Third-party cookies have been a central part of retargeting campaigns over the last decade or more. While first introduced as a way to personalize browser experiences, their use as a privacy-infringing data collection tool has led to much scrutiny.
Browsers such as Apple’s Safari and Mozilla Firefox have banned third-party cookies. Google Chrome — which has 60% of the browser market share — has announced plans to do the same by 2024.
Many digital advertisers designed their strategies on the assumption that they’d always have unrestricted access to their target’s data, preferences, online actions, and more. Without third-party cookie tracking, remarketing becomes far more challenging.
What are third-party cookies, and how do they help with retargeting?
Third-party cookies are text files stored in internet browsers that allow websites to track and customize user behaviors. The privacy issue is that cookies allow websites to track users across other web properties.
Anyone who uses the internet will be familiar with this situation. You go to an eCommerce store and browse some winter jackets. Suddenly, banner ads on other sites or within your email browser start showing ads for the same jacket.
Congratulations, you’ve been retargeted.
Does the death of the cookie mean the end of retargeting?
Cookies and retargeting go hand in hand. As such, the death of the third-party cookie is making retargeting very sick.
Marketing teams had things too good for a long time. They had an incredible amount of personal user data that they could use to serve pinpoint ads based on users’ interests, browsing history, and other information.
There wasn’t even much of an art to it. That data hid most of the work, and marketing teams luxuriated in the credit.
Other issues with third-party cookies
Privacy is just one of the significant issues with third-party cookies. The other problem is that they were already losing effectiveness.
Many users engage with the internet across different devices. The same person can use their work and personal laptops, a tablet, and mobile phone on the same day.
Additionally, more users are interacting through web applications rather than browsers. These preferences further complicate the picture for advertisers tracking the entire buyer journey.
Things have become confusing for businesses trying to attribute different touchpoints across the buyer’s journey. They often count the same user multiple times because of other devices.
And then there is the problem of dark social: often instrumental links that are shared that can’t be tracked because they come from email, Slack, private messages, etc. These links look like users entered a website directly into the browser when they didn’t.
When combined with enhanced privacy settings, it’s becoming hard to produce consistent sales and marketing results with digital ads.
How your remarketing strategy will change
Things will change for marketing teams once third-party cookies are finally killed off. Here are some ways your advertising will become less effective and more expensive.
One of the best things about retargeting is that it allows advertisers more precision. Reaching your ideal or target audience is far easier when you are working with a pile of data that tells you a lot about their marital status, interests, demographics, and more.
Without third-party cookies, this surgical precision is off the table.
Customer acquisition costs (CAC) have risen steadily over the last few years. A big part of this is the removal of third-party cookies. The reduced advertising precision means that advertisers serve more ads to users who are different fr the ideal fit for their product or service.
The benefit of retargeting was that you knew someone was interested. Sometimes their desire to buy your product was as explicit as putting it into a checkout basket.
Without this data, the marketing team’s aim is less good. For each successful kill, they need to take more shots. That means more bullets and higher advertising costs.
There are as many as eight touchpoints involved in an online sale. If businesses can’t understand the various searches, shared links, and ads that influence a user to buy the product, they don’t have a true idea of the customer journey.
Understanding the customer journey helps businesses plan their sales and marketing. They can track which types of content move the needle. It helps them know what marketing channels they should spend more on.
When pieces of the attribution puzzle are missing, businesses could start to over or underestimate specific channels or content. They have less data to fine-tune their approach, making their ads less effective.
How Amanda AI solves these issues
Retargeting isn’t going away entirely. Businesses that collect first-party data from their customers will still be able to employ it to retarget users. However, collecting first-party data can be complicated. Additionally, it can lack the rich detail that makes third-party data more effective.
Amanda AI makes autonomous optimizations to each ad. It uses this data to improve and learn, and ultimately it can outperform users at effectively connecting ads to users. Your ads are judged on the effects they generate, so high-performing, high-converting ads become the priority.
Modern advertising has so many variables. There are too many variables for manual users to track and too many patterns in the data that we struggle to see or understand. Our AI robot doesn’t have that issue; it keeps grinding away until you see a boost in your sales or conversions.
Without third-party data, many marketing teams are lost. However, Amanda AI is here to get you back on the path by improving the precision of your ads and reducing your spending.
Without third-party cookies, remarketing strategies that once produced excellent results will stop being effective. Advertising will become less effective and more expensive, reducing ROI.