You’ve probably heard the news. Google Chrome is phasing out support for third-party cookies by 2022, and tensions are a-risin’!
On one hand, the data stored in third-party cookies can help people find the content they may be interested in (That is, if the data is used for advertisements related to the topic they’re already searching). But to do so, companies often collect data about a person without them ever knowing it.
You can easily check if a site you’re browsing is using third-party cookies and which external websites are collecting your data, but knowing exactly what data is being collected and what it’s being used for can get pretty complicated. So, Google Chrome is taking action.
With privacy laws in question, as mentioned by Contentsquare CEO Jonathan Cherki and Robin Nichols of AB Tasty in our recent article about 2020 predictions for SEO and beyond, it’s not entirely surprising that Google Chrome is moving in this direction.
The Chromium team announced that they’re working on making current web technologies more secure and private. Starting in February 2020, Chrome will limit insecure cross-site tracking by treating cookies that don’t include a SameSite label as first-party only. They’re requiring cookies labeled for third-party use to be accessed over HTTPS – giving (some) security and power back to the user.
We can understand the common frustration over the decision to phase out third-party cookies entirely, but we don’t think the impact needs to be as bad as people say – especially if you’re taking steps to plan ahead.
With Google Chrome accounting for ½ of all installed web browsers, there are a lot of companies rethinking their cookies strategy. By 2022, identifying new audiences for targeted ads will be much more difficult. While first-party cookies can retrieve data for visitors on your site, they don’t pull in data for potential visitors. With that in mind, it might make sense to look into working with brands like BounceX that help turn anonymous visitors on your site into potential leads.
But there’s also another player to call out – it’s often underutilized but it can be equally as or more profitable than other channels when implemented effectively. The answer is organic search! SEO is integral for increasing your site’s traffic, gaining the trust of new visitors, and turning them into qualified leads and customers.
Data shows that 47% of consumers block ads, and back in 2010, an Adweek study revealed that 63% of people ignore ads (the number is likely even higher today). If people are ignoring or blocking ads, and Google is phasing out third-party cookies, what channel can brands turn to in order to drive the revenue they rely on?
We may be biased, but when a channel is used 80,000 times per second, it’s hard to ignore the opportunity. We’re of course talking about search! And brands who invest in SEO can benefit from the sustained value that organic search traffic can bring.
Not only is SEO a top revenue generator (as discussed in a recent report we commissioned by Forrester Consulting), but its effects directly support all digital channels. In other words, prioritizing SEO can maximize your site’s organic revenue both directly and indirectly by promoting more clicks on your paid ads, more engagement on your social media channels, and more.
Investing in SEO now can help you maintain your current traffic while increasing your site’s ROI long-term.
On the flipside, if you build trust with your audience, you’ll be more likely to turn them into repeat visitors. In fact, we recently co-hosted a webinar on Search Engine Journal with our partners AB Tasty, where we talked about the benefits of tying together your SEO and CRO (conversion rate optimization) strategies.
When you couple these strategies, your site takes on a full-funnel, holistic approach to increasing visitors and driving conversions. If the most trusted route for visitors to find your content is through organic search, then investing in SEO will bring you the right kind of visitors to drive ROI.
But trust (and SEO) takes time. While paid search traffic stops as soon as ads are turned off, the effects of SEO are long-term. So, we encourage prioritizing organic search as early as possible to drive the biggest, long-lasting impact.
Although Director of Chrome Engineering Justin Schuh stated recently that they’re working on innovating solutions for browsers, publishers, and developers (in light of the recent announcement), we recommend making a fool-proof gameplan before the changes take place. It doesn’t hurt to ensure coming out ahead – and the earlier you invest in SEO, the more prepared your brand will be for a cookie-less world.
What are your thoughts on the recent cookies update? Have the executives at your company been discussing it or changing their tune about SEO in response? Leave us a comment below!