03 May 2021
Google Analytics

As we mentioned in a previous blog, Google announced in January 2020 that it is planning on phasing out support for third party cookies over the next two years. With Google Chrome accounting for more than half of global web traffic, this phase out will mean you’ll have to rethink how you target your customers online.

What are cookies?
A cookie is a small text file that attaches to your browser and follows your movements as you explore a website. If you rely on cookies you may be familiar with how they can help you to track exactly what users are doing, even if they don’t click on anything. Cookies can be used in a number of other ways such as ad retargeting or keeping items in your online shopping basket. For more information refer to this overview from Hubspot.

Third party cookies make you feel like your online movements are being followed and monitored. These cookies are the ones you accept when you visit a website that triggers ads for a product or business even if you are somewhere else like Facebook. You can see why Google raises this issue as a privacy concern in their announcement.

What should I do to prepare?
In this article from adnews.com.au, Chris Lockwood identifies 4 skills businesses are likely to benefit from once cookies go:

1. Strategic thinking and forward planning.
Chris suggests that businesses start planning and strategising alternative ways to target customers online by using more contextual targeting practices or forging strategic partnerships to enhance the customer journey. Using tools like Similarweb or Global Web Index are good starting points.

2. Analytical skills and critical thinking.
Chris tells us that tools and platforms that previously relied on third party cookies will go, so to ensure your business remains on track you will need to implement another set of tools to suit your business’s evolving needs. Chris shares the example of the update coming for Google Analytics, Google Analytics 4, which will remove individual data tracking for a trend focussed approach to further protect privacy.

3. Creativity, innovation, and empathy.
As Chris explains, customers are becoming more aware of their data online, so businesses need to start thinking about how they gather customer data, balancing privacy and security to generate trust.

4. Curiosity will become our greatest asset.
Lastly, Chris reveals that a lot will change, so it will pay to be curious to better prepare and get excited about new possibilities.

What this means for your .au website 
The availability of first party data on your website will become even more valuable to your business when third party cookies disappear. First party data is collected as a user interacts with your website, so ensuring this is recorded with a platform like Google Analytics is vital. You can improve your site visibility with SEO and using a .au domain. A .au domain will help attract your audience and gather relevant data while at the same time, promoting your business as reliable, trusted and secure. What more could you want?

Have a question, comment or idea for a future blog post? Email us at blog@afilias.com.au today.