As a leading provider of digital marketing solutions for the automotive industry, Cox Automotive has been closely watching and keeping our partners apprised of developments that affect their ability to reach consumers and grow their business.
For nearly two years, we have been anticipating a time when consumers’ desire for web browsing privacy – and regulators’ intention to mandate it – would come together to kill the tracking cookie as we’ve known it. With the September 2023 release of Google’s Chrome browser update, we’re seeing that moment inching closer.
Until recently, any website could add a cookie to a user’s browser and track them wherever they went online, storing the information on the site’s server. Often companies would partner to exchange this data to get more insights into a user’s behaviors and preferences. This allowed them to target their marketing more effectively to consumers who had demonstrated their interests.
With the Chrome update, Google now stores user behavior and activity data within the browser where advertisers cannot access it. The Google Chrome developers’ site says it is phasing out support for third-party cookies beginning in mid-2024.
Wondering what this could mean for your business? We addressed some focus areas and most asked questions that Cox is prioritizing to stay abreast of the cookieless future so our dealers can continue having success.
AUDIENCE SEGMENTATION AND ACTIVATION
To address ongoing cookie loss when using third-party pixels, Cox is moving to Server-Side Data connections and APIs. This will allow us to have more durable data signals while remaining privacy compliant. We will also consider Clean Room solutions to provide a secure environment to bring data from different places together for joint analysis. Adhering to privacy parameters and creating the safest place for data sharing and transfer will be extremely important.
For first-party pixels, we’ll continue using Cox Automotive Identity Graph to help us track and use specific IDs or personal consumer information. To maximize this approach, we want to help ensure your dealer websites are focused on collecting identifiable information, like consumer email addresses or logins during browsing sessions.
CAMPAIGN AND CONSUMER ANALYTICS AND TRACKING
Campaign Performance and Tracking
We expect to see fewer conversions being tracked overall. We also expect to see increases in discrepancies from our data verification partners since some data points that are monitored rely on cookies. (e.g., Our verification partner may see the user as being outside their geography when the delivery platform does not.)
Server-side will be able to handle signal resiliency issues for the platforms that have Conversions APIs available (mostly social platforms). For other platforms, curated solutions are in developed.
Consumer Journey Analytics
Some blocking solutions on browsers will strip some of our tracking mechanisms by default. This would impact some reporting elements for dealers. Since the consumer journey will rely more heavily on identifiable information collected during website visits such as email address or logins, it’s more important than ever to focus on first-party data activation. Read this Dealer.com article on how to collect, connect, and activate your first-party data as you prepare for the cookieless future.
Additionally, Chrome released an article in August 2023 about Related Website Sets. This may be a solution to customer journey breakage that relies on first-party cookies.
At Cox, we are committed to helping our dealers throughout the deprecation of third-party cookies. We will continue working on ways to ensure our dealers feel confident with this industry shift and will be there every step of the way to ensure maximum success. We will continue releasing information about the approach we are taking to tackle the future with no third-party cookies.