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What is the Cookie Apocalypse and How I can get prepared?

Cookies apocalypse
Got Cookies?

Automation and machine learning have evolved by leaps and bounds in the last decade. Generic advertising intended to "fish" consumers is long gone. Nowadays communication is highly directed and personalized. The goal is to speak one-on-one to digital users and offer them products and services aligned with their interests and purchase intentions. Thanks to the cookies that the platforms plant on the devices, companies can tag those who have interacted at some point with any of their digital assets and later, thanks to remarketing, a communication bridge can be built that feeds interest, interaction, and the purchase intention.

In short, cookies make it possible for those shoes that you liked so much to “chase” you through the internet surfing until you “finally” buy them, or that after having visited a movie billboard page, you find ads that offer you the tickets, TV-on-demand subscription or even a home theatre equipment. This methodology is called a third-party cookie.

However, what is highly functional and budget-efficient for advertisers became a privacy issue among consumers. Apple and Google understood what users want and started the evolution of the tracking and analytics methodology last year, forcing companies to implement alternative processes. This is what was called The Cookies Apocalypse.

"Users are demanding greater privacy - including transparency, choice and control over how their data is used - and it's clear the web ecosystem needs to evolve to meet these increasing demands."

Justin Schuh Director of Chrome Engineering Google (Crooke, 2020).

What does this mean for those who want to continue advertising.

Perhaps the most significant change lies in the understanding of attribution models. That is the analysis of where users come from when they arrive at the website and what was it that made them decide to click. This change, beyond being technical, is a perspective that challenges digital advertising again. By not having access to cookies, digital marketing practitioners must understand new "key metrics" that allow consumers to identify and follow their path to purchase.

cookies apocalypse
Creator: Casey Fleser / | Credit: Casey Fleser Copyright: © Casey Fleser

What the trends tell us is that the first-party data, or in other words, the data collected directly by the brand is what will allow the creation of this new tracking ecosystem. The positive aspect is that by building your own audience, identified and with tracking ID, you will make your advertising budget much more efficient.

How? Well, for this the digital platforms are already prepared. The email is the new tracking ID. This means that a prospect who has subscribed to a page is highly interested in its content and will be more likely to convert in the short term. The way to identify these people is through e-mail and the platform to nurture and maintain interest is a CRM that fulfils the function of tracking the behaviour of the prospect in the long term.

The paradigm is the same problem that inbound marketing presents today, which is more expensive to build a database of qualified prospects. But (a big BUT), have a much better ROI. This cost will have a faster return as it is built on 100% reliable and real interests, unlike cookie advertising, which "chases" people, not always truly interested in a product.

So, the challenge is to convert subscribers, this means being much more appetizing for the consumer. Privacy wins, content wins, and efficiency wins.

I take up the challenge. I´m ready to track and convert. If you want to know more about how not to fear the apocalypse, leave your email and you will receive my useful advice once a month.


Silvia Vega

Disclaimer: This content is for the sole purpose of teaching and learning at Edith Cowan University.
14 Sept 2021

Crooke, J. (2020, August). What impact will Google killing third party cookies have on Google Analytics? Rawnet.
Hasija, V. (2021, July 1). Cookie apocalypse - what does it mean for publishers ?
Karnowsk, M. (2020, December). Top digital marketing trends for 2021. Think with Google.
McIntyre, P. (2020, May 11). Google’s 2022 cookie apocalypse: Why it will hit first party data, hyper-targeting and a solution from westpac’s former digital media and tech boss.
Pabari, S. (2020, November 18). The cookie apocalypse: How you can start planning now.


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