Cookie Apocalypse,” it’s important to first understand what cookies and cookies advertising was.

In the early days of the web, the web was pretty static. It was just a location on the internet that served information. It didn’t know who you were or what you did. The information you saw was static.

But then, people started storing small identifying pieces of information on visiting computers. Suddenly, they knew who those people were. They could identify them. Cookies are why you can log into Gmail and get your emails rather than someone else’s. They are why you can load up eBay and it can greet you by name. And they also lead to cookie based advertising or cookie based marketing.

Because when people can identify you they can also sell to you. The cookies advertising definition is simple: It’s advertising that uses cookies to track who you are and what you do. Cookies and targeted advertising works hand-in-hand. An advertiser can see by your cookies you looked at a specific product and can start advertising that product for you.

Cookies are used in digital advertising for giving you a more relevant experience and also reducing advertising spend. Because if they’re able to use cookies digital advertising to give you exactly what you want, why shouldn’t they? A cookies marketing strategy is designed to give everyone more relevant ads through targeting cookies.

What are targeting cookies? They’re cookies specifically used to identify prospects.

But perhaps more relevant than how do cookies work for advertising or how to use cookies for marketing is the knowledge that cookies are now being phased out. People don’t like being tracked; they don’t care about the targeting cookies definition or that, inherently, it’s fairly benign. They want their privacy and that is their right. Because the truth about targeting cookies is that they can lead to people spending more money than they intended or they can lead to people ending up in places where they ordinarily wouldn’t.

Cookies are being phased out because people, as a whole, have pushed against targeted ads. But it’s going to be interesting to see what replaces them. Advertisers aren’t going to give up their targeting so easily.

Cookie Deprecation

So, most people are phasing out cookies now; that’s cookie deprecation. People can manually enable third party cookies or cookie based authentication, but many won’t. Most people especially don’t want third party cookies because 3rd party cookies are most frequently used for targeting. But most people still want first party cookies because they do provide authentication services; they make it easier to log into things.

Let’s explain. First party cookies are stored only by a website and accessed only by a website. They’re what PayPal uses to make sure you’re logged in. Second party cookies may be transferred from website to website, such as plug-ins. They’re used for legitimate opportunities, such as if you log in using a Google account on a website such as Yelp. So, they’re useful. But what you’re really interested in are third party cookies.

Whether it’s third party cookies Chrome, third party cookies Firefox, third party cookies Safari, or third party cookies iPhone, these are most likely to be used for advertising. Are third party cookies dangerous? Not inherently. But since third party cookies advertising is prolific, many are worried about it. A third party cookies example would be an ad putting its own cookie on your computer even though you’re visiting the main site. Then, that ad network pulls your cookie on another website altogether.

But third party cookies are also part of the backbone of the internet and the infrastructure of advertising, as they are what let advertisers track you from site-to-site. As cookie deprecation continues, it will become even more complex for advertisers to continue targeting individuals. A lot of people are scared of cookies going away, but it was inevitable. The first cookies were used decades upon decades ago and they are simply an old technology which doesn’t function very well even for the purposes of authentication.

What will replace third party cookies?

So, what will replace third party cookies? Obviously even if Google ads cookies go away, Google third party cookies are going to be replaced. And the Google ads first party cookie probably will remain. What’s going to happen is advertisers will find different ways of ensuring that their ads get seen. And that could happen with Tealium first party data.

Tealium is a new company that provides Tealium cookie sync. This is an area people might explore. Tealium first party data is only stored when it’s necessary. Tealium IQ can read data from 3rd party cookies. But most of all with services like Tealium session ID, people are looking to find out more information about what companies are storing about them and what companies know.

Apart from things like the Tealium cookies and Tealium IQ architecture, there are also services like social media. Social media may not be able to track people off-site without cookies, but it can track everything they do on the site. So, a company like Instagram or Facebook can still directly target someone, because they already store everyone’s behavior and demographics.

In fact, it’s very likely that in the future, even without cookies, social media accounts are going to be important (or even critical) methods of advertising. Either way, though, it’s unlikely that cookies aren’t going to be replaced by other methods of tracking.

It’s possible the technology and trends that will replace third party cookies hasn’t been thoroughly explored or even envisioned yet. There will always be ways to track people, even if it’s using AI and big data to determine who someone is using circumstantial information (such as location and email address). It’s also possible that advertising will shift toward mediums such as social media accounts where advertisers already know exactly who everyone is.

When are cookies going away?

Because the internet is not a monolith, the question of when are cookies going away is complex. It’s likely 3rd party cookies going away will happen by 2022. The death of 3rd party cookies is being led by many companies like Chrome, Safari, and Firefox. They have pledged the death of third party cookies or the end of third party cookies by 2022. So you can expect to see it by then.

But for the cookie apocalypse first party data should be safe. In fact, as far as Google is concerned, the cookie armageddon is resolved just by removing third party cookies. The solution is first party cookies. Cookie deprecation Chrome isn’t going to subvert first party cookies, so people who are still logging into websites or trying to complete their work aren’t going to be impacted.

But those who advertise today are going to feel the demise of the cookie. If you do a lot of online sales and online advertising, the cookie apocalypse Tealium is going to hurt. It’s going to be harder for you to target your ads effectively and you may find it more difficult to reach out. And since Tealium IQ can read data from 3rd party cookies, it may become important.

Now, 2022 may seem pretty far away. But many phone manufacturers like Apple are already starting to fade out support for tracking. Advertisers are going to need to find ways to deal with this new cookie-like world. And, of course, people are going to need to do this moving into 2022 because they aren’t going to want to be blind-sided by it.

It is possible that some systems may still have third party cookies moving forward. But it’s likely that first party cookies are going to thoroughly eclipse them by the end of 2022. Not everyone is going to update their browsers right away, but updates are going to be pushed. And whenever people are given the choice to avoid advertisements they usually do, even if they won’t go out of their way to do so.

Cookie-Free World

Why is it going to become a cookie free world?

A lot of people are going by the Google cookie announcement. Google cookies going away has shaken up the industry. According to Google, Google cookies 2022 will be only first party cookies. The Google cookies news is foundational to the industry for a very good reason. Google is the largest third-party advertising network in the world.

When Google third party cookies 2022 are eliminated and the Google cookie deprecation date is hit, people are going to need to advertise differently. Google taking away cookies means that Google to phase out third party cookies. Paid ads won’t be as effective because people aren’t going to be able to be targeted as well.

None of this means paid advertising is going away. It’s a shift in focus. People are going to need to find new ways to target their audience.

In many ways, marketers and advertisers were spoiled by the ability to track people throughout the internet and target them based on niche interests and behaviors. But this also meant that people were increasingly being inundated by ads they really weren’t all that interested in just based on data. Now the cookie free world can restore some value to advertising.

Cookies Going Away 2022

So with cookies going away 2022, what should someone do? Are there third party cookies alternative technologies? Is there a third party cookies replacement?

Of course, there needs to be an alternative to cookie based advertising. Marketers won’t come up with an alternative to cookie based marketing at once. But there are some easy outs.

You can perform audience targeting without cookies in social media. Cookie tracking alternatives include things that are very similar to cookies (putting a tracker on someone’s computer), or fingerprinting them based on behavior. As an example, sites could intuit that someone uses the same email address on different sites or the same login name on different sites.

Advertisers can still use channels like email to connect to a list of customers rather than trying to reach out through targeting. And they can purchase contact lists and email addresses from similar sites. They can advertise on sites without audience targeting, but advertise on sites that have demographics that are close to the target; very much like choosing commercial ad space used to function on radio and television.

And, of course, new technologies are likely to arise when cookies finally go away. Advertisers are industrious. The cookie-pocalypse is probably going to drive a lot of changes in the advertising market. But the more things change, the more things stay the same. Advertisers should be prepared for an immense shift when this does occur, but it shouldn’t be something that terrifies them.

Rather, it’s something that could be good for everyone. People have become somewhat blind to targeted ads and paid ads anyway. By stripping away meaningless ads, advertisers can make the ads that do get through more relevant and meaningful. Perhaps critically, companies will be more or likely to advertise to people who are actually interested in being advertised to, which also means they will be more receptive and more likely to commit.