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Marketing Tips
March 8, 2023
min read
Noam Yadin

The ultimate third-party cookies explainer, as told by Mean Girls memes

Throughout 2021, we were hit with multiple COVID-19 variants, TikTok trends that took over the internet (some even landing on our dinner table), and, best of all, Google announced that the third-party cookies ban is indeed still taking place but has gotten pushed to 2023. 

For most of us, ‘creating a marketing strategy that isn’t dependent on third-party cookies’ is at the top of our priority list for the upcoming year. Here’s your ultimate explainer for all the changes you need to know about - as told through the medium of Mean Girl memes. 

Marketing strategy for 2023

Mean Girls marketing strategy 2023

Google has announced that it will be banning all third-party cookies by 2023. This decision means that advertisers across the world are left in the lurch, and need to seriously rethink many of the digital advertising strategies they have relied on up to now. Leading up to 2023, marketers will need to target audiences and serve ads based on context. So, move over third-party cookies, Santa’s helpers have taken the stage - first party data, contextual advertising, programmatic advertising and influencers across social platforms. 

She doesn’t even go here

Mean Girls Third Party Cookies

Third-party cookies are pieces of data that are delivered from outside sources that did not originally collect the data - they literally “don’t even go here”. For example, if you visit a website and click on an ad served by a media company, a cookie from that media company is going to be set in your browser for their use. These kinds of cookies allowed companies to serve ads based on what users searched for or had previously browsed. Cookies have been showing up all over the internet incognito, hoping we don't spot them or mind too much about their looming presence on every site we visit. 

To accept cookies or not to accept cookies, that is the question

Third party cookies accepting consent

If you’ve visited a new website over the last 18 months, you’ve definitely come across the popup notification informing you that the website uses cookies to track and asking you to ‘accept’.  Now, let’s be honest, you really just want to scroll through the website and rejecting the cookie tracking may result in the website not working. This meme perfectly sums up what the experience feels like. 

Retargeting in a nutshell

A major issue with advertising based on cookies - when a company gathers information about your online behavior, they display ads that somewhat fit your ‘interests’. Awesome right? Well, not really. Imagine randomly checking the prices for diapers just out of curiosity - doesn’t mean you are interested in diapers, let alone want to get bombarded with advertisements about diapers. There’s also a good chance they’ll continue showing you the same ad over and over again until you either click or leave their site - this is retargeting and it makes you want to scream at your screen - why are you so obsessed with me?

Marketers coming up with creative ways to overcome the third-party cookies ban

Marketers and advertisers are feeling the pressure to come up with a marketing strategy for 2023 and the need to be creative can get the best of us. 

Mean Girls’ version of the cookies consent pop up on eCommerce websites

If Regina George was responsible for creating the cookies consent pop up, it would sound a little bit like her infamous line - get in loser, we’re going shopping. There wouldn’t be the option to ‘accept’ or ‘reject’ because let’s be honest, who turns down Regina George, erm, cookies personalizing your online experience. 

Contextual advertising 101 

In short, contextual advertising is a way for companies to advertise online by focusing entirely on the content of a given site. With contextual advertising, advertisers can get their message in front of people who are more likely to be interested in what they have to say - so no more following people around from site to site, instead, synching closely with what they see on a particular web page to maximize results. One form of advertising using context that has been around for a while (and is only growing in popularity) is influencer marketing or content sponsorships. Because where influencers go, we all want to follow"

Marketing strategy walking into 2023 like…

By 2023, brands should no longer be dependent on third-party cookies and this type of data collection can be removed from browsers and chucked away. 

Third-party cookies in human-form

Third-party cookies know far too much about us and are more than happy to share that information with advertisers. Age, location, gender, religion, sexual orientation - there is no end to the data that is being collected about us. But the end is in sight: Just like Gretchen cracked, so have third-party cookies. Just like Gretchen cracked, so have third-party cookies. 

When brands think they’ve nailed their targeting via third party cookies

We use the internet for absolutely everything - watching YouTube, online shopping, checking medical symptoms, looking for discounts on flights, and asking Google a wide range of questions. It’s very likely that when cookies collect information about your online behavior - it’s not the most accurate representation of your interests. However, on the brand side, when they collect data from third-party cookies that pinpoint potential customers and then display ads to these users, they must feel ‘psychic’.

Last but not least

Over the last year, ThoughtLeaders has worked overtime to learn all the in’s and out’s of the cookie-less future and understood that the key is using content and context. Developing a game plan for your brand now will ensure you stay on target with your company goals and reach. Get in touch to discuss how to jumpstart your brand’s influencer marketing campaigns and find the right content to wean you off your reliance on cookies for good.

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