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BLOG | Industry News | February 24, 2021

RIP Third-Party Cookies: How to Prepare, and Why You Still Need a Cookie Banner

Early last year in 2020, Google announced that it would join a growing number of browsers to end the use of third-party cookies. Leading...

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Early last year in 2020, Google announced that it would join a growing number of browsers to end the use of third-party cookies. Leading many to ask – will cookie banners and consent management platforms (CMPs) be phased out too?

The simple answer is: No, cookie banners and CMPs are here to stay! In this blog, we’ll explain the background into the end of third-party cookies, practical solutions your team can implement to prepare, and demonstrate why you still need a cookie banner.

Watch the WebinarRIP Third-Party Cookies: How to Prepare, and Why You Still Need a Cookie Banner

What are Third-Party Cookies?

Third-party cookies, also known as tracking cookies or trackers, are created by domains that are not the website you are visiting. They assist with online advertising, retargeting, analytics, and tracking services. By adding their tags or scripts to a page, a third-party cookie can be used to store and retrieve data. This allows websites to better understand their visitors and how they navigate around their site to provide a more targeted user experience.

Some practical examples of how third-party cookies are used in advertising include:

  • Retargeting – When you browse and look at a product, you might then see it on another website bringing you back to the product.
  • Frequency Capping – This helps limit the number of times you see the same ad, so you don’t get frustrated or fatigued by that ad.
  • Measurement – Third-party cookies collect data and provide insight to help companies understand website performance and visitors. How are users converting? What are they clicking? Are they making purchases?

When Google announced the end of third-party cookies from Chrome, the advertising and publishing industry became motivated to find new ways to gather data and achieve similar results. Currently, the industry is seeking more transparent and privacy-centric alternatives to third-party cookies.

The History of Third-Party Cookies & Browser Changes

The use of third-party cookies, particularly in advertising, has always been a concern for many users, websites, and regulatory authorities. In an effort to provide more transparency, many browsers decided to set up and implement ways to protect user data and privacy. As a result, Chrome announced in 2020 that it would phase out third-party cookies by 2022.

Apple’s Safari became the industry leader by not allowing third-party cookies to be dropped by default since 2017. A couple of years later in 2019, Firefox became the next major browser to block third-party cookies. These changes served as warnings of where the industry is heading and gave a couple of years for companies to prepare.

It’s true that Chrome saying RIP to third-party cookies is not a new concept. Nevertheless, its announcement still shook up the market more than the other browsers because it is the most widely used browser. Still, it’s a good idea for advertisers to use the other browsers to their advantage and test out new strategies.

Laws, Regulations, and the Impact of Big Tech

Historically, laws and regulations set the standard for privacy expectations and compliance. The global regulatory landscape is very diverse considering the various countries, states, and economic regions. The nuanced requirements can easily become overwhelming for organizations to navigate and build a reactive privacy program.

It’s not just the laws and regulations that set the tone – but the tech industry also sets a new standard. These technology changes force change within the industry. Some of the most important developments include Facebook with their new LDU feature, Apple iOS 14 privacy changes, and of course, Chrome’s phasing out of third-party cookies. 

User Expectations

What are the expectations users and consumers want from brands, publishers, and advertisers? While it’s apparent consumers are more connected now than ever before, on the other hand, consumers are also more cautious and privacy-aware than ever before. Naturally, a conflict arises between the balance of consumer privacy and a personalized user experience. This forces companies to innovate new ways to communicate with their audience. It’s important for companies to explain how they achieve personalization while protecting user data.

The end of third-party cookies still leaves a very important question – Do you still need a cookie banner or CMP? Saying RIP to third-party cookies does not mean the end of collection and sharing of data with third-parties. Depending on your applicable regulations, you will most likely still need a compliant cookie banner. Cookie banners are best practices and essential to provide notice and disclosure to the data subject and provide the user the opportunity to opt-out. Yet, it is up to the organization to experiment with diverse strategies to figure out how to continue to deliver personalized experiences without relying on third-party cookies.

Learn more about customizing and testing different cookie banner designs to maximize opt-ins while staying compliant.

RIP Third-Party Cookies: Practical Solutions

Currently, we have one year left to prepare for the end of third-party cookies on Chrome. Let’s review some practices you can implement now to create a competitive advantage before third-party cookies are removed for good:

  • Utilize Identifiers: The foundation for all solutions is identity. Essentially, you want to establish the identifiers your business is using and progressively profile your visits. Then implement collection points across your website or mobile apps. And once captured, activate this data to understand your audience and segment them better. A few different types of ids you may be able to use to understand your audience include:
    • Probabilistic ID: an id used to not exactly identify the user but instead utilize anonymous data points to build provides with data from known users who exhibit similar behaviors.
    • Deterministic ID: based on some type of identifiable data, this can include log-in data, offline customer data or IDs, or information the user and data collector have shared with each other.
  • First-Party Data:  First-party data is information that is collected directly from your audience or user. Including data from behaviors, actions, or interests demonstrated across your website or app. The main difference between first- and third-party data is first-party data is collected directly and owned by your organization. Meaning your customer willingly provided you the data, most likely for the use of your service, such as keeping the user logged in during multiple sessions. There is no middleman selling you the data.
  • Paywalls: Digital subscriptions and paywalls have progressed over time as publishers have the flexibility over UX, the ability to sync subscription data, and manage it efficiently. Additionally, now paywalls can offer choice and transparency. With increasing global regulations, most likely when a user visits a website, they’ll be prompted with a CMP to capture consent and preferences. Now, when using the OneTrust CMP, publishers can consolidate their CMP and paywall UI into one model. This streamlines the user experience, helps generate revenue, and meets compliance requirements all at once.

CookiePro Helps The Transition from Third-Party Cookies & Prepares Your CMP

Ultimately, your goal is to meet consumer expectations, comply with privacy regulations, and adapt to industry standards. Obviously, this is not an easy task – but with the right solution, you can prepare now and make the degradation of third-party cookies a competitive advantage in 2022.

To learn more about third-party cookies and CMP banners, watch our webinar RIP Third-Party Cookies: How to Prepare, and Why You Still Need a Cookie Banner or request a 1:1 demo with our cookies experts to learn how CookiePro supports this transition.

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