A world without cookies: what will happen to the Internet when sites stop collecting our data

What are cookies and why does Google want to refuse them?

Cookies are small pieces of data that

the web server sends to the user's computerwhen you visit the site for the first time. And then the browser or site sends this fragment back to the same site on a second visit. Cookies help to quickly identify the user and collect data. Which one depends on the specific resource.

In the EU, each site is subject to GDPR requirements(data protection regulation) should ask the user whether he agrees to transfer cookies and to what extent: only necessary or all. There are no such requirements in Russia.

Cookies are convenient for the user becausesave, for example, login and password. And when reloading the page of the conditional social network, they do not require you to log into your account again. Or they keep the goods in the basket and, if the page is accidentally refreshed, they do not require them to be collected again throughout the catalog. Cookies also save user settings for the language, region, interface - for example, font size.

The other party interested in cookies isowners of the site or companies that somehow intersect with it. Thanks to the data stored in cookies, you can set up targeted effective advertising with personalized offers. Because the conditional marketer will find out where the site visitors were, what actions they performed, what their preferences are, what age, geolocation.

But it's one thing when a site collects data about itsaudience. And the other is when the company gets access to this information. These are third-party cookies that tech giants are looking to opt out of en masse. And especially from 3rd-party cookies: those that are collected by aggregators that do not have direct contact with the consumer, and then sold to interested companies.

For business, the advantage of 3rd-party cookies is that theyreceive data not on one site, but practically on the entire Internet. But users often do not know that someone has collected their personal information on various resources and sold it to someone.

Each browser has its own attitude towards cookies.

Since 2019, Mozilla has been blocking third-party cookies inFirefox, since 2020 Apple has been doing the same in the Safari browser. Since 2022, Google is also going to abandon them in the Chrome browser and in projects based on the Chromium engine (for example, Microsoft Edge). The company has been working on this idea since 2020, but in the end, the implementation was postponed until 2023. One of the reasons was the long development of alternative technologies: something that excites the entire advertising market.

Refusal of cookies - a push in favor of finding an alternative

Share of Google Chrome in the global browser marketin 2021 was above 65% - this is an absolute monopoly. Other big players like Firefox, Safari and Opera have less than 10% each. Therefore, Google's rejection of third-party cookies is literally blocking a familiar advertising tool and worsening ad personalization.

Back when Apple restricted third-party apps in Safaricookies in 2019, mobile marketing attribution dropped 8% between March and October 2019. At the same time, for example, for North America, these are critical numbers - there, every second smartphone has Safari. And analysts estimate that publishers could lose $10 billion after disabling third-party cookies by Google.

Therefore, for each ban, companies mustoffer an alternative, and not just close the active channel. Big players have long had their own tools: Apple has an email address and an account that gives access to all services on "apple" devices. The login is associated with an "identifier for advertisers" - IDFA. True, with iOS 14.5, advertisers do not have access to IDFA. A similar system from Google for Android owners is GAID (Google advertising ID). But the idea of ​​tracking a user only works within a particular ecosystem. In addition, the owner of an iOS or Android device can easily turn off the collection of most data.

Google Chrome is the most popular but not private browser

At first, Google promoted the idea of ​​FLoC (FederatedLearning of Cohorts) - cohort analysis. The system directly in the browser adds the user to different groups, based on the history of visiting sites, without transferring information to external servers. And based on this data, targeted advertising will already be built. At the same time, it is not yet clear whether FLoC complies with the requirements for personal data protection in the GDPR. Therefore, Google temporarily abandoned the development of this idea.

Now Google is focusing on the Topics API:the service will analyze the search queries of users and, on the basis of this, form the five most interesting topics for each person. The service will inform partners about one of them within a week.

How disabling cookies will affect users

Most often, users do not think aboutwhat cookies are and share their data if the publisher asks them about it. Over 90% of Russians do not read user agreements, including explanations of why a particular site collects cookies. And they don't understand the difference between required and extended data. But the consequences of completely restricting cookies will still be noticed by many.

In the field of advertising for the user, unfortunately,there will be no positive change. There will be no less advertising - business will look for new tools. In this case, the ads will be less relevant and, as a result, more annoying. For example, after visiting a sporting goods site, perhaps the first and last in many years, you will have to endlessly stumble upon banners offering to buy treadmills and skis for several days.

Despite the cancellation of cookies, publishers will continueattempts to collect user data by asking them for permission. In this situation, the willingness of the user to share data will depend on the wording. The more precisely, transparently and honestly a publisher explains why he needs specific information and how it will improve the user experience, the higher the chances of getting it. Publishers will also collect more data about user behavior on the site through 1st-party cookies.

“In a world without cookies, marketers will find it harder to work”

What will the advertising market do

In a world without cookies, marketers will have a harder timework. Every day the data will be updated, so today the user has one ID, tomorrow another. This increases the share of "direct" traffic to the site (although it may be returning users) and makes it difficult to determine the percentage of users who came from an advertising campaign. And as the target becomes less accurate, the cost of customer acquisition will increase. But this is in a world without cookies and alternatives.

Over the past year and a half, all market players have begundevelop solutions that allow you to circumvent the prohibition of third-party cookies. Operators have the ability to issue a stable ID: identification and tracking by phone number (just like Apple mail).

The problem with operators is that they only seeits subscribers, not the whole world. Beeline will have to partner with MegaFon, MTS and Tele2 to get access to all people who have a SIM card. Theoretically, this is possible - then Stable ID will be a good tool for the cookieless era. Because the operator has enough opportunities for additional communication with users: SMS mailings, targeted calls.

The Trade Desk developed the Unified ID 2 technology.0 so that publishers can work on the same chain with advertisers. This is user identification by e-mail, through which a person enters the site and receives an ID. It will be used to collect data. At the same time, users will be able to decide what information to provide sites.

But the idea has a minus - it is necessary to somehow convey tothe audience the need to use e-mail (pass authentication with it), and the same one. If this barrier can be worked out, Unified ID will tell the site that this is the same person every time a user appears on the network from different devices, which will allow collecting his data, saving, segmenting, and advertising. Now every fourth marketer is interested in such a solution.

However, the limitations of IT giants still applythird-party cookies are not 1st-party. That is, companies and sites can still collect data, if the user gives consent, and operate on it. Address communication with the client is preserved. Therefore, in 2021 it was a priority for almost 90% of marketers. In addition, advertisers and agencies are planning partnerships with banks, mobile operators, retailers: the main sources of data. Mobile operators are a priority, because a person changes a phone number less often than a conditional e-mail.

Contextual targeting is another alternative.- every second advertiser in 2021 increased the budget in this direction. The idea does not imply human identification: the focus is on the content of web pages. Artificial intelligence selects the most relevant offers for the user, based on the history of Internet surfing.

The market is adapting, new opportunities will emerge andtechnical solutions to collect advertisers' budgets. If Unified ID develops, it will be free. If identification goes through the operator, the solution will be paid. The advertiser will include additional costs in the cost of goods and services, and the final consumer will pay for the change in the market.

Read more:

Chinese AI predicts the course of hypersonic missiles. The retaliatory strike will be ahead

Evolutionists announced a breakthrough: they understood how life could have arisen on Earth

Scientists reveal what killed galaxies in the early universe