The official phase out of third-party cookies by Google started earlier this month.

Google began the roll out of a new feature called Tracking Protection on January 4th.

This new feature, which affects users of Chrome on desktop and Android devices, restricts the use of third party cookies by default.

Currently this change affects around 1% of Chrome users, with all users updated by the end of the year.

You will know if the update has been applied to you as you will receive a notification when you open Chrome.

So how do the third party cookies work?

Let’s say a user sees an advert for a product on Facebook, and they click on it.

They add the product to their basket, but change their mind and don’t complete the checkout.

The user closes the website, and carries on browsing the web.

The user will now start to see adverts for the product that they nearly bought on other websites.

This is known as retargeting and re-marketing to potential clients.

Currently, 90% of users of the web are targetable by advertising.

Once Google has removed these third party cookies all of these users, their data and browsing habits will be private.

If your marketing relies on using third-party cookies for targeted advertising this will have a major impact on your strategy.

Now is the time to be looking at alternatives and preparing your websites, as by the end of 2024 this change will apply to all users of the Chrome browser.

Possible alternatives to third party cookies are:

  • First party cookies – these can be used to remember what a user was browsing when they were last on your site
  • Second party cookies – these collect the same data as third party cookies but under a data partnership, so that one company can share the data with another. For example, an airline could share data with a hotel chain, which would enable the hotel to run a retargeted advertising campaign

Certain websites may rely on third party cookies to function. In this case, an option will appear that allows the user to disable the Tracking Protection if they wish to do so.

Websites will not be able to force this, and as a result retargeted advertising will no longer be a profitable way of marketing products and services.

If you have any questions or would like to know if the Tracking Protection roll out will affect your business then please get in touch.

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