Ask the Snail! Cookie Confusion Continued...


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NaviStone Infographic Logo-1Dear Zippy,

I’ve written to you for advice in the past and you’ve steered me in the right direction.

Last week Google announced, that by 2022, “Chrome will only load cookies that have been created and loaded on from the same domain…first party cookies”. As an advertiser (and consumer), I believe in the value of using cookies as a way to understand the interests of site visitors and target them with relevant and timely messaging. What implications should we expect to see across our various marketing programs (display advertisement, digital retargeting, and direct mail retargeting) as a result of this change?


Cookie Confused Continued in Colorado

Dear Cookie Confused in Colorado, 

I remember you! Thanks for reaching back out! 

It’s easy to get confused as new regulations are being rolled out and new business practices are adopted as a result. The most important thing to remember: these changes are all about providing consumers with more control over how their data is used and thus protecting their privacy. 

I’d like to dust off my response to your original inquiry and provide a bit more context.

“First party cookies originate from the site being visited - you visit the Williams-Sonoma site and they drop a cookie on your computer. This allows you to be recognized as an individual by that website. No more logging into the site or reminding them of what your interests are from page to page or visit to visit. Third party cookies originate from a website other than the one you are visiting and are used heavily in online advertising to remember a consumer’s path across the internet.”

Check with your partners and ask if first party or third party cookies are being used to enable their program. You may find that some programs are not even impacted. In the case of direct mail retargeting some providers rely on third party cookies while others rely on first party cookies (NaviStone). So, you may find this is not a problem at all. >5% of users actually block first party cookies.

In the cases where third party cookies are used, remember, this new business practice associated with Chrome is merely the default. Your webmaster can manually enable a setting that lets Chrome know to allow third party cookies for their site visitors. And Google is not the first to adopt this practice. Safari and Firefox have already been allowing this tracking capability to be turned off at the browser level.

We’ve also seen “websites obtaining affirmative active consent before any cookie is placed (a good thing) and companies like Apple, who are putting restrictions on the lifespan of the cookie as a way to protect consumer privacy. Cookies that once “remembered” you for months or until they were manually deleted, are now being automatically deleted in seven days or in some cases, one day.”

These practices, when leveraged, put control in the consumers hands (a good thing) but may also mean consumers receive less relevant advertising (a bad thing).

“Cookies enable that better online experience. If advertisers use cookies and the data “remembered” is used responsibly and according to the approvals provided by the consumer, the online experience will continue to improve.” 

As with many types of change, we often see the pendulum swing too far in one direction only to then settle somewhere in the middle. Giving the consumer control over how their data is used is good. I suspect we will see consumers continue to want their data used to provide relevant advertising and cookies will continue to play a part!


Zippy the Snail

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