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The date is set: Third party cookies are gone for good

Google has today announced how they will move away from third party cookie (3PC) tracking. Cookies have been used by the market for a long time to identify consumers. They allow for frequency control of media, personalisation of site visits, and measurement.

Why should I care?

Safari and Firefox have already done away with third party cookies. They make up 26% of browser market share in Europe. Now Google Chrome, which makes up 60% of browser market share in Europe, is saying goodbye to the third party cookie. That’s 86% of browsers that will be unreachable through the technology.  This will arguably be the biggest change since the introduction of GDPR in 2018. In fact, our research shows that 68% of marketers think that this change will have a bigger impact than GDPR or CCPA.

Third party identifiers have always had flaws. Largely, consumers were unaware of how their activities online were being tracked and, as changes to global privacy law began to take effect, it was only a matter of time before 3PCs came under the microscope. And rightly so.

Who benefits from third party cookie deprecation?

Many observers have questioned who is really benefitting from 3PC deprecation. This change, coupled with Apples new privacy controls related to IDFA, would suggest no-one benefits more than the big platforms. It’s the large consumer platforms, known to many marketers as walled gardens, that have unquestionably used data to shift marketing’s centre of gravity in their favour. Advertisers have been paying these platforms and feeding them with their own data for many years. But they have not gotten any of that data, or the insights it generated, back.

The fear is that changes to third party identifiers will only serve to increase advertisers spend with walled gardens, worsening an already imbalanced relationship. Intentional or not, this change will mean large consumer platforms will interpose themselves even further in the customer relationship, and take the customer away from the brands.

So what’s the solution?

The solution for brands is to build up their first party data assets. An excellent way to do this is through a loyalty programme. We are seeing a lot of movement into Loyalty programmes from big brands who you may have assumed didn’t need one. For example, McDonalds and Burger King both announced new loyalty rewards programmes as a way to encourage repeat customers. Brands of all sizes are now seeking to protect their relationship with the consumer, and create a fair and transparent value exchange for their data.

There is a proliferation of companies offering ID based technologies that offer a work around but very often seem to have real problems with scale and return on investment. Epsilon has delivered ID Driven marketing since 2007, which is an enormous heritage to bring to bear. Our years of preparation building people-based identity with first-party strategies and relationships will enable us to continue delivering results for our advertisers, while still providing privacy.

Learn more about our cookieless solution here.