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The Agency Chronicles

The end of cookies? Tracking Protection is coming.

As the era of cookie tracking ends, adjustments in performance measurement are evident across different marketing channels. SEO is no exception. Our digital marketing agency is actively addressing this transition. Moving toward the adoption of clean rooms such as Google Ads Data Hub (ADH) and similar platforms, our SEO team is working on integrating site analytics data into these environments.


Google has announced that on January 4th, they will take the next step on phasing out third-party cookies in Chrome. “When it comes to improving privacy on the web, the work is never finished”, Google announced on their blog. They continue; “On January 4, we'll begin testing Tracking Protection, a new feature that limits cross-site tracking by restricting website access to third-party cookies by default. We'll roll this out to 1% of Chrome users globally, a key milestone in our Privacy Sandbox initiative to phase out third-party cookies for everyone in the second half of 2024, subject to addressing any remaining competition concerns from the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority.”


For almost three decades, third-party cookies have played a pivotal role in the functioning of the web. These cookies, despite their reputation for tracking website activities, have also been utilized to enhance various online experiences, ranging from facilitating logins to displaying relevant ads. It's crucial to recognize that the upcoming retirement of third-party cookies by Google in the latter half of 2024 might present challenges, especially if your website heavily relies on them. Consider this announcement as an early alert to ensure your site is adequately prepared well before the complete phase-out.


As the era of cookie tracking ends, adjustments in performance measurement are evident across different marketing channels. SEO is no exception, having already faced challenges in this regard for several years. Notably, browsers like Firefox took a stand against third-party cookies back in 2019, followed by Safari in 2020. As the trajectory toward a cookieless future gains momentum and imposes more restrictions on digital advertising, SEO must evolve accordingly.


It's imperative to devise sophisticated methods for measuring SEO effectiveness, aligning with the contemporary approaches of other channels. Our digital marketing agency is actively addressing this transition. Moving toward the adoption of clean rooms such as Google Ads Data Hub (ADH)* and similar platforms, our SEO team is working on integrating site analytics data into these environments. This integration enables SEOs to analyze customer journeys encompassing paid media impressions, clicks, and site activities, all while identifying the source, such as organic search.


In this evolving landscape where SEO analytics data becomes part of a clean room environment, marketers gain the capability to explore attribution use cases. This includes measuring the contribution and even the incrementality of the SEO channel in conjunction with other marketing channels. As we navigate the changing dynamics of online tracking, staying at the forefront of these advancements allows us to continue delivering effective digital marketing strategies.


* Ads Data Hub is the only access point for events based on Google IDs and mobile device IDs, including user ids from publishers for measurement which enable holistic campaign measurement and analysis. The Ads Data Hub works as a layer between Campaign Manager, Display & Video 360, Search Ads 360, and other platforms to provide users with a holistic image of their marketing performance.
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