You’ve probably heard plenty of times how third-party cookies are going away from Google’s Chrome browser. It’s true that this may still happen — eventually. Google has ended up delaying these changes over the last couple of years, reportedly due to concerns about its replacement solutions. Here’s a recap of what’s happened so far, what you can expect in the near term, and what strategies are available to your digital marketing efforts if third-party cookies really do take a hike.
Is Google Removing Third-Party Cookies in 2024?
While Google announced initial plans for phasing out third-party data earlier this year, they ultimately delayed implementation twice. CNBC reports 2024 is the soonest we can expect these changes to go into effect.
The bright side? Digital advertisers have more time to make the necessary preparations.
Why these setbacks? It turns out that Google’s initial plan, known as the Federated Learning of Cohorts (FLoC), “didn’t keep advertisers from serving invasive ads on a one-to-one basis,” and could still lead back to personal identification, notes Newsy. Their latest program, Topics, seeks to eliminate that concern by allowing marketers to learn about leads through a series of categories that are temporarily stored on users’ mobile devices only, but that still seems to be raising red flags.
It’s also possible that Google’s delay is due at least in part to Apple’s Mail Privacy Protection (MPP) program, which put a big question mark over the accuracy of all email open rates with iOS devices.
This all begs the question, what should you be doing now to prepare for a potentially cookie-less future?
Here are our two main strategies.
1. Develop A Better Way To Obtain First-Party Data
First-party data is the personal data that leads actively provide to you.
Ever sign up for marketing emails in exchange for a discount coupon with your favorite brand? That’s first-party data.
I know what you’re probably thinking: that’s great if you want to collect data for B2C, but what about B2B? Selling ERP software to a manufacturer, for instance, doesn’t usually involve an online shopping cart and a twenty-percent-off promo.
That’s why B2B marketers have had to get creative with the material they use to get the same information. Enter the realm of lead magnets: these pieces of content are usually presented on landing pages that website visitors can click on and download, and come with the low, low price tag of a name and email address.
Does having that lead magnet automatically mean you’ll start raking in new contacts? Not necessarily. You’ll have to manage a couple other areas to funnel traffic to them.
For example, say that you have a new ebook that offers a checklist of items that can solve a big issue your leads often face in their market. While you can certainly promote that checklist on all of your social channels, you also want to make sure that you’re ranking for that content organically on search engines. Here’s an estimate for how long it could take to get your content ranked before you’ll see results.
You can also emphasize more online advertising by using pay-per-click campaigns that will promote that ebook — and your products and services — to strategic spots above search engine results and on social media pages.
The areas above extend well beyond prospecting and into a fully developed digital marketing program. If that sounds like what you’re looking for, we have options available over at Marketing Armor that can help. You can click here to learn more about them, and schedule time for a free consultation.
However, if you’re primarily concerned with prospecting solutions that can overcome the loss of third-party cookies, here’s our next strategy.
2. Use Prospecting Automation To Find More Leads
There are a few different ways you could go about finding new leads to add to your contact database. Trade shows often have a list of attendees who allow their emails to be shared. Or you might try purchasing a lead list from a data aggregate source.
While we can’t speak to the expenses surrounding all trade shows, we do know that purchasing lead lists that already include email addresses can be expensive — as much as a dollar per email. And if you’re looking to develop a database of 10-20 thousand contacts, that’s a lot of money.
Plus, those lists are often old, which means several of their emails may have changed if the company rebranded or became acquired, leads’ job titles and responsibilities are different if they were promoted, or many of those leads will no longer be with those companies — especially if they were part of the Great Resignation.
An alternative to shelling out some serious cash for lists that might be fifty percent accurate on a good day is to use prospecting automation. Prospecto takes lead lists that don’t have email addresses (and are thus substantially more cost effective), and uses their firmographic data to find and verify the most current, available email addresses if they exist. In this manner, you can work through several lists to find a sufficient number of accurate leads that will improve your prospecting funnel and replenish those lost to normal attrition.
Note: While it may be tempting to automatically throw these verified contacts into your normal marketing cycle, we strongly discourage it. Cold leads need time to learn about who you are and what you offer, especially when they haven’t opted in to receive communication from you. Using Prospecto keeps your core domain protected from being flagged as potential spam, and allows leads to engage with you to the point that it’s safe to transition them over to your normal marketing and sales automation.
Worried You Can’t Rely on Third-Party Data?
If you’re worried about the changes that are ahead, we recommend patience. Marketers have dealt with similar issues in the past for lead generation and lead nurturing. And guess what? We’re still here. It simply requires practice, testing, and developing new tools and methods that will meet these challenges.
Would you like to see how Prospecto could apply to your business? We’d be happy to share a demo with you. Schedule time to learn more about the data it uses to verify email addresses, the dashboard that offers key performance indicators for campaigns and lead scoring, and the way we pass leads over to your team once they’re ready for conversations.
We also have suggestions for how to write a good prospecting email, and the types of sales questions and emails that work best for warming leads up to new business discussions.
When you’re ready, click the link below for a free consultation.