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This week’s session was focused on Google’s recent announcement to phase out third-party cookies to protect people’s privacy. Host Julie F Bacchini sought experts’ views on the preparation for the loss in tracking data due to this announcement, are they planning to have a discussion with their clients, and more.

Q1: How are you feeling about Google’s announced intentions to not develop a replacement for cookies or other identifying tracking?

I’m mostly ok with it (my feelings but I am concerned for #SMB marketers who might not qualify for customer match. I also think it’s going to be a big shift for folks to pay attention to landing page experiences and personalized creative. @navahf

I am feeling optimistic and a tad overwhelmed. Just the unknown of how the landscape will shift and then also how I am going to explain the shifts to our clients. What makes me feel better is everyone is in the same boat. @amaliaefowler

Not a lot of feelings for me. App, In-Store and other behaviours are my bread and butter. @JuliaVyse

Since these changes are still out on the horizon it feels less urgent. But things are definitely going to be different going forward. Exactly how it will change, of course remains to be seen? @NeptuneMoon

I feel like the announcement was just to garner good press. “Google cares about users privacy”. When in reality they are just trying to hold all the data themselves. I see smart display coming soon. @selley2134

As a consumer, I feel good about it. As a marketer, after taking a deep breath, I feel motivated to build impactful communities that voluntarily give you their data. @LizTweetsTech

There are lots of other much shadier ways of identifying browsers – someone used the favicon in a proof of concept. Cookies at least were relatively transparent. Now the browser itself is the tool used. @armondhammer

When Google first said that cookies would be going away I definitely assumed something else would be coming. I feel a little worried about the impact the shift will have, but at the same time I know we’ll all figure out how to deal. @AllyQuilty_MKTG

I have no idea what it really means yet. The fact that they haven’t let anything about how it impacts current features indicates it’s not yet thought out. @jstatad

This seems to give google a very strong advantage and seems EXACTLY the thing that antitrust will hate. Bing / Microsoft will have to do something similar. I get the strategy, but seems to set off different bells. @armondhammer

I’m encouraged as a consumer that they are embracing the move toward data privacy. Bc they rely so heavily on revenue performance advertising, I’m optimistic that the alternatives they create will accomplish many of the same goals in a less “creepy” or intrusive way. @akaEmmaLouise

I’m trying to put myself in @GoogleAds shoes and see what the catch is, or how they will be benefiting: – Is there fine print? – This reduces advertising efficiencies –> advertisers need to throw more money at the wall for same results = Google revenues grow? @yaelconsulting

“People shouldn’t have to accept being tracked across the web in order to get the benefits of relevant advertising” If it’s possible to continue serving targeted ads while affording them more privacy, then I’m happy as long as performance can be maintain or improved. @BrettBodofsky

Users have a feeling it’s not necessarily actual control of their data. User data is still stored it’s just local vs on a server somewhere. @runnerkik

Morally, great. As an advertiser… @JonKagan

I think overall it’s a good move for privacy in general (moving away from individual user tracking), that being said I don’t love the cohorts idea of label grouping, and I don’t think it will impact ads or user experience with personalized ads almost at all. @PPCKirk

Overall a good thing, but agreed that it’s always important to be VERY concerned about any monopoly claiming to do something for the good of the world. That said, likely a non-issue in practice. @ferkungamaboobo

Q2: In practical terms, what do you think this will mean/how will it impact PPC when it is fully implemented (knowing what we know today)?

I think it might depend on the industry. B2B will be very affected in terms of landing page views and form funnels. Ecom will get more reliant on merc centres, app actions will replace page actions. @JuliaVyse

If we focus more on collecting information voluntarily and Google’s list match requirements for accounts stay the same ($50K+ spend, etc.) it will be challenging for smaller accounts to make the most out of their 1st party data. @AllyQuilty_MKTG

Oops kinda jumped ahead. I think we will see less audience data in manual campaigns and a push to smart display without data. @selley2134

If I’m in e-commerce I don’t like it. That pair of shoes that followed me for weeks is going away. I Think B2B will be fine if emails can be used for remarketing audiences. @jstatad

I have the view that this will be like targeting personas with pretty black box data. I fear the cohorts will be either big or off target for much of the b2b work I do. @armondhammer

It means throwing out a lot of the assumptions we operate with as marketers, more reliance on back-end numbers and a ‘rising tide lifts all boats’ mentality. A shift in how we gather audience data and create community. Being more creative. @amaliaefowler

Getting people into your systems is going to be even more important – hello email sign ups? Wondering if customer match thresholds will be modified to encourage further sharing of data with G? @NeptuneMoon

We’ll finally see SEO get the investment it deserves and we’ll see more big brands (like Walmart is) building out their own media and advertising platforms. Just like streaming is splitting up as networks build their own, PPC will become more decentralized. @LizTweetsTech

We are going to have to think about buyer personas and make intelligent choices on creative (ads and landing pages). Capturing users the first time (or at least their email) will be critical. I also think we might have to test Smart campaigns again (gasp) @navahf

From what I understand about FLoCs (I think that’s the capitalization), there will still be useful behavioral data for marketers to use. I actually like the idea of cohorts to an extent, because efficiency demands segmentation vs. 1:1 marketing to large audiences. @akaEmmaLouise

I also think that we’ll need to watch placements much more. That might be the key to hitting obscure or difficult targets. I’ll be doing more programmatic as well. It’s a bit of a reset that will send us all back to marketing fundamentals. @armondhammer

My primary concern is whether the cohorts will be precise enough to be useful for non-CPG/non-mass market or SMB/niche market advertisers. Like when in-market was released (before custom intent) and it only applied to a very specific set of marketers. @akaEmmaLouise

Finally – There are lots of other ways of thinking about this. Tide advertises on a show like This Is Us because it knows lots of families with kids watch it and that’s their target. We’ve been spoiled. But it will make us less efficient. @armondhammer

It’s in line with @GoogleAds taking control away from advertisers, except this time its “not Google’s fault” I think it will bring up new opportunities for innovations / workarounds… especially by Google, if advertisers decrease their @GoogleAds budgets. @yaelconsulting

I think Programmatic Vendors are going to be boxed out. I also think that the modeling is going to be geared to Chrome users, which may become less representative as Edge becomes known as a totally fine browser and other browsers slowly gain popularity. @ferkungamaboobo

The impact will be minimal as we transition into more machine learning bidding solutions however as practitioners we won’t have as much insight other advertisers data. I can no longer day – they are bidding in this auction it must be profitable. @runnerkik

GTAg and analytics are 1st party so it doesn’t impact them. And the cohorts are basically personalized advertising anyway, so I really don’t expect much change in Google Ads advertising at all. @PPCKirk

Gut says minimal impact on SEM, but at the same point, Google has no real answers. @JonKagan

Q3: Do you think these changes or the Apple iOS changes are/will be more impactful on PPC? Why?

If you force me to pick, from the lens of the small advertiser and my own agency lens, ios14. Search campaigns is what I use primarily and not being able to attribute leads directly back is going to be a challenge (we are already seeing it). @amaliaefowler

Same impact. iOS is a big change, but there are significantly fewer devices on iOS out there. it’s just markeshare. Cookies are everywhere except apps. To me it’s a wash. @JuliaVyse

Yes. As the giants fight it out, and appear to roll with the punches, the advertisers will need to adapt and change many of their proven methodologies, to continue deliver results, without getting stepped on. @yaelconsulting

About the same, nothing earth shattering. @JonKagan

Ooooo great question. It’ll likely depend on the type of ads you run (search vs display) and on which platforms (search vs social). @LizTweetsTech

Apple. I think apple is more serious about privacy therefore more impact on us as advertisers. @selley2134

Why do I have to choose 1? They will pretty much happen at the same time & the adjustment will happen either way. @jstatad

Short term, iOS because it is upon us. Longer term, the end of Google support for cookies feels like it will be bigger. Of course, this all hinges on tech regulation and anti-trust suits too… And, if Apple launches their own search engine! @NeptuneMoon

Google isn’t blocking 1st party collection quite like apple seems to. That will harm attribution and the like, which is already getting shaky. Admittedly I’m a little less up on this part, however. @armondhammer

I think Apple is just marketing itself as the data privacy leader in order to launch its own SERP @andreacruz92

Impactful in what sense? In data sharing with advertisers? In that case, it’s probably Google’s changes. In advertising efficacy? In that case, I don’t think either one will move the needle too much. @DigitalSamIAm

From what I’m seeing the iOS changes are only for cross-app applications – most SMB people aren’t using in-app ads anyway, and those networks can be relatively shady anyway. Big impact on Social Media ads & programmatic, low on traditional display. @ferkungamaboobo

Q4: What questions do you have about how this will all work?

All of them? neither of these announcements were particularly clear, or came with much to action. I think it’s just up to us to ride this out. @JuliaVyse

Is traditional remarketing expected to change? @andreacruz92

My questions relate to this + other changes. If Google continues to take away our keywords and focus on cohorts, how long until we have very little targeting options left and are left with the unknown? Also, if GMB becomes paid then what options do SMBs have? @amaliaefowler

My biggest question is what stays and what goes away. When FB pulled stuff post Cambridge, the targeting loss was dramatic. I expect that we’ll be less effective with everyone even if they have the same options as today. But will we lose direct remarketing? @armondhammer

it’s all a question. Until Google actually puts in down in writing what it means for it’s features it’s all just PR talk meant to head off regulators looking to spank it. @jstatad

I have questions about how much we will see re: cohorts. Like we will be able to target them like audiences or will this all be inside the black box and automated? @NeptuneMoon

Will be really interested if sub domains no longer are kosher under these rules (especially important for brands that use them so #ppc doesn’t get in the way of #seo). Will be interesting to see how effectice life events and detailed demographics remain. @navahf

I’ve built entire campaigns around the idea of expanding a choose your own adventure audience from a landing page (are you a large company or small). Losing that split nukes multiple touchpoint funnel campaigns. @armondhammer

How does this impact my audience targeting. @JonKagan

How cross-device and multiple touchpoint purchases will look in the new cookieless world? @selley2134

Can @GoogleAds dumb this down for me please? “No 3rd party cookies” I think it will affect “Remarketing”. Google says “audience creation” may be possible. Examples with pictures are welcome. @yaelconsulting

Q5: Are you doing anything now to prepare for the loss in tracking data and its impacts on ad targeting?

Mostly building 1st party and sharing information about installing GA, GTM tags. In app-based campaigns, build those behaviour audiences! @JuliaVyse

Repeatedly asking them to explain the changes to me like I am a 5 year old. @JonKagan

Not doing anything different. But mentally preparing for the day when having an potential customer e-mail to work with is EVERYTHING. @jstatad

Shoring up compliance on email opt-ins as well as revisiting what conversion actions I’m tracking (and values associated). Also building in expectations that reporting must include client feedback about “real life” sales/leads. @navahf

Starting to get clients into a mindset that collecting/building their own audiences should be a priority. Also that changes to the way targeting and attribution happen are coming and that I will keep them informed as things become clear as to likely impacts.  @NeptuneMoon

I’m making stupid videos about FLoC:… @PPCKirk

Also wondering what the role of having phone numbers from Android devices might mean for remarketing. @jstatad

Letting clients know “it’s OK.” Trying to work with internal teams and clients to go to primary sources, not just Google Analytics for “truth.” @ferkungamaboobo

I’m upping my own skills further, and diversifying (I’ve already done this a lot as a strategist but the more options in my toolbox the better for my team & clients). I’m also getting my clients ready for the shift – less options, data & harder to attribute success. @amaliaefowler

Asking SMBs to place a pixel on their site is often hard enough… asking them to collect and build audiences seems far. They’re more likely to rely on that savvy entrepreneur who is already building the plug-n-play workaround solution. @yaelconsulting

I’ve been doing A LOT more managed placements and direct buys that fit audience profiles. Who cares if you can’t target audiences when you can, uh, just target audiences? @ferkungamaboobo

Q6: Is this a topic that you are discussing/planning to discuss with clients? What are you telling them? When do you plan to have this discussion, if you are?

To a certain degree. For most of my clients it actually doesn’t change much, so my goal is to keep teams informed, but not overwhelmed. @JuliaVyse

Not until I can get a better grasp on how exactly it will impact them. I’m confused & I’m reading everything I can, so don’t see that conversation going well…@selley2134

I am a huge believer that you can’t start too early in talking to clients about big changes like this. Even though the details are still light, preparing them for the general scope & type of changes that are coming is always the smart thing to do. I am starting now. @NeptuneMoon

Setting time aside to really unpack buyer personas and values associated with each. Now that we’ll be creating conversion experiences based on who we know are people are (rather than the people who happen to land on a page), buyer personas are critical. @navahf

ABSOLUTELY. I have to! Especially with the bullshit Facebook is spinning and the fact that this is news they may stumble across. That and so many of them have looked to reporting & lead gen as the be-all-end-all. I need to position us as their guide through this. @amaliaefowler

Old-timers take: Enjoy it while it lasts. Features come & go all the time on Google and you frequently have to start from zero (that’s just how it works) @jstatad

I’m also going through all integrations they have and making sure any email capture/CRO tools are compliant, and making sure #SEO and #content teams are talking to my #ppc efforts. General strategy calls are far more clutch than reporting calls. @navahf

I think you almost have to have the conversation with clients, or have a resource to share with them (doing both) that explains what’s happening, what we’re doing about it and (mostly importantly) how it could impact their business. @DigitalSamIAm

More so on the YT/GDN side, and giving them the vague google answers they give us. @JonKagan

Q7: Knowing what we know right now about how all of this might play out – is there anything about the loss of cookies and other tracking that excites you?

I don’t think the regular person will know anything about this which should ultimately be part the of the goals. @andreacruz92

Honestly, cookies sucked. They weren’t robust, they weren’t reliable and they were being asked/used to do too much. Moving beyond them is a good step, because it unlocks so many other options. FLoCs are nifty. Pushing advertisers to build owned audiences is essential. @DigitalSamIAm

This is one of those events in digital marketing that will force us to be uncomfortable for a while, and that means new and clever voices can emerge to empower us to profit and victory. @navahf

Fewer conspiracy theory rants for a hot second. @JonKagan

And if you look at each of these org’s acquisition history, you’ll see each has been preparing for this moment for years, if not decades (Google). Yes, things will look different, but will the fundamental functions be inferior? No. Likely, they’ll be better. @DigitalSamIAm

YES! the age-old garbage retargeting ‘if someone got here (any-old-how) then they want my product’ equivalency is going away. Without the magical-thinking around cookies, we’ll need to make messages & products good, clear and usable. huzzah! @JuliaVyse

I think I am excited to have to rethink things? I am happy if clients will start thinking differently about directly getting people in their funnels rather than just retargeting via audiences and ads too. @NeptuneMoon

It’s going to be a challenge, which can be exciting and I hope it will result in some great opportunities to improve campaigns and strategies overall! @AllyQuilty_MKTG

I am beyond excited for the renewed focus on creative! This is a great time for “wild and crazy idea” marketing. I also think this will be a great time for up and coming marketers who might otherwise be “forced” to follow their boss’s strategies. @navahf

Honestly, I kind of look at cookies as the gateway for a lot of publisher fraud. Bots can get cookied too & can even fill out forms (auto-bidding chases after that kind of stuff) @jstatad

Let’s also not pretend that any of these companies (G, FB, Amazon, Apple) was going to do *anything* if it materially jeopardized the viability of their golden goose (digital advertising $). We’ve been having this convo for years about alternatives to cookies. @DigitalSamIAm

I didn’t get into this industry because it was stagnant and I wanted to be bored – I am always excited by the prospect of problem solving, being more creative and collaborative, and establishing best practices for my clients. @amaliaefowler

Clients may be more willing to be creative with targeting & tracking. Right now they don’t want to put in extra work cause it works good enough. @selley2134

There will be some companies that simply refuse to adapt to this change (focusing on owned audiences, creating brilliant content, understanding their audience + influence, etc.), and they’ll die. So what? Good riddance. But there will be many more that thrive. @DigitalSamIAm

I kind of love the idea that advertisers are now thinking about the “how” of targeting. I do think we’ll find that we currently have huge amounts of hidden waste in traditional audience targeting. Being able to test that because of trust erosion might be good. @ferkungamaboobo

I’m all for first party audiences. Aside from justifying them on ad-spend savings, the deep insights you get from seeing their responses to your messages is reason enough to build the audience. @heyglenns

I think it will highlight the need for experienced PPC managers even more. @LizTweetsTech

Q8: Knowing what we know right now about how all of this might play out – is there anything about the loss of cookies and other tracking that worries or concerns you?

Loss of clients because they attribute the shift to an *us* thing and not an *industry* thing. There are always some. @amaliaefowler

Not really. I do see more and more of a fit between Co’s like mine with proprietary research tools feeling like a safer fit than those reliant on FLoCs. More consolidation due to covid + this could be a trend this year and next. @JuliaVyse

The Christmas shopping season could look massively different going forward. Wondering where the dollars are going to shift? @jstatad

Only for the bigger players who track folks across multiple domains. Bye, vanity domains. I also wonder if we’ll start seeing more creative restrictions on the Google side that Facebook advertisers have already been contending with re: personalization. @navahf

Forced acceptance of automation is a concern for me as this all rolls out. Still unclear about how retargeting will be impacted. I really like using one channel to capture and another to retarget (hello LI to FB!). @NeptuneMoon

Tinfoil hat for one moment, but what if they start the browser blocking ALL cookies. If they do that, in essence, they own one of the very few possible targeting solutions. @armondhammer

Continued. What’s the YoY going to look like for the first Q4 for Google without a huge increase? (it could happen) Wall Street’s going to freak! @jstatad

SMBs will hurt most “Adapt or die” – NOT relevant to SMBs who don’t have resources to do so Same SMBs invest 50%+ of budget on irrelevant queries triggered by Broad kW, Searchers in India “interested in US” & smart campaigns Sophistication has barriers and SMB pay. @yaelconsulting

I just worry that we’ll get even more prompts within the system (especially Google Ads) to just “increase budget” to make our ads perform better. For SMBs that can’t be the answer every time. @LizTweetsTech

Q9: What would you want those working on these initiatives to know from the advertiser’s perspective?

Like any good relationship in life, communication is key. Ask for my point of view, give me clear information about what to expect and how to react, and then listen to my response. A marketer can dream. @amaliaefowler

Provide more educational materials before rolling things out. Being fully prepared will be key. @TheMarketingAnu

Be Clear. Be specific. That announcement was, I believe, confusing and vague on purpose so they get the headline but don’t have to say the actual impacts. @selley2134

Keep user experience (both for users, brands, and marketers) front and center. So long as there is clear documentation on what you want us to do and why we’re happy to play in a new world that helps our prospects. @navahf

Please, please provide very clear documentation about EXACTLY what is changing and everything those changes impact, specifically. Also, share this information with enough time for advertisers to modify their strategies in a careful and thoughtful way. @NeptuneMoon

I feel like a broken record here, but we want to help. Our incentives are aligned Find ways for us to feedback into the model, beyond just “did it convert” because those get faked on lead gen. Less hiding the data, more feedback loops. @armondhammer

That different industries need….DIFFERENT options. When sweeping changes like this are made, the entire ecosystem is affected in various ways. I often point out how a change will affect a particular vertical & G/FB reply ‘oh. yeah. not sure.’ @JuliaVyse

I think I’m echoing others in this chat, but we need more guidance and clear answers on what exactly will be impacted. @AllyQuilty_MKTG

This is the time to be more hands-on with advertisers and make it less difficult to get one-on-one help via phone or chat! @LizTweetsTech

Transparency + clarity are key – if you’re going to make wholesale changes to how an entire ecosystem (and a large sector of the economy) works, it’s incumbent on you to be clear and specific with changes. (1/3) @DigitalSamIAm

Resist the urge to black-box everything — while it’s simple in the short-term, it opens up a host of problems in the longer-term. Lots of verticals have different needs + use cases. @DigitalSamIAm

Accept that you’re probably going to screw parts of this up, and have the resources + support in place to address failures before they grow. Provide better support + assistance to all parties, including advertisers. @DigitalSamIAm

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