The obsolescence of the third-party cookie is nigh. This month, Google Chrome made an announcement that shook the ad-tech industry to its core: by 2022, third-party cookies will be phased out. Entirely.

You may, quite understandably, have no idea why this matters or what a cookie even is, so here’s the short version: a cookie is a packet of data that is stored on your browser (Google, Safari, Firefox, Duck Duck Go etc.) as a means of tracking how you use the site. A ‘first-party’ cookie is one left by the site you’re using and a ‘third-party cookie’ is a cookie left from a site you have visited in the past.

But how, I hear you ask, does this affect me? Well, potentially, if you haven’t cleared your browsing history for a while, there could be a great deal of web usage data on your browser. The site you’re on can use this data to ‘personalise’ content, which tends to be advertising, more often than not. It’s all rather annoying.

Google is actually very late to the anti-cookie party. Browsers like Duck Duck Go have always blocked third-party cookies; Firefox and Safari blocked them by default last year. Why? Well, they recognise that people want more clarity and control over when and how their data is harvested and repurposed. Strict new regulation like GDPR legalises this sentiment, and it’s now in effect.

We have to admit, we’re rather pleased. We like privacy.

A timely rebirth

We’re not naive. The introduction of a new, cookie-free form of customer targeting means the walled gardens of Google, Facebook and Amazon will have more leverage than ever, thanks to their ever-growing pantries of logged-in, first-party data. Advertisers will become heavily dependent on large publishers such as these to reach customers, once third-party tracking is no longer viable. 

But let’s set the motives of the tech oligopoly aside, for a minute. We’ve been painfully aware that, for too long, the marketing industry’s been ensnared in the jaws of a serious addiction to mindless metrics. 

Increasingly, strategists have obsessed over the short-term promise third-party ‘tracking’ cookies bring, at the expense of smart, creative thinking. They’ve sacrificed long-term value for the quick dopamine hit of clickthroughs.

Let’s be frank: this form of marketing is dependent on mining personal data – frequently without knowing consent. It often misses the mark entirely, hounding web users with unwanted ads, and directing irrelevant traffic to websites, all of which culminates in scant conversions. 

The cookie ban will put strategies that rely on retargeting (when the same annoying ad follows you around the internet) in hot water. It will also force marketers to gravitate towards context-based advertising, focused on harnessing insights from first-party data to communicate with customers on a human, respectful level while upholding GDPR.

Inventive branding and content that engages eyes, ears, hearts and minds will once again take centre stage – hopefully. 

Creativity is rebellious

Here at Resolution, we’ve never followed the herd. We never bought into cookie fever – there’s really no call for such measures, and they were never particularly effective, anyway.

Our strategies are integrated and sustainable. They work because they’re honest, creative, and inventive. They’re centred on delighting and intriguing your target audience, letting them know what you’re all about while respecting customers’ boundaries. 

Want to learn more about the value of creativity in marketing? Click here.

We know that notable ROI and higher quality enquiries are a natural corollary to a holistic, dynamic strategy. Lasting bonds are forged when you offer customers something of actual interest and distinction – that’s what wins you loyalty and recognition.

That’s also why we’re dedicated to building strong, eye-catching brands: because people will always connect with a credible, impactful identity.

Our philosophy

We’re yet to find out what Google’s ambiguous “privacy sandbox” will entail in terms of user tracking. There are vague promises of a “healthy, ad-supported web”, but what does that mean for customers and advertisers? Only time will tell.

What we do know is this: to properly communicate with customers, you need a thoughtful, long-term strategy. You need to factor in personal privacy. People respond to beautiful logos, killer copy and insightful marketing, not a slew of unwelcome ads.

Living, breathing human beings are at the heart of all Resolution does, which is why our clients get real results and repeat customers.

Written by. Amalie Bleackley

Amalie Bleackley