Depending on which marketing discipline is your preference, cookies will either make your ears prick up or your heart sink.

The copywriters and designers amongst us probably fall into the latter group. You’re at your best when the creativity is flowing. You might have one eye on data, but it doesn’t float your boat.

If you are a numbers focused marketer who likes to geek out with analytics, you will be all over the cookie situation. Marketers who run Google advertising campaigns will also be in the know about cookies.

Why should we care about cookies?

Why are we talking about cookies and why are they important? And what did we mean by ‘the cookie situation’? We talk a little about cookies in our recent blog on Google Analytics 4.

In a nutshell, Google recently announced that they will no longer be using 3rd party Cookies as part of their analytics. Since cookies feature on nearly all websites and they are such an integral part of how targeted advertising, data collection and analytics work, it came as a surprise to many.

What exactly is a cookie?

'Cookies' are small data files that store bits of information from the website you visit. They look at and capture your behaviour not just across the website you are visiting but across other websites and even apps.

Why is this useful? Simply put, it’s useful to create data that helps build a picture of your behaviours, preferences and habits. The next step is using this data to target specific adverts and websites to you.

Is the internet always listening?

The use of these hyper-personalised and targeted adverts can often make it feel like the internet is listening to you. Almost like a stalker quietly watching your every move before presenting you with a shiny new object you were already thinking of buying. There is something coercive about it. Of course, your devices are not actively listening to you, but they are tracking your internet movements by using cookies.

The targeting elements were embraced by marketers and advertisers alike. Being able to target ads at such a laser-focused level often yielded impressive results. But with more businesses moving online and the ads becoming too personal and persistent, it was time for a sea-change.


The death of cookies

Like anything sweet, you can have too much of a good thing. The same applies to cookies. The tracking and targeting have become almost too effective that we, as consumers, started raising concerns about data privacy. People didn’t enjoy feeling like they were being watched.

There was something invasive about getting adverts for say, work-related software when you were browsing Facebook in the evening. Or another ad for a romantic weekend away when you’re in work mode.

Instances like this were part of the catalyst in the demise of cookies. Google announced that it wanted to build a more private, protected internet. Whilst still protecting people’s privacy it also wanted businesses to thrive in a digital age.

When are cookies ending?

There are already some changes in place surrounding the use of third-party cookies. Both Firefox and Safari no longer use them. They are the second and third largest internet browsers. Google Chrome is ahead of them by a country mile, accounting for upwards of 60% of all internet traffic.

Google was aiming to end the use of third-party cookies this year (2022) but has now pushed this back until at least July 2023. The delay is partially down to Google recognising the need for advertisers and developers to test their phase 1 rollout of the changes and that this testing would take several months.

Any iPhone users here will also be aware that the iOS operating systems update also blocked the use of third-party cookies in their updates from last year. Users are now asked whether they want to allow apps to track their activity across other companies’ apps and websites.

What should marketers do about the end of cookies?

There are a few options marketers have around preparing for the end of cookies. If you’re a small business and you don’t do any advertising, or pay much attention to your Google Analytics, then do nothing. You can get away with doing very little and you may not even notice the changes.

If you don’t run any paid online ads (Google ads or otherwise) but you do spend time working with your Google analytics, be prepared that this will look different. There is an element of ‘expect the unexpected’ with the end of cookies. No one yet knows what Google analytics will look like after cookies end or how we will approach paid advertising.

If you run Google ads or PPC campaigns, then get ready to change your approach. It’s worth mentioning that cookies aren’t disappearing completely. First party cookies will still exist. These track user activity within a specific website so you will still have data around which pages people head to, how many visitors your website attracts each month and so on.

Also, we’re likely to see a rise in contextual adverts rather than behavioural ones. This means that adverts will be placed more logically. For example, adverts for sportswear featuring on a website for a gym or chain of sports clubs.

To give this more context imagine going to a big football match or sporting event. There is always advertising hoarding around the pitch and everyone sees the same ads. It’s assumed the people attending the game have similar interests. If cookies existed in this instance every single attendee in the stadium would see different ads based on their internet habits. That’s what is ending. No more hyper-personalised ads instead the adverts will be more contextual.

For marketers, we’re also likely to see the need for even more engaging content. If your ads aren’t bringing in the (cookie) dough (sorry, we had to get a cookie pun in somewhere) then your content needs to.

If you want some tips or support on creating engaging content to help boost your online presence, contact the Livewire team.

Free SEO Checkup

Thank you

Sign up
for our

Thank you

We'll be in touch as soon as we can.

Read our privacy policy

Get in touch with our experts

Or give us a call to discuss your needs.

P    01794 725 454




Download Our Service Brochure

Or speak with our team to see how we can help you.

Thank you

Livewire Digital Brochure