What does Google’s decision to phase out third-party cookies mean for your B2B business’s digital marketing? It turns out not a whole lot if you have been leveraging multiple strategies and methods to generate awareness.
But fear not. If you have been relying on the marketing shortcut of third-party cookies, there is still time to evolve your digital presence and get in front of your desired customers.
In this blog, we will break down what Google’s departure from third-party cookies means, how it impacts digital marketing in general, and how your B2B business can overcome these new challenges in stride.
Let’s hop in.
Why Is Google Phasing Out Third-Party Cookies?
Google announced In March 2021 that they would be phasing out third-party cookies and not replacing them with another tracking method. While this makes Google the last horse to cross the internet privacy line, it’s still significant.
Safari and Firefox removed third-party cookies from their browsers years ago. However, those browsers come in a distant second and third place to Chrome’s browser dominance. Chrome has over 65% of the browser usage market. Needless to say, when Google decides to do something—it has significant impacts on digital real estate.
So why did Google decide that user privacy was important?
Well, consumers chose for them. There has been a global groundswell of concerns from governments and end-users over privacy rights. Google saw the writing on the wall and worked to find new methods to manage its ad empire in more “privacy-centric” ways.
What Are Third Party Cookies?
Cookies are placed on your computer through your browser when you visit and interact with sites. They monitor your activity, manage sessions, remember your credentials, and log basic data.
First-party cookies are placed on your device by the site you are visiting and are essential to managing the modern web experiences we have come to expect. They also enable website admins to aggregate data and improve user experiences.
First-party cookies aren’t going anywhere and are a powerful tool for any digital marketing effort.
Third-party cookies perform the same functions as their first-party counterparts but continue to relay session data even after you leave a site. These intrusive cookies track you as you move across sites and provide granular detail about who you are, your viewing habits, and current interests.
Third-party cookies have essentially been used as a “cheat code” for marketers, making it easy to target and retarget ads based on your browsing history. And this has been incentivized by the ad industry.
Have you ever searched for something you were interested in buying and then noticed ads for that item everywhere you went? This is—in large part—due to a third-party cookie tracking your sessions. The ad industry then delivers up ads based on your engagements.
In our opinion, third-party cookies are a massive intrusion on your privacy and enable lazy marketing. Marketing can and should be done with the prospect’s interests in the forefront.
What Will Replace Third-Party Cookies?
Tracking end-user data is precious to digital advertisers. Where there is value, solutions are waiting to be found.
Google believes it has a workaround with its Privacy Sandbox and FLoC. But essentially, Google is looking to anonymize data through disassociation and aggregation. The result will dramatically increase individual privacy while still enabling marketers to target based on “user interests.”
Meaning a detailed profile of you will no longer exist in any particular location. However, you will be placed into several groups or “larger buckets” that marketers can use to target you with ads. This will keep your specific history and interactions anonymous but ensure you still get those ads for that new motorcycle if you’re searching your way through that “midlife crisis.”
How The Death of Third Party Cookie Affects B2B Digital Marketing?
There is a great deal of promise in these group-based approaches. They could potentially provide comparable results to third-party cookies. But those solutions have not been rolled out yet, and Google hasn’t answered how it will ensure it isn’t able to create an unfair advantage for its marketing needs.
Remember, Google is a giant advertisement agency wrapped in a browser and search engine. So for long-term viability—they will need to ensure, or at least provide the illusion, they aren’t creating a monopoly.
In short, if you rely heavily on third-party cookies to generate leads—you need a new digital marketing and content strategy. Preferably, you should find an approach that relies on actual marketing instead of digitally stalking people.
How Does Marketing For A B2B Business Adapt To Internet Privacy?
Here are some high-level suggestions to keep leads flowing as the internet embraces modern privacy.
1) Contextual Marketing
Contextual marketing relies on the tried-and-true tactics of marketing. Know your customer’s habits and interests, and then show up where they congregate.
Before digital marketing came into existence and third-party cookies made everything easier, marketers had to get inside their customers’ heads. It’s why NASCAR doesn’t have advertisements for yarn and needlepoint.
Contextual marketing works like this. As an organization—you produce and distribute content that is relevant to your customer’s needs. With contextual advertising, you then place content on digital real estate where your potential customers frequent.
Want to sell exercise equipment? Then put ads on fitness sites, write content about personal health and partner with fitness influencers.
You’re marketing a solution to a challenge, put your brand in front of people who have that challenge (rather than stalking them). Figure out who struggles with those challenges and where they spend their time. Find your audience on the social media, communities, and information hubs where they congregate.
That’s where you should share your message.
2) Search Engine Marketing (SEM)/AdWords
Search Engine Marketing (SEM) is the art of getting your content/website to show up in people’s search queries.
Organic traffic is when visitors arrive at your website by clicking a search result. Ensuring that you rank for the right keywords and high enough on the page to get noticed is a science and an art. It takes concerted effort to plan out content, tie it to specific keywords, and organize/optimize your site to rank highly in Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs).
Or you can pay for it. Google AdWords let you place your website/content on the top of the search results list (the first and last three results on a page) for a price-per-click.
Both of these strategies effectively drive targeted traffic to carefully curated content—and neither relies on third-party cookies. Additionally, because visitors were searching for a specific answer to a problem, the traffic generated by these strategies is highly engaged and full of intent.
3) Account-Based Marketing (ABM)
For B2B business, account-based marketing is a highly effective lead generation strategy. ABM is a collaboration between sales and marketing to create personalized buying experiences for specific, high-value accounts.
In the simplest terms, you should identify and target key accounts and companies.
Then, you’ll seek to target specific individuals, segments, markets, departments, and verticals that exist within that organization with marketing campaigns. As individuals interact with specific and tailored content—sales teams engage and follow up.
It’s a nuanced strategy that requires tightly synced sales and marketing teams, often around a marketing automation tool. When executed well, account-based marketing can generate actionable leads and foster valuable relationships with major players in your target industry.
Want to learn more? Check out our Account Based Marketing Trail Map
4) Inbound Marketing
Inbound marketing has proven to be one of the most cost-efficient and effective forms of digital marketing today. If you aren’t familiar with it, check out our in-depth overview in the link above.
Essentially inbound marketing provides valuable insights and answers to prospect’s questions and challenges. By offering help, people are drawn to your lead generation website to gain awareness and education about their challenges and potential solutions. While on your site, visitors are introduced to your brand and expertise and willingly convert into leads.
This process of providing value upfront draws in high-intent leads and enables you to engage them early in their buyer’s journey. Engaging clients early in their purchase decisions allows you to nurture the prospect and guide them through the buying process, a valuable advantage over any competition.
Effective inbound marketing strategies combine a deep understanding of your customers and solutions—pairing that with SEO/SEM and content marketing strategies. The result is a buyer-focused marketing experience that aligns with modern consumer behavior to generate valuable leads.
If you aren’t leveraging inbound for your B2B, you are missing out.
What’s Next WIth The Sunsetting of Third Party Cookies?
It’s time for a consumer-centric and private internet. While Google may have been slow to read the tea leaves, their adoption of a privacy-first internet means it’s time for digital marketing to evolve.
While the implications of these changes are still developing, effective means of generating awareness do already exist—and don’t require compromising privacy. These methods align with modern consumer behaviors, generate high-intent leads, and create more pleasant marketing experiences.
If you would like to understand how your B2B business can overcome the death of third-party cookies by adopting contextual marketing, SEO/SEM, ABM, and Inbound Marketing strategies—we can help.
Schedule a free consultation below, and we can help you identify a strategy to grow your business.
We promise no sales pitches—only insights and help.