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This week’s PPCChat session was focused on the recent announcement by Google to extend the support for third-party cookies until 2023. Host Julie F Bacchini sought experts’ thoughts on this development, their predictions, whether they can do anything to help with data loss and more.

Q1: What are your general thoughts on this development – the end of cookies as we know them being pushed back?

It’s great news. Audiences and conversion tracking are essential to good PPC management. @stevegibsonppc

I am happy to have some more breathing room. Honestly, after the past 18 months not having to scramble to get clients’ ducks in a row for no more cookies is quite welcome! @NeptuneMoon

More time prepare. 2023 is a whole year… could they tell us a business quarter at least. Please don’t make it Q4. @duanebrown

I think it’s delaying the inevitable. Generally businesses aren’t ready, audience builders aren’t quite ready, the general internet isn’t ready. So more time to prepare seems like a good thing. @JuliaVyse

I’m not surprised, honestly. Ironically I just did a lecture on it, and the day after, it shifted. Are they being entirely truthful about their reasons? Prolly not. @amaliaefowler

Honestly, I’m pretty jazzed about this. I might have screamed “YESS” when I heard about it. It’s going to give us more time to figure out how to adapt to all of this. The last several months have been a whirlwind so I appreciate the extra time. @ameetkhabra

I am not too surprised. It seems like they hadn’t really thought everything through. I’m curious now to see if it happens at all, so much can change in that time frame. @selley2134

No complains! More time to prepare. The reality is most of our clients are just not ready yet for this change. @Anna_Sorok

It’s in large part to Google being so vertically integrated – Apple and Mozilla don’t run their own DSPs and ad networks, so they have a lot less of a reason to keep cookies going. @ferkungamaboobo

It doesn’t surprise me, as there seems to be a lot of resistance surrounding FLoC. I rather this be well thought out with proper solutions in place & greater adoption. “More time is needed across the ecosystem to get this right” – Vinay Goel @BrettBodofsky

It’s a good thing, but ONLY as long as that time is used wisely – too many are celebrating it as a win and using it as a reason to not research and make the changes they need to. @Greg_Asquith

It’s odd – it’s one of those ideas that seems right – cookies can be intrusive, and lots of people were working on other solutions. Many of which were less controllable (FloC, digital fingerprinting). Dropping cookies might have made privacy worse IMHO. @armondhammer

From an SEM perspective? None, almost no impact for us. From a overall digital media perspective, it tells me Google found an issue in their path to screwing over other digital platforms @JonKagan

Honestly, one less thing to worry about for awhile is kind of a relief. @jord_stark

Backtracking on FLoC, for sure. @amaliaefowler

The cookie news was most welcome, but the whole FLoC seemingly falling apart is fascinating! @NeptuneMoon

I’m going to say the back tracking. I feel like the delay was more expected from them. @ameetkhabra

Definitely the FLoC change! Keywords have been shaved down pretty rapidly since the first twinge of ‘exact but not really’ so this feels like a pretty big bump in the road. @JuliaVyse

To me, they’re 2 ways of saying the same thing. @stevegibsonppc

Definitely FLoC as that’s the future (or whatever form/replacement ends up happening!) @Greg_Asquith

Kinda similar. A lot can and will change by 2023. This is the start of something and not the end. @duanebrown

Announcing cookie support until at least 2021. I did think this was going to happen sooner than later. But on the flip side it does make sense. Sentiment towards FLoC seemed too negative initially. Some browsers and platforms allowing FLoC & some not, is not ideal. @BrettBodofsky

A solution needs to happen which balances the needs of advertisers and those of consumers. FLoC was far from beloved from privacy advocates. or anti-trust watch dogs. Google going it alone was a big issue. I don’t think we’ll have that 4 letter F word in our vocab @armondhammer

Going to say the pushback to 2023, largely because I still don’t entirely understand Floc @JonKagan

I am just pleased that they are going to take the time to make sure FLoC works well, instead of just pushing it through. @jord_stark

Q3: With the “end of cookies” still somewhere on the horizon, does this change anything you’re doing now through the end of 2021? Why or why not?

It shouldn’t. While current ways of working will continue for a bit, there will be massive advantage for those who are fully (as much as possible given probable lack of info!) prepared second time round (and immediately when thinking about other browsers/mobile etc) @Greg_Asquith

Not really, but my circumstances are unique. Awareness campaigns, digital->irl, cookies? why, gross. Cut me some pie! This is the perfect time to get GREAT at alt audience strategies. @JuliaVyse

I will still push clients to build up first party data, but until I know more about what is to come I want to spend more time focusing on immediate needs than spending a ton of time preparing for the unknown. @selley2134

While the sense of significant urgency has abated, I still think it is smart to be preparing for either a world without cookies or cookies functioning differently than we are used to. Take the time now to get ready – 1st party data collection, GA4, etc. @NeptuneMoon

Not this moment as we have been testing a lot of paid social style cold prospecting on Google. We are thinking how can we help clients collect more emails and other data points to help the business grow even more @duanebrown

There were some big audience-based initiatives I was recommending to a client. Those had some with the disclaimer that, if cookies go away, they might be a short-term initiative. Now they’re definitely worth doing. @stevegibsonppc

From an SEM perspective? no. From a digital perspective, it lets me ride the gravy train a bit longer. @JonKagan

I’m really trying to convince even my B2B clients that full funnel matters. Those soft conversions to a newsletter etc, matter a lot more in a cookieless world. First Party Data FTW. And Brand rules – and I don’t mean a fancy logo. @armondhammer

Continuing to place a focus on getting GA4 implemented for all clients. “Conversion modeling will be crucial in a world without cookies” and GA4 aids in this effort. thinkwithgoogle.com/marketing-stra… @BrettBodofsky

No, I don’t think so. I want to focus on what we need to do right now versus worrying about what’s going to potentially happen in 2 years. @ameetkhabra

If you’re not investing in first-party data capture and your data infrastructure — even as a small brand — you’re doing it wrong. @DigitalSamIAm

Q4: Do you think cookies, or some type of substitute technology, can ever completely go away with the advertising systems we have now?

In the very specific, yes. All this technology is changeable and can end easily. In the general spirit of observing and targeting audiences? no. It’s just going to iterate into other methods and techniques. @JuliaVyse

3p cookies will definitely go away, but there will always be someone trying to build an alternative. In a world with a totally privacy considerate replacement can advertising function exactly as now – probably not. There will need to be trade-offs on both side. @Greg_Asquith

It could… even if it means someone has to force Google’s hands. We rent time on ad platforms. They will do what they want or are forced to do. @duanebrown

Have a hard time seeing how some type of tracking won’t remain in place? Unless the way platforms function is completely overhauled? That or they will need a major rebranding/messaging push as to why they are still good despite being essentially digital billboards? @NeptuneMoon

Why are we so invested in keeping the advertising systems we have now? @ferkungamaboobo

TV is just now moving toward some sort of addressability and its coming in fits and starts. Remarketing and the like is amazing precisely because so little else could do it before. So I think we’ll have some form of system, even if it’s done by the old school way @armondhammer

What I mean by “digital billboards” is that the targeting we are used to having may very well get reduced to the type you get when buying outdoor media (billboards) or TV or print. Loose demographics & maybe some interest stuff, but also lots who aren’t targets. @NeptuneMoon

No. I may be naive, but I think Users as well as advertisers will continue to push back. I think people want relevant advertisements & realize that they are still being tracked despite what they are being told. @selley2134

Only if you believe advertising is cyclical? and if so, I can’t wait for print’s massive comeback @JonKagan

Nope, though it’ll look quite different as platforms evolve. As long as brands are investing in advertising, there will be a demand to understand the impact of that investment. So while the mechanics (cookies, pixels, floodlights) will change, fundamentals won’t. @DigitalSamIAm

Bid levels are driven by ROAS. Take away what cookies do, and ROAS goes down. Now maybe there’s enough slack in the system that it won’t show up in bids immediately, but it’ll show up eventually. (As opportunity cost.) @stevegibsonppc

I think that whether it’s FLoC or something else, like the dinosaurs in Jurassic Park, marketers will find a way @jord_stark

Q5: When you couple this with Apple’s ATT (App Tracking Transparency) – do you think this gives Google any kind of advantage over other ad platforms?

Google’s advantage is time and experience. They invented our auction approach and have a long view of where this industry is going. They own a lot, so does Amazon, so does Apple, and big blue is basically a vacuum @JuliaVyse

It does as long as keywords targeting remains. Google has been a strong and stable ad platform over Facebook the last year. Contextual keyword targeting is their ace in the hole. @duanebrown

Nothing happens in life if Google can’t better profit from it. Prove me wrong. @JonKagan

As @ferkungamaboobo mentioned in an earlier answer, Google’s control of Chrome puts this on a whole different level. No other ad platform also controls the majority of browser usage. Perhaps you could argue Apple does with Safari? But usage is a lot lower. @NeptuneMoon

We have gotten used to data flowing freely across platforms and browsers and that time appears to be over/ending. That is really the biggest disruption, IMO. @NeptuneMoon

That’s a complicated question, because Google is a bunch of different ad businesses all rolled up into one. Some (search, YouTube) naturally confer advantages Others (display) less so @DigitalSamIAm

The fact that Google owns Chrome, YouTube and so much more definitely gives them an advantage. @ameetkhabra

Chrome is not the be all end all, it’s just a browser. Amazon owns the Amazon app, and it’s a bigger search engine for retail than G is. G+Chrome is imbalanced, but browsers are not what they used to be. @JuliaVyse

The dirty big secret of FB’s conversion model is that it really counted a lot on view-throughs. That got destroyed with ATT. Yes some VT is legit incremental, but a lot isn’t. Cynical me thinks what we’re seeing now is more of reality than it was before. @armondhammer

Apple and Safari/iOS is the closest thing, but I don’t think it’s the same at all, because even if Apple controlled 50% of the mobile ecosystem, they’d still not own even 25% of the mobile ads ecosystem. @ferkungamaboobo

Q6: Are you seeing impacts from Apple’s ATT now that it has been out there for a couple of months? If so, what are you seeing and it is more impactful on some platforms vs. others?

Mostly on Facebook. The other platforms are seeing some light instability, but the biggest impact is blue. @JuliaVyse

Facebook DTC twitter says everything you could want to know. @duanebrown

Seems to be hitting Facebook advertising the hardest. I follow a lot of Facebook ads people and DTC people here and they have been tweeting a lot about the weird things happening in their accounts. @NeptuneMoon

Snap released their update about 3 weeks ago. Seeing the same impact in their ad manager as you’d see in Facebook. No paid social ad platform is safe. You can’t hide anymore. @duanebrown

Facebook campaigns have been all over the place. A friend of mine was doing 40x on an abandoned cart remarketing list. Now, they can barely hit .5X FB Twitter has suggested to swap out creative quickly which is what we’re trying right now. @ameetkhabra

Huge impact on Facebook. We noticed that Google analytics is showing an upward trend (despite more conservative conversion volume) while Facebook conversation data continues to drop gradually. Conversion modelling is key now. @Anna_Sorok

Q7: Bigger question – can we do anything to help with data loss? Are you doing anything in your tracking to try to stop data loss now where you can? Increased UTM tagging? Changes in Google Analytics? Something else?

Good UTM tagging + solid client backend setups is the best solution I’ve found. Requires a lot of extra work on the client end though so, frankly, just doesn’t always happen @timothyjjensen

Not at the moment, but again my situation isn’t the same as others. We’re mostly all on GA4, and app tracking is soon going to be where it’s at for a lot of businesses in terms of data collection. @JuliaVyse

More and more I’m trying to make GA and/or a CRM system the system of record. I do worry that we’re missing multi-touch, but first party – ya know. @armondhammer

UTMs are useless with paid social. Might as well just not use them when 90% of your data never makes it into Google Analytics or is tagged wrong in Shopify. We still break out paid search from paid social in Google Analytics. We do as much tagging as we can. @duanebrown

Q8: What is your prediction for how this all ultimately plays out? Both for Google and with Apple’s ATT?

I think in the long run, we’re all just going to have to realize that you can’t perfectly track and attribute everything. Which, has always been the case, but it’s so much more pronounced now. And, frankly good marketing is about much more than perfect tracking @timothyjjensen

I’ve been predicting this for longer than is probably wise, but there has to be a big shift in how we think about targeting and audiences. I think we’re only now almost at that tipping point: people are looking back and seeing that targeting has always been broken @ferkungamaboobo

In 24 months, Apple will make so much money from their non-app search ads that it’ll be crazy not to run ads on them. @duanebrown

Want the really bold prediction? I think anti-trust killed floc – so it wouldn’t surprise me if G pushed off chrome to be independent and THEN implements it. As a negotiated give up to the warren’s of the world. @armondhammer

Ultimately, I think our ideas and expectations about both targeting and attribution are going to have to evolve. We have been operating on a shaky foundation anyway as far as how effective the targeting & attribution actually were/are. @NeptuneMoon

Since Nov 2016 I refuse to predict anything. But I’m thinking Apple will find their closed garden too small for comfort, and Google will continue to tout keyword data as the best reason to use their audiences rather than others.  @JuliaVyse

We’ve had a golden age of digital advertising. I recall when you could target people that had been to a chili’s on Twitter. Some of what we’re bound to lose, and have already lost is going to make our jobs harder. But it’s still a great channel @armondhammer

In the ethics chat a few weeks ago, I said that practitioners parroted ad networks’ PR without reflection – undoubtedly, we believed that audiences were inexact but accurate. I think the agita over cookies is practitioners realizing that it’s all a house of cards. @ferkungamaboobo

The smartest play for Google seems to be what they’re already doing: evolve from click-based measurement to automated regression modeling (GA4 sets the stage nicely for this). Then black box + LOLprofit. @DigitalSamIAm

I think it will all shake out that it’s going to be a lot more expensive to build awareness. More generic targeting will happen across the media. That’s going to hurt the small bootstrapped companies that just want to spend $50 a day. @armondhammer

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