If you’ve been following cyberspace closely, you would have witnessed the #cookiepocalypse trend doing the rounds. Cookiepocalypse literally translates to the cookies fall out of flavour (read favour), whether enforced by regulations or simply obsolescence.

The truth is cookies have likely been an integral part of your company’s digital marketing success. However, internet ad trackers falling from grace among regulators on the grounds of user privacy means the #cookiepocalypse is real.

Google has announced that it will phase out third-party cookies from its flagship Chrome browser in 2023, while Safari and Firefox have already implemented control.

Many argue that the days of a treat, for publishers racking up huge ads revenues might be over.

While UK publishers estimate a 70% plunge, Facebook alone is reported to suffer a $10 billion drop in revenue this year. Meta, Snap, Twitter and Pinterest have recently revealed a combined loss of $315 billion in market value indicating that the unintended effects of this move can be rapid.

A correlation is being drawn with Apple’s decision to allow users to block advertisers from targeting or tracking through IDFA (Identifiers for Advertisers) in app level, on April last year. With the EU member states agreeing on ePrivacy regulations earlier, the freezing of internet ad trackers are expected to be rolled out to a greater extent gradually, leaving advertisers with the task of navigating through the challenges that come along. So what challenges are we looking at?

Much of digital advertising’s success can be attributed to the utility of precisely targeting consumers – a feat that has traditionally been a marketer’s dream. This means advertisements could be run with point-blank accuracy to the right audience avoiding waste coverage. So far, this has inexpensively been facilitated by cookies which enrich user profiles based on their internet habits. However, their abolishment throws some uncertainty into the delivery of targeted advertisements, possibly increasing costs as well.

The discontinuation of third-party cookies by major browsers has an implication on measuring marketing performance. Advertisers seldom just post ads and rest away. The cost-effective reputation of digital advertising comes down to the facilities of measuring returns. Cookies have been instrumental there. For example, tracking cookies have been utilized to track conversions related to pay-per-click advertising. Walking to the other side of the continuum towards the consumers, the simple function of remembering their choices goes a long way in ensuring conversions. We are talking about seamless user experience here. Cookies have been ideal for saving end-user preferences, forms data, shopping carts etc., so that advertisers could retarget relevant content in the future. It reflects the simple gestures of managing customer relationships in traditional marketing. Overall, advertisers must rethink how their audience’s optimal ads experience could be ensured with cookies out of the equation. That’s plenty of advocacies in favour of cookies. However, there is no denying that cookie-based advertising has its own kryptonite.

Ahmed Siffat Naveel Nur is the newest partner at Samale Institute. This is his first blog entry. It is a 2-part blog. Part 2 will appear next week. Check out his story at Ty for the read.

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