Privacy changes for Digital Marketing

How Will the Recent Privacy Changes Affect the Future of Digital Marketing?

The digital marketing landscape is set to change in the next few years due to the expanding digital complications, upcoming regulations, and algorithm & policy changes from leading technological firms making it a challenging year for marketing strategists. One of the standout changes inevitable is elimination of third-party cookies. But how will this affect marketers in the future?

Third-party cookies are the data which tracks which sites the consumer has visited across the web that are not owned by you. This could comprise of different sites you have visited, your purchase history and more. This data has been used by many digital advertising firms to their advantages. Have you ever noticed that the same jumper you checked out a few days ago has kept on popping up since? This is because the retailer you visited may have saved a cookie to your device recognising you as a potential buyer of jumpers. Therefore, you will be targeted with various different ads relating to jumpers.

Advertisers began using third-party cookies approximately 20 years ago as they were seen as a way of targeting two key areas. One, they would offer an easier way to aim towards the audience they want to reach to. The other, cookies could also be analysed by the advertising agencies, calculating how much revenue they were gaining from specific marketing campaigns.

However, in recent years here has been a gradual phasing out of cookies, switching the process from third-party data to first-party data. Google is one of the many technological giants that have announced this change to their plans. Third-party cookies have been central to the way Google runs its privacy initiative for a number of years however, they are planning to dissolve this form of tracking on its Chrome browser from 2023. They will join a number of other browser’s including Apple’s Safari and Mozilla’s Firefox in blocking third-party cookies worldwide.

This has come at a moment where there has been significant backlash over ad-tracking. There has been a number of scandals that have raised questions regarding how big tech companies are allowed to stalk people online. This has meant that the idea of data privacy has grown in demand in recent years.

What does this mean for digital marketing?

Well, the best marketers are always looking for various changes occurring in the digital world and must adapt their strategies to the everchanging digital outlook, therefore, this move away from third-party cookies has been expected. Nonetheless, the decisions made by these marketers will have large implications on the future of privacy on the internet and how businesses will be able to run on the web under the $336 billion-worth digital marketing industry.

Those in Google have already worked on a new paradigm which they have named Privacy Sandbox. This is a brand-new project, originally announced by the digital giants in August 2019, aims to remove the internet from any third-party cookies that have the ability to track the sites people are browsing.

Whilst some of the digital giants are already working on alternatives, it is not the same story for everyone. Approximately 80% of advertisers rely on the use of third-party cookies, therefore many will be afflicted.

Head of PPC at TRON Media, Charles Robertson, states how other advertising companies will likely feel the consequences from this change, therefore risks them being left behind the likes of Google.

“Potentially this change will only increase Google’s dominance of the market” he said. “There is some cynicism as to whether this change is truly in the best interests of privacy, or to tighten Google’s grip on the market.”

Advertising on social media will be one of the key areas affected. Changes means that it will not be possible to target people who have an interest in the industry outside of the social media platform including those who have visited their website or competitors.

However, one of the most important features within digital marketing, Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), will survive through the eradication of cookies, leaving only minimal effects.

Amy Golding an SEO expert from One2One Digital states: “It will have very little effect on SEO as we track what visitors do on their website (first-party cookies) not on other sites.”

She continues: “We will still be able to understand the journey and interests of visitors to our website as well as storing log in details and what’s in their basket.”

So, this eradication of cookies means that there is an opportunity for someone to take the initiative and embrace the challenge that this new landscape will offer.


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