Businesses face disruption for marketeers as Google phase out 3rd party cookies in Chrome, according to industry leaders

Pimento is warning that businesses are largely unprepared for the demise of 3rd party cookies following the announcement by Google that they are phasing out the use of 3rd party cookies as soon as next year.

At a roundtable of experts hosted by Pimento, the UK’s largest independent marketing and communications network with over 200 agencies and consultants, Paul Coffey, Managing Director, Platforms, Partnerships & Privacy, EMEA at Google, highlighted that user's concerns have driven the decision. Google is committed to help businesses focusing on privacy preserving alternatives and strategies, using automation to define their marketing plans going forward.

Pimento has put a spotlight on the issue referencing Forester data that over 40% of businesses rely solely on 3rd party cookies for their marketing, and additionally internal Pimento data that indicates corporates largely report that they plan to do something, but that only 1 in every 20 believe that they will have alternative models in place in readiness for the change.

Joining the roundtable, CEO at Silverbullet, Ian James sees the change as a massive inflexion point, giving prepared businesses the opportunity to refocus on their marketing, but at the same time emphasises that the risk of apathy is huge. Putting the focus, in particular, on the threat to e-commerce businesses who have little 1st party consented data, and rely heavily on 3rd party data, his advice is that all businesses need to go back to old fashioned marketing. ‘Rather than just stalking people on the web, businesses now need to spend time on their content, their advertising and building their brands properly in the digital environment. They need to go back to basics,’ he says.

Agency experts, Luke Smith, CEO Croud and Rebecca Lewis-Smith, Co-Founder, Fountain Partnership, support the return to simple marketing fundamentals, looking at key measures such as customer acquisition costs and lifetime values of clients, noting that the failure to do so will leave businesses at the mercy of the ‘Walled Gardens of data owners, like Google, Facebook, Amazon and Apple, with no option but to rely on them for their marketing outreach.

They highlight the need for businesses to undertake a detailed risk & gap analysis now, understand the financial implications of doing nothing, and to start putting in place replacement plans, and not just pivot to simple email marketing, which many believe will be even less popular than requesting cookie consents. This does need investment of both time and budget, if you sit with inertia you could decrease the opportunity for growth. This has to be taken as seriously as GDPR, as it is nuanced and complicated and will impact brands.

The panel gave final thoughts on key things to do now:

- Risk analysis – look at what you have and the gap between. Set up a working group to manage this.

- Keep it simple and focus on infrastructure – get basics right and everything will flow from that.

- Get your consent of your users correct for first party data. Don’t make it a blocker to people using your website.

- Re-look at contextual as a solid foundation for scale in a post-cookie era.

Stephen Knight, CEO of Pimento, expresses three industry concerns:

1. Too many businesses are unaware of the impact of the changes on their marketing approaches

2. Most lack the resource and expertise to get a clear view of what they should be doing and what changes they need to make

3. Many are concerned about the costs of building alternative infrastructures such as CRM systems, and in obtaining 1st party consents to populate them.

Concluding, Stephen Knight added, “The demise of 3rd party cookies has the potential to result in enormous disruption for many businesses, particularly SMEs, who lack the resources and budgets of their bigger competitors. But the fact of the matter is that all businesses have no choice but to adapt if they are to remain competitive. At Pimento we stand ready to help businesses work through the analysis and set the right replacement plans in place.”

Notes to Editors

See the full webinar here - - Pimento Weekly Update: The World Without Third-Party Cookies

Pimento is the UK's Leading Independent Marketing & Communications Network. Founded in 2005, Pimento creates bespoke teams drawn from our network of over 200 of the UK's best independent agencies and consultants. Pimento is here to accelerate growth in a climate of unprecedented change, by changing the way an agency works.

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About Pimento

Pimento is the UK’s leading independent marketing & communications agency network. A fully integrated communications agency, supported by the UK’s largest community of independent agencies and consultants. As a result, we are able to tailor teams and responses to clients' specific needs. We firmly believe that flexibility can help drive your profitability.

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