The Cookie is Crumbling, Will Your Digital Marketing Strategy Crumble Too?

Posted by Angela Hawker on June 19, 2019

We’ve seen the writing on the wall that using cookies for digital marketing wouldn’t last. For years, the amount of data marketers have been able to gather using cookies has been shrinking, and aside from the technical elements that contribute to the decrease in cookie effectiveness, there are major societal factors at play that have big implications for the cookie world.

Cookie Monster is Angry, and I Don’t Blame Him.Cookie_Monster

With such a high premium placed on privacy in our culture, it’s no surprise that in recent years we’ve seen a trend toward increasing privacy and reducing the ability for marketers to use cookies for website visitor tracking, ad retargeting, content personalization, etc. Compounded by the highly publicized mishandling of user data in Facebook's Cambridge Analytica scandal, it’s no surprise that we're now seeing the real world impact of these privacy concerns.

A slew of new legislation such as The General Data Protection Act (GDPR) require websites that collect personal data to disclose how and why they are using the data to visitors – giving users unprecedented control over the use of their data and allowing them to opt out of all non-essential cookies (i.e. the ones marketers use). This has resulted in the rise of people opting out of cookie use, which has caused a dramatic decrease in the amount of information available through cookies in general. While there is still no law that applies globally, legislation like GDPR shows a growing trend moving away from a marketer’s ability to track and retarget website visitors using cookies.

Google, Apple, Everyone is Done With Cookies.

Recent announcements by the two biggest web browser providers, Chrome and Safari, favor much stricter limitations and even block cookies altogether.

Since 2017, Apple has released a series of updates to its Safari browser called ITP (Intelligent Tracking Prevention) that have all been aimed at reducing the effectiveness of tracking cookies, especially by third-party resellers. The ITP 2.2 update is the next step in this effort as it will limit the use of cross-site tracking cookies down to one day.

Another bite out of the metaphorical cookie came when Google updated its Chrome browser to not only give users specific information about the data cookies are tracking, but also allow users to block third-party cookies – making it much harder for marketers to gather and utilize cookie-based user data.  

How Will This Affect Your Marketing Strategy?

Well, that depends on how you’re gathering information about your target accounts. If you’re currently using IP address intelligence or reverse IP lookup technology for your account-based marketing you are ahead of the game, nothing will change, carry on. However, if you’re currently using cookie-based tracking for content personalization, retargeting, or a myriad of other things we need to make an account-based marketing strategy possible, you might find a bumpy road ahead.

But there’s hope! If you read this article and reacted like the Cookie Monster, don’t panic just yet. Instead of looking at this in a negative light, think of it as an opportunity to improve compliance and data privacy within your organization. This doesn’t mean abandoning all website tracking and going back to the dark ages, it just means making changes in how you’re getting account data. B2B marketers can utilize IP address lookup tools to gather account-level information and even enhance your marketing strategy beyond what you were able to do with those stale cookies.

Want to learn more about how you can stay ahead of the privacy game and strengthen your digital marketing strategy? Download our GDPR guide.