Cookie Apocalypse | What Real Estate Brokerages Need to Know About Google’s 2023 Phase-Out

Marketers and and the cookie monsters have something in common – they both really like cookies!

Brands use them for years to track website visits, enhance user experience & get data that helps target ads. We also use ’em to see what people are checking out when not on our sites.

Google’s phase out of out third-party cookie on Chrome browsers by 2022 is already having a dramatic impace on the real estate industry.


What is the cookie apocalypse?

Google first announced their plan to phase out third-party tracking back in February 2020. They really got people talking about it this month when they declared the end of alternative identifiers used to trak individuals. This does away wth the old way of tracking users as they browse the web or use Google products.

“We realize this means other providers may offer a level of user identity for ad tracking across the web that we will not — like PII graphs based on people’s email addresses,” a Google post wrote. The advertising industry faces challenges in tracking users due to the cookie apocalypse.

“We don’t believe these solutions will meet rising consumer expectations for privacy, nor will they stand up to rapidly evolving regulatory restrictions, and therefore aren’t a sustainable long term investment. Instead, our web products will be powered by privacy-preserving APIs which prevent individual tracking while still delivering results for advertisers and publishers,” says Google.

Third-Party Cookie Phase-Out History in Brief

In February of last year, Google made a significant announcement through a blog post that caught the attention of many. The post revealed their plans to phase out cookies and provided a glimpse into the reasoning behind this unexpected move. It became clear that Google’s primary objective was to prioritize user privacy, a concern that has become increasingly important in today’s digital landscape. Google’s advertising platform took steps to address this by implementing new privacy policies and strategies.

Customer Data Privacy

This decision by Google to phase out cookies was seen as a necessary step towards protecting user privacy, as cookies have long been a crucial component of targeted advertising. However, they have also raised a considerable number of concerns regarding user tracking and data privacy. Google recognized the significance of addressing these concerns and made a bold move to address them head-on.

This announcement sent shockwaves throughout the advertising industry, as cookies play a vital role in digital advertising and audience targeting. Advertisers heavily rely on cookies from the device to gather user data and deliver personalized advertisements. Therefore, the phasing out of cookies by Google symbolized a major shift in the advertising landscape and sparked what has now been referred to as the”cookie apocalypse.”

The End of Tracking Cookies

The advertising industry has since been grappling with this new reality, trying to navigate through uncharted waters and find alternative solutions to effectively reach their target audience without relying on cookies. It has forced advertisers to explore innovative methods and technologies such as contextual advertising and consent-based data collection. While the initial shock and uncertainty surrounding the cookie apocalypse were significant, it has also created an opportunity for advertisers to reassess their strategies and find more privacy-conscious ways to connect with their consumers using an ad platform.

Google’s decision to phase out cookies was primarily driven by their commitment to safeguard user privacy. Although it has presented several challenges for the advertising industry, it has also opened the door for exploring new and privacy-conscious approaches to reaching and engaging with audiences. The cookie apocalypse may have caused disruption, but it has also sparked innovation, pushing advertisers to adapt and evolve in the ever-changing digital landscape. The use of device-level data has become crucial in this new era.

What happens next?

Google’s phase out and rejection of ad-tracking in the context of privacy, data, and advertising will have a huge impact. This major shift on advertising platform has generated a frenzy of discussions among business experts and publications, as it is expected to have a significant impact on how we conduct business online.

The phase out of ad-tracking by Google signifies a paradigm shift in the way online advertisements are targeted and delivered. Ad-tracking refers to the practice of collecting user data to create personalized ad experiences. However, this practice has raised concerns about invasion of privacy and misuse of personal information. As a result, Google’s decision to reject ad-tracking is seen as a positive step towards ensuring user privacy and data protection.

Consumer Data Challenges

Nevertheless, this move also poses challenges for businesses heavily reliant on targeted advertising. Ad-tracking has been a key strategy for businesses to reach their target audience effectively, improve ad conversions, and maximize return on investment. With its phase out, businesses will need to explore alternative methods for targeting ads and measuring their advertising success using an advertising platform.

Experts predict that this change will prompt businesses to focus more on first-party data, which includes information directly collected from their own users and customers. Implementing effective data management strategies and building stronger relationships with customers will become crucial for businesses to navigate this new landscape. Additionally, businesses may need to invest in new technologies and solutions that can provide accurate audience insights without compromising user privacy. User privacy is a top priority for businesses in the age of google chrome and the General Data Protection Regulation.

Overall, Google’s rejection of ad-tracking presents both opportunities and challenges for businesses. While it emphasizes the importance of user privacy, it necessitates a shift in advertising strategies and requires businesses to adapt and innovate. Ultimately, this change will shape the future of online advertising and compel businesses to find creative and privacy-respecting solutions using an ad platform to reach and engage their target audience effectively. Using a customer data platform will be crucial in ensuring effective campaign and attribution reporting, while complying with privacy policies and regulations such as the California Consumer Privacy Act.

Top Things You Should Know About Cookie Phase-Out and Privacy Pivots

1.) Not all cookies are banned.

What exactly is the difference between first-party and third-party cookies? First-party cookies are created by the website that the user is currently visiting and are used to track user engagement and preferences within that specific website. They are considered safe and will continue to provide valuable data for website owners. Third-party cookies, on the other hand, are created by an advertising platform and used to track user activity across multiple websites. They can be utilized for targeted advertising campaign s and data analysis.

On the other hand, third-party cookies are created by websites other than the one the user is visiting and are typically used for advertising and tracking across multiple sites. These cookies are the ones being phased out by Google Chrome, causing some concerns within the advertising industry.

As a result of the upcoming changes, companies in the advertising industry are now exploring alternative data strategies and workarounds to ensure they can still effectively target and reach their desired audience without relying solely on third-party cookies or a specific advertising platform.

First Party Cookie

A first-party cookie is a small piece of code that is automatically generated and stored on a website visitor’s computer when they visit a particular website. This cookie serves various purposes, primarily enhancing the user experience. It allows the website to remember important information like passwords, basic visitor data, and user preferences. The cookie is stored on the visitor’s device.

By utilizing first-party cookies, website owners can gain valuable insights into the actions and behavior of their visitors. They can track how often the visitor comes to the website, examine their activities during the visit, and obtain basic analytics. These analytics can provide marketers with useful data to develop effective marketing strategies.

However, it’s important to note that first-party cookies are limited to the behavior and activities on the specific website they are associated with. They cannot track or access data related to the visitor’s behavior on other websites that are not in any way connected with the website’s domain.

To illustrate the practical application of first-party cookies, consider the example of Amazon. When you visit Amazon’s website, it remembers your login information, language preferences, and items in your shopping cart. This smooth and personalized experience is made possible by the use of first-party cookies.

For marketers and website owners, first-party cookie data can be accessed and analyzed through analytics dashboards. These dashboards typically provide basic analytics, such as the number of web sessions, the pages visited, browser types, geographic demographics, and referral websites that directed visitors to the website’s URL. While this data is valuable, it doesn’t provide a comprehensive picture of the visitor’s online activities beyond the specific website. However, device data captured by the advertising platform can offer a more comprehensive understanding of the visitor’s online behavior.

Third-Party Cookies

Third-party cookies are tracking codes that are generated by a website other than your own and placed on a web visitor’s computer when they visit your site and others. These cookies collect information about the visitor’s online behavior and send it back to the third-party that created the cookie, typically an advertiser. This data allows advertisers to gain insights into a visitor’s interests, purchases, and websites they frequently visit, enabling them to build detailed visitor profiles. This information can then be used to create retargeting lists and send ads to past visitors or individuals with similar web profiles.

Before the cookie apocalypse, third-party cookie data allowed advertisers to deliver targeted ads based on a user’s previous browsing activity. For example, if you researched a smart TV on Amazon and later visited another website, you might see an ad for the same product. This ad would be triggered by third-party cookie data, even though you were not on an Amazon-owned site. Our company is actively exploring alternatives like a customer data platform (CDP) to track users and deliver personalized campaign s without relying on third-party cookies.

However, changes in the advertising industry are impacting the use of third-party cookies. Privacy concerns and regulations are prompting a phase-out of these cookies. Users must now be informed and give consent before accepting a third-party cookie because of the amount of data that companies can retain from them, including campaign, customer data platform, cdp, attribution reporting api, publishers, privacy policy, topics api, big tech, partner, consumer data, quantcast, identity resolution, retailer, anthony chavez, company, california consumer privacy act, track users, fledge, data strategy, ad platforms.

For websites aiming to track basic visitor behaviors, preferences, and demographics only while they are on their own site, the phase-out of third-party cookies may not have a significant impact. However, for marketers who rely on robust data for online advertising, pop-up ads, or a targeted audience strategy, it is crucial to follow the news and explore alternative first-party strategies as the cookie apocalypse nears. By staying informed and adapting to these changes, marketers can continue to deliver effective and personalized advertisements while respecting user privacy.

2. Many marketers saw the cookie phase-out coming.

Many marketers were not surprised by the impending phase-out of third-party cookies. The advertising industry has undergone significant changes due to the cookie apocalypse, which was prompted by increasing concerns over data privacy. Government investigations and regulations, such as the EU’s ruling that users must actively consent to analytics cookies, have played a major role in shaping the current landscape.

As a result of the GDPR ruling, websites can no longer rely on implicit opt-in and must obtain opt-in consent before placing any analytics or web tracking cookies. International websites, particularly those reliant on Google Analytics, experienced a sharp decline in reported numbers, exposing the vulnerability of data-driven brands to software-related issues. The cookie apocalypse has forced the advertising industry to reassess its data strategies and explore alternative approaches. Ad platform s have had to adapt their methods to comply with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

In response to these challenges, Google announced the development of a “Privacy Sandbox” in August. While details were scarce at the time of the announcement, the intention was to provide marketers with a tool that allows for targeted ads while minimizing user data sharing and protecting privacy. The proposed Privacy Sandbox would store and process user data within the browser, ensuring compliance with privacy regulations.

The Privacy Sandbox, along with the GDPR rulings, highlighted the risk of relying on third-party cookies and the need for alternative solutions. Data management firms like Permutive are already working on creating tools that prioritize first-party cookies and group visitor profiles into more anonymous segments, aligning with the direction of Google’s Privacy Sandbox. As marketers navigate this changing landscape, it’s clear that the third-party cookie is no longer the gold standard for data tracking. Campaign tracking is also evolving to adapt to these changes.

3. Marketers aren’t just concerned about data.

In the world of marketing, data plays a crucial role in understanding consumer behavior and targeting the right audience. However, recent changes in Chrome’s privacy policies regarding third-party cookies have left marketers concerned not only about the inconvenience it will cause but also about Google’s true intentions.

Although the elimination of Chrome-based third-party cookie data might disrupt some marketing strategies, Google assures that advertisers will still be able to leverage and target Google Ads using first-party cookies and Privacy Sandbox tools. Nonetheless, this move will undoubtedly affect ad software and platforms heavily reliant on third-party data, impacting their ability to generate revenue in device.

Matthew Howells-Barby, the Director of Acquisition at HubSpot, points out that while the motivation behind Google’s decision might be to enhance consumer privacy, it is equally possible that the tech giant aims to gain a further stronghold on the ad market by promoting the adoption of Chrome’s first-party cookies. This shift in advertising dollars from third-party platforms to Google’s bottom line raises valid concerns about market dominance and healthy competition.

In a joint statement, the Association of National Advertising and the American Association of Advertising Agencies criticized Google for potentially disrupting the advertising space and infrastructure of the internet without providing a viable alternative. The statement highlighted the importance of maintaining a competitive environment and urged Google to delay the third-party cookie”moratorium” until meaningful opportunities for advertisers using an advertising platform were made available, including campaign attribution reporting api, publishers, privacy policy, topics api, big tech, partner, consumer data, quantcast, identity resolution, retailer, anthony chavez, company, california consumer privacy act, track users, fledge, data strategy, and ad platforms.

The implications of the third-party cookie phase-out extend beyond inconvenience; they touch upon questions of privacy, market dominance, and technological innovation. As marketers brace themselves for this change, it remains to be seen how the industry will adapt and what alternative solutions will emerge in the future.

4. Google won’t stop tracking people entirely.

Google has made a significant announcement addressing user concerns about tracking. While the tech giant is not completely abandoning tracking, it is shifting towards a more privacy-conscious approach. Google’s latest innovation, known as FloC (Federated Learning of Cohorts), involves tracking groups of people with similar interests rather than targeting individuals. This categorization of users into cohorts based on their browsing behavior aims to provide personalized advertising while protecting user privacy.

Google has already conducted successful tests of FloC, which eliminates the need for third-party cookies and conceals individuals within larger crowds of people. To demonstrate its commitment to privacy, Google plans to release FloC-based cohorts for public testing through origin trials in the upcoming Chrome update. This will allow advertisers to experiment and adapt their strategies accordingly starting in the second quarter of this year. Additionally, Google intends to introduce user controls in April to give individuals more control over their personal data. These controls will be continuously improved based on feedback from end users and industry experts. Google Chrome is a widely used web browser.

While Google’s decision to move away from individual tracking is praiseworthy, it also highlights the growing significance of privacy concerns in the digital ecosystem. In a world where personalization and targeted advertising have become the norm, striking a delicate balance between respecting users’ privacy and delivering relevant content is crucial. With its ongoing investment in alternative tracking technologies like FloC, Google aims to navigate this intricate landscape by providing a more privacy-centric advertising approach that still caters to individuals’ interests and preferences. Additionally, Google Chrome serves as a prominent web browser for this purpose.

5. This move still opens the door for innovation in advertising

Recent developments have sparked concerns over the future of one crucial tool – the third-party cookie. However, this move by Google and other browsers towards stricter user privacy regulations may not be all doom and gloom for savvy and adaptable brands. Instead, it presents a unique opportunity for innovation in advertising.

As privacy laws continue to evolve and gain momentum, marketers should be proactive in exploring alternative advertising options in case their current strategies become obsolete. This shift encourages marketers to evaluate their heavy reliance on certain technologies and consider the potential consequences of regulation. By thinking ahead, innovative marketers can develop more creative alternatives that resonate with a wider audience, going beyond hyper-targeting and intrusive pop-ups.

Additionally, this transition also invites us to reimagine the way we leverage and utilize data. Data management platforms are now seeking to create alternative tools that enable advertisers to track and analyze data effectively without relying on third-party cookies. While different from the traditional solutions, these approaches provide marketers with opportunities to better target and understand their audiences in a non-intrusive manner.

While the demise of third-party cookies may raise concerns for some, it is essential for forward-thinking marketers to see this as a chance to embrace innovation and find new and improved ways to reach their target audience. By staying flexible and adaptable, brands can navigate the evolving advertising landscape and continue to deliver compelling messages to their customers, without sacrificing privacy. However, implementing a customer data platform (CDP) can greatly enhance campaign performance and provide valuable insights into consumer behavior.

Preparing for Google’s Third-Party Phase-Out

The truth is, the effectiveness of third-party cookies has been waning for some time now, thanks to ad-blocking measures implemented by Safari and Firefox. So, it is important to understand that this move by Google was inevitable. What marketers should do now is to stay updated on the latest developments surrounding third-party cookies and other data privacy moves that may impact their businesses. Google Chrome is a popular web browser that plays a significant role in the deprecation of third-party cookies.

Privacy Regulations Compliance

Compliance with data privacy regulations is crucial. Utilizing software such as a cookie consent manager can assist in automating the process of scanning your website, classifying your cookies, and providing your users with a cookie banner that allows them to accept, block, or customize their cookie preferences. This ensures compliance and demonstrates your commitment to data privacy. The cookie consent manager integrates seamlessly with popular web browser s like Google Chrome.

If your advertising strategies heavily rely on third-party data, it is high time to explore alternative options. Keep an eye on the news surrounding the phase-out and start evaluating software and solutions that can help you transition smoothly. One viable option is to focus on leveraging first-party data. Marketers can achieve this by implementing strategies such as setting up Enhanced Conversions for Web, which ensures measurement accuracy while prioritizing privacy protection.