Getting to know you
….before it’s too late
Have you noticed that when clicking on some types of referral links, on some browsers it now warns you that the click will not be tracked?
For example, I (Nat) am a HUGE fan of TopCashback. A site that tracks your clicks to other sites and gives you cashback for purchases. Sounds great right? Well of late, specific browsers such as Safari have decided to no longer allow “third-party cookies” and therefore no longer will track my leap from one site to another.
And more are following suit. Google and Firefox are all withdrawing their support for third-party cookies by 2022. And by using the terminology “by 2022” means they have probably already started to break those links. So what does that mean for businesses?
WHAT ARE “COOKIES”?
Before we go into what this change means, some may not be 100% sure what cookies are, although you have a policy for it on your site.
We also want to point out that we aim to keep this article as layman as possible with references to more detail should you feel the need.
In short, cookies help a website (or a number of linked sites) to keep track of website visitor, what they do and look at. Other cookies, such as third-party or cross-site, go as far as tracking where your visitor goes next. Cookies collate data on individuals.
To read more about cookies and the various types, please visit Norton.co.uk.
THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN COOKIES & THIRD-PARTY COOKIES.
Cookies tend only to track activities of a user on your site, or a click from one website to another – known as a website referral in your analytics. For this article, we are going to look at third-party cookies. Third-party cookies are like those I explained at the beginning, where one site is linked to another by a piece of tracking code to harvest data of your website users. The main one being to support those ads that follow you around the internet after clicking on those shoes.
AND SO WHAT?
As a consumer, you may not be too bothered by that change. But there are many people and businesses this will impact because of the way they digitally advertise their businesses.
Think about it, that Facebook Pixel you have on your site – that is a third-party cookie. Google Analytics – at the moment, is seen as a third-party cookie. The real impact of this ban is not going to be known, and the likes of Facebook and Google will be working their way around it.
But what about other digital publishers?
They will have to start seeking out and obtaining more first-party data rather than relying on information from the sites that advertise with them. And the time to do that is now. Get to know your audience inside and out. What they like, read, eat and more so that you can continue to provide a service that is personalised to them as well as keep some of your advertising revenue.
We have already seen a massive increase in digital publishers having paid subscription options. The FT was the pioneer of the subscription-based reading which they introduced back in 2002. They celebrated reaching one million paying readers back in April 2019.
The FT first introduced a paywall in 2002. Ahead of the pack, it established a ‘metered’ access model in 2007 before moving in 2015 to paid trials as its primary pay model. Digital subscriptions now account for more than three-quarters of the FT’s circulation, although the iconic print newspaper continues to be profitable. 70 per cent of FT readers are outside the UK, illustrating the publication’s global reach.
If your content is good enough, people will pay for it.
The message is the same. As the phase-out begins, stop relying on other sites to send a copy of your audience to your site. Get to know who your consumer is and work on organically bringing them in through content creation.
If you choose to continue advertising, the likes of Google, Facebook and Amazon will still be the “top dogs” of data collection. We expect they will do well out of this move in terms of their advertising revenue increasing. We can also imagine that cost for that top spot will come at a price as more people bid for their place.
BUT IT ISN’T ALL BAD.
Until we know the full extent of the impact our advice is:
- Don’t panic but make sure you know who your customers are and what they want.
- Build your organic profile so that your customers can find your business online when they need it.
- Start to seek out niche publications for possible future ad spend.
- PR is a way to get your business into publications in a more cost-effective way than advertising.
- Start to experiment and hone your social media advertising knowledge now before everyone is utilising Facebook, Google and Amazon ads. Meaning it will work harder for you when the time comes.
- Keep the cashback coming 😉
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