Google Kills 3rd Party Cookies. What does it mean for the future of marketing?

Just like the ability to open a program on a computer doesn’t make you an I.T. Person, being able to run a facebook ad doesn’t make you a digital strategist. And you need look no further than the myriad facebook ads in your timeline for “facebook marketing gurus” to realize that facebook made advertising “easy”, made marketers lazy, and created marketing gurus that are anything but.

But in late 2018 Facebook notified advertisers that it will shut down access to third-party data from providers like Acxiom and Oracle which marketers used to target audiences in their Facebook ads.

While this made facebook and instagram advertising more difficult for even the best of facebook ad “gurus”, it was overcome by leveraging the facebook pixel and 3rd party cookies.

In comes 3rd party cookie blocking. Google released version 80 of its popular Chrome web browser, and along with it introduced the ability to completely block 3rd party cookies, which includes the facebook pixel. Delivering yet another significant blow to marketers because Chrome controls 70% of the browser market.

But we’re focusing on the wrong thing. The big story here isn’t privacy controls getting tighter, it’s the hard data that more and more people, especially younger people, are limiting time on social networks and turning more to dark social. Dark social includes things like texting, private messaging apps like Snapchat, and email.

These changes will quickly separate true digital strategists from the “gurus”, and only smart marketers and brands that have a true digital strategy and are equipped to adapt to ever-changing landscape and user behavior will survive.

It won’t impact you immediately as this option is turned off by default and must be enabled by the user, but rumors indicate it will be on by default in the next version of Chrome, and you need to not just be prepared, but be proactive about your marketing strategy.

Some tips moving forward…

  • Content, content, content. Regardless of how great your product is, if you’re not visible you don’t exist, at least not in todays landscape. Most brands don’t create enough close to enough content, with the right message, on the right platform. And the content they do create is self-promotion with a focus on sales, not on brand awareness.
  • Channel. Everyones either on facebook or Instagram right? Sorry, wrong. And even if they are, it’s not where they’re engaging. Understanding where your ideal customers are, where they are going, how they want to be communicated with and engaged, then mastering the platforms to make that possible is critical to your success.
  • Community. If you have a strategy that works, content that works, and are on the right channels, community is a much easier goal to achieve. And community is where the gold is. Empower your community to be your most valuable marketing asset through loyalty rewards that surprise and delight.
  • Strategy. Develop a true digital strategy. This is where almost every brand we work with fails. Like throwing darts at a dartboard hoping to hit a bullseye, most marketing efforts aren’t built on strategy, or are run by a “hired gun” that has no clue what they’re doing. And strategy is derived from frameworks, not by score cards and “it worked last time we did it.” While you may be able to wander through the woods without a strategy, your chances of getting lost while your competition reaches the goal are significantly high. Without a strategy everything listed above is nothing short of a waste of time.

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