Alright, that’s definitely not the way we would have liked to start the new decade.
Usually, at this time of the year, we’re still riding on joyful waves pulsing off the back of great celebrations with family and friends and none of our New Year resolutions have fallen apart (yet).
Having to digest any kind of news that falls short of being positive and encouraging should be outright forbidden before the School Holidays are done.
But, it’s all happening right now – as I type these very words.
The big players pulling the strings on this say it’s for the greater good. And, to be honest, if I zoom out of it, I believe them. I can see it’s a good thing for the general public.
However, I can’t zoom out completely and keep a mild temper.
As a digital marketer, I am utterly concerned about the future of online advertising and, consequently, of eCommerce stores.
So, without further ado, I’m going to synthesize the burning news I’ve just been served.
Be prepared, business owner, this is a tough one to swallow.
Your very last cookie
2020 will be a big year in the development of the internet towards a cookieless future.
And that will have a huge impact on digital marketers and advertisers, because the internet as we know it is built on pixels (to deliver information to a server) and cookies (to store that information in a user’s browser so the server can read it again later).
Cookies are very useful because they help us track users across sessions, attribute sales to ad clicks, retarget, build lookalike seed pools, exclude purchasers, etc.
But they’ve also transformed websites into ugly banner displays with such intrusive targeting that people feel eavesdropped.
That’s why Apple started a war to protect privacy and improve user experience by crumbling these cookies ⚔️?
How are they doing it?
Intelligent Tracking Prevention (ITP)
Intelligent Tracking Prevention (ITP) is a feature of WebKit.
That’s the engine that powers Apple’s built-in Safari browser. ITP aims to prevent users’ privacy by reducing the lifespan of tracking cookies to just 7 days.
Since ITP was first introduced other web browsers followed. Like Mozilla Firefox with their Enhanced Tracking Protection (ETP). Actually all browsers, including the market leader Chrome, are implementing features that protect privacy by limiting cookies.
Their intention is good.
It’s in the best interest of internet users.
But we’re not just internet users. We’re also savvy marketers and advertisers.
And this has a HUGE impact on digital marketing and the tools we use. Because a lot of these tools rely 100% on cookies.
A 7-day cookie lifespan causes problems for Facebook advertisers.
?Conversions are not attributed to ad clicks when these happened +7 days prior.
?Your retargeting audiences will last for maximum 7 days, then they’re gone.
?Exclusion audiences of past Purchasers will only last for 7 days, after that your ads will start showing again to people who just purchased from you.
?Your lookalike seed audiences are super small (filled with just 7 days of users), so the resulting lookalikes will be of low quality.
And these are just a few examples!
To be clear, these developments impact everyone with a website and a buyer’s journey that takes longer than 7 days.
Get the gist?
As of now, this “just” impacts the latest versions of Safari and Firefox.
Thankfully, Google Chrome hasn’t followed suit yet.
However, if I stop to think about the percentage of internet users who are navigating it on an iPhone… it sends shivers up my spine.
Have a look at your Google Analytics data, and you’ll appreciate the behemoth of a problem we’re dealing with!
Here’s the full article if you’d like to get more technical and delve into the minutiae of the danger looming.
For now, all I can say is that the team is already tirelessly studying our options moving forward.
Perhaps it’s time for you to start, too.
Happy new year!