You only visited their website once. But now their ads are following you around the internet like a shouty, repetitive stalker. This goes on for what seems like forever, until you finally muster up the energy to delete your stale cookies.
Thankfully, this scenario will soon be a thing of the past. Google recently announced that they’re planning to stop the use of third-party cookies within their web browser, Chrome. That means no more cookies hanging around on people’s devices for weeks on end. And no more being targeted with ads about a product or service for weeks after you decide against buying it.
Google’s shift in policy follows a similar decision from Apple, who last year restricted the length of time cookies are stored on a Safari browser. Apple’s ITP 2.2 cuts down the first-party cookie’s lifespan from seven days to just one. This means that brands’ ability to measure what people are doing when they’re interacting with ads or attributing the effects of ads resets after 24 hours.
In other words, you could interact with a brand on Monday, browse their products and then sit back and relax for a few days to think about whether you want to take the plunge and make the purchase. You then return a few days later, but the original cookie will no longer be around and you are considered a brand new visitor to the website – the dots aren’t connected between visit 1 and visit 2.
The majority of agencies and brands optimise campaigns by retargeting people based on their previous website interactions. So how will this work in the post-cookie landscape? Marketers will need to pay even closer attention to their customers – analysing their interactions rapidly and targeting them with personalised content in record time.
This could lead to AI playing an even greater role, but the diligence of your marketing team – whether they’re internal or agency-based – could be the deciding factor. One thing’s for sure: now that cookies have reached their sell-by date, customer experiences are changing for the better.
Alex Clayton, Digital Director