2020 was a year of change. With internet users seeking choice and control over how their personal information is used online, third-party cookies are being phased out by major search engines. Is content the new cookie in a cookieless world?
(Source: Martech Cube)
Privacy is becoming increasingly important. In 2020, we saw internet users seeking choice and control over how personal information is used online. As a result, major companies removed cookies from their platforms.
72% of users felt that their online activity was being tracked by advertisers and other technology companies, with 81% claiming that the risks outweigh the benefit of data collection.
A cookie is a small text file on your device that saves and stores data when visiting a website. There are two types of cookies – first and third-party, which both track user behaviour, but the data is collected and stored in different ways.
In general, cookies make the overall web experience easier. But there’s a significant difference between the job of first-party cookies verse third-party cookies.
First-party cookies are created by visited websites, which for example, memorise passwords and maintain web preferences.
Third-party cookies are created by non-owners of visited websites, often using user data for tracking and marketing purposes.
Google announced in 2020 that their Chrome browser would stop using third-party cookies by the end of 2022. Once the third-party cookies vanish, Google will not implement a new solution for tracking users on their browser.
(Source: BBC News)
Without third-party data, tapping into first-party data will be the way forward for SEO. Collecting first-party data comes with many challenges – including accuracy and costs, just to name a few.
The pre-cookieless world meant businesses could follow users around the web. For example, if I am looking for a pair of shoes but do not buy anything, the business can drop a cookie so that their ads appear as I continue to browse.
As privacy measures increase, the new and upcoming solution is content creation based on first-party data.
Seeing an emphasis on engaging content is predicted to become more common. The content will need to capture users’ interest at every stage of their web browsing journey. Content creation is a way to gain users’ interest but based on their permission.
Informational content is when you give people what they want, and it satisfies their informational needs. If you focus on the intent of a keyword search, this can result in higher click-through rates and conversion.
For example, if we create a post about ‘The Ultimate Guide to Learning SEO’, and 100 people complete the form and download it, yet we only get two new leads, this is informational content – it educates but does not transform.
Transactional content instead shows a business’s products or services while also representing how readers can benefit from the business.
If we instead wrote a post about how ‘We Doubled Our Client’s ROI With SEO’, it may get less traffic but gain quality leads. The intent of this post would be transactional, as it appeals to professionals seeking out SEO services.
While search engines phase out third-party cookies, following a customer across their digital experience is becoming more challenging. But with content as the new cookie, business’s can begin to understand better what users are looking for.
Using content to connect the dots of the customer’s digital journey will provide an enhanced user experience with higher-quality content, all while maximising ROI. If you continue to prioritise the user, you will continue to thrive despite the end of cookies.