Cookies are everyone’s favorite. Whether you are a kid munching on them or a marketer using them to track users’ online behavior and run your ads to them, we all love cookies. But unfortunately, Google is ready to say goodbye to third-party cookies by the second half of 2024. Whether you like it or not, being a hotel marketer, you need to accept this and plan your next move accordingly.
Let’s Have a Taste of the Cookies
Cookies are a digital marketer’s best friend giving them all the details of a customer’s online journey. An internet cookie is a small text file added to your browser from the website you are visiting. These files track a user’s online journey on the web: which website you visit, time spent, ads clicked, products purchased, collecting data, and initiating targeting, retargeting and cross-site tracking.
As a user, you must have witnessed that once you search for a travel destination on your desktop, you come across related ads to that venue everywhere whichever site you are visiting. Have you ever wondered how they manage to know what you are up to? It is the cookies doing their work. Many a time when you revisit a site the browser automatically fills in your username and data without you having to do so. Again, all thanks to web cookies. Let’s see how cookies work.
First-party cookies: These are the cookies dropped on your server by the host website you visit. It allows the website to collect your data, store language settings and preferences to autofill and ease the customer journey.
Third-party cookies: These are the cookies created by domain owners apart from the website you are visiting and are explicitly used for advertising purposes. For allowing third-party cookies on a site, the owner needs to load the server’s code on their database. It is only when a user clicks on accept cookie button, a site can drop third-party cookies on your server to access your data.
Is it Really the End of Cookies?
A digital world without third-party cookies is nothing new. Firefox and Apple’s Safari have already stopped supporting cookies in 2017. Given the fact that Google Chrome – the largest web browser is used by 64% of the global web users, Google’s announcement of withdrawing third-party cookies will bring an end to the era of third-party cookies which has been ruling the digital world for 30+ years.
For hotel owners who rely a great deal on Google ads for booking, this news might come as a shock, but to your rescue, Google is only crumbling third-party cookies. First-party cookies will still be there ensuring customer privacy and giving the marketers the required data to run target-based ads.
Though Google is crumbling cookies, this is your opportunity to reshape your advertising skills and focus on direct booking building a one-on-one direct relationship with the travelers.
Grabbing More on First-party Cookies
With Google crumbling third-party cookies, it’s time to shift your focus to first-party cookies directly targeting people’s preferences. As explained above, these are cookies used on your own website and collect data directly from the user increasing the reliability of the data you use. Grabbing the user information on your website tells a great deal about users’ travel behavior: where they like going, which type of rooms they prefer staying at and how they prefer traveling. Using this you can create a segmented user persona and target your ads accordingly.
To create a perfect user persona hashed emails and first-party cookies are going to be your perfect partners in the coming days. Hashing an email is the process of converting the email address into a unique code of 32 characters that cannot be decoded to recognize the user’s identity. Together they will store a user’s traveling behavior against their specific digital identity and help the hotel owners run their ad campaigns to a more targeted segment.
We all know that advertisements are the biggest source of Google’s revenue. Speaking of online ads, the majority of advertising and marketing agencies rely on third-party cookies. So, will Google let it go easily? With a year-on-year increase in Google’s advertising revenue from 80.5% in 2020 to 81.3% in 2021 even during the pandemic and anticipating a 10% rise in 2022, there is something definitely in store for the marketers to kick the ball in the right court. Let’s wait for that.