Starting in 2022, third-party cookies will be blocked in the Google Chrome browser due to changes in the GDPR. As a result, Google will change the way tracking works – just like Apple and Mozilla did before. Advertisers and online retailers therefore have to come up with something new to ensure a personalised approach. Find out in our reading tips of the week what alternatives there are.
Cookies: No More Munchies
Despite frequent assumptions to the contrary, cookies are nothing negative per se. They make it easier to use websites because they save information about users and thus allow the website to remember certain settings such as login information or the language preference.
However, cookies are also interesting for advertisers because they track user behaviour, including interests and time spent on the website. In fact, this is nothing new, but things are changing now.
Since the last ruling of the European Court of Justice in autumn 2019, it has been clear that cookie tracking will soon be eliminated. The Luxembourg judges have clarified that pre-set consent layers and banners are not allowed and that cookies generally require the active and voluntary consent of users. Only after this consent has been given, cookies may be used for marketing, analysis and tracking.
Cookies for the shopping cart, various language settings or login data, however, are still allowed without explicit consent. The problem is that there are other methods besides cookie tracking to collect data when users visit websites. However, the new ruling of the European Court of Justice also covers several other tracking methods, for example fingerprints, Google ID and e-tags. These are now also only allowed after obtaining explicit consent.
Cookies: What Alternatives Are There?
At the moment, almost all popular browsers have greatly restricted the use of third-party cookies for customer recognition. The consequences for advertisers are disastrous. On the one hand, this results in heavy losses in terms of targeted advertising and less efficient campaign delivery; on the other hand, it leads to less personalisation, which, in turn, reduces the conversion rate.
What next? There are several alternatives to cookies, for example login alliances based on single sign-on such as netID and Verimi. From the perspective of German online marketers and retailers, these could act as a counterbalance to digital companies like Amazon or Google. Some e-commerce companies such as Zalando, C&A and the Otto Group have already joined the netID alliance. It is important to maintain the recognisability of the customer, who has already given his consent during the login process.
The so-called »fingerprinting« is an equally interesting solution for customer recognition. It uses unique characteristics to identify the user: an individual combination of browser version, operating system, colour depth, installed plug-ins and fonts. This method may not be completely watertight, but it will probably withstand future e-privacy guidelines because the user’s identity cannot be unambiguously identified.
Another alternative to cookies are advertising IDs. Adtech companies in particular refer to them as »supercookies«. The advertising ID, which is stored on devices, works across all apps and can also be used in compliance with data protection regulations thanks to opt-in and opt-out. Moreover, it is used on mobile devices where almost every second purchase takes place.
Cookies: Game Over Already?
Well… cookies will remain very important for retailers for now. It is advisable to keep one’s options open for the time being and to keep relying on cookie-based methods – at least until the EU passes an up-to-date e-privacy directive.
So don’t worry: the cookie monster will have enough to eat, at least for the next few months.
Our 5 Reading Tips of the Week
Cookies und Tracking nach dem neuen BGH-Urteil: Was ist zu beachten? [Basic Thinking]
Web Analytics [dotSource]