Digital advertising as we know it is gearing up for some serious shifts. Many of these changes will be at the mercy of increased privacy protocols – specifically, third party cookie regulations.
Apple was the first big player to respond to increased privacy concerns. In recent years, they have progressively implemented stricter privacy regulations on their software. Through these protocols, Apple is attempting to protect people’s privacy by dictating what information advertisers are allowed to capture about users and their online journeys.
Historically, digital advertisers have utilized third party cookies to appropriately target users and to display relevant advertisements. With more changes to third-party cookie regulations on the horizon, marketers everywhere are expecting turbulence to shake up the strategies they have long depended on.
Third-Party Cookies: Where Apple & Google Fit In
On iOS 14.5 devices, third party cookies are prohibited, and first-party cookies are even time restricted. This means that devices running on this software cannot be accurately tracked by external sources.
While these restrictions currently apply to users of iOS 14.5 devices, Google isn’t so far behind on implementing similar regulations.
In fact, Google was set to follow-suit this year, blocking all third-party cookies in Chrome Browsers. With 64% of all browsers using Chrome (that totals to nearly 2.7 billion people), the projected impact of this decision is nothing short of substantial.
However, due to considerable pushback from virtually all of its partners, Google has decided to revisit this idea at a later date. The sunsetting of third party browser cookies in Chrome has been pushed back to the end of 2023.
In the meantime, large players like Google and Facebook will continue to generate models that will allow them to track lost sales from iOS 14.5 devices.
What to Expect
Third party cookie regulations will continue to impact users and advertisers alike. And while there are not many immediate changes to consider, your advertising partners should be discussing with you what changes they plan to make to account for the new tracking restrictions.
Additionally, it is important to acknowledge that these changes will impact the digital marketing ecosystem at large. PPC, email and affiliate marketing are each expected to fluctuate in response to increased privacy regulations.
Specifically, marketing practices like email open rate tracking and affiliate attribution are top of mind for digital advertisers. The processes will soon demand work-arounds to effectively compensate for the large-scale shifts to privacy protocols.
For example, many affiliate networks will eventually require server-to-server tracking over traditional cookie based tracking. This means that a specific URL parameter, usually a numeric ID, will be stored on the merchant’s servers and not the client’s browsers. This process negates the need for a browser cookie, allowing a sale to be tracked through pixel fires and not a buyer’s journey.