Google’s Cookieless Delays, Time To Focus On Zero Party
6 July 2021
Scott Harrison

Google’s plans to phase out support for third-party cookies has been delayed until 2023; originally slated for early 2022.

It is a welcome extension to an industry-wide shift that has had brands scrambling. Despite this, none of the proposed alternatives have received unanimous endorsement by the Adtech industry.

Google themselves noted that although considerable progress has been made towards their own alternative technologies, more time is needed to get things right.

Brands need to adapt, with a focus on getting greater access to their own zero- and first-party data – data which is far more personal and direct.

Loyalty & Reward Co has seen a huge increase in brands seeking to implement a loyalty program as the primary means to collect such data and adapt to the ‘cookieless’ future.

No more cookies (almost)

To take one step back – why is there a shift from third-party to zero- and first-party data?

Brands have been relying on third-party cookies for decades as the primary method of consumer targeting and tracking, but they have always been the easy but imperfect solution.

The ‘death of cookies’ came about when Google announced it would phase out Chrome’s support – something which Apple and Firefox did a few years ago with their respective browsers.

At the end of the day, the data privacy landscape is evolving.

Increased regulatory and antitrust attention on how data is collected and used by big tech is at the heart of the change.

What role do loyalty programs play?

Giving consumers more control over their personal data is a positive move. The challenge for brands is to shift reliance from third-party data to building out zero- and first-party data.

In any case, these data sets are often far more valuable and useful as they provide a detailed view of an individual’s profile and intent. But consumers will typically only share this type of data in return for a benefit; consumers understand their data is valuable.

Brands must think more strategically about how they collect and use data. Loyalty programs can make it easier for consumers to understand how this works and offer additional value in exchange for an individual’s shared information. This value exchange is what will drive the future of data and enable the means to build more direct and personal consumer-brand relationships.

It’s already happening – B2C and B2B brands across every industry are investing in digital solutions to build towards this future.

Changes are coming, despite the respite of Google’s delays.

What remains certain is this – brands which do not adopt an alternative solution to meet future data trends will certainly suffer.

<a href="" target="_self">Scott Harrison</a>

Scott Harrison

Based in New York, Scott Harrison is a Principal Consultant at Loyalty & Reward Co, the leading loyalty consulting firm. Loyalty & Reward Co design, implement, and operate loyalty programs for global brands. Scott is a customer experience and digital marketing specialist with extensive experience in loyalty, CX, member engagement and lifecycle marketing. He has worked with world leading brands including Australian Venue Co, McDonald’s, Schneider Electric, UEFA and Visa. Scott co-created the book Loyalty Programs: The Complete Guide, the most comprehensive book on loyalty program theory and practice available. He also regularly writes and presents on loyalty, gamification and the application of Web3 on engagement.

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