Understanding and Adapting to Google’s Cookieless Era

In 2024, Google made a significant announcement that affects how businesses collect data and advertise online, they’re phasing out third-party cookies.

But what does that mean, and how does it impact the digital space within the leisure sector?
Let’s break it down.
  • What are third party cookies?

    Imagine cookies as tiny bits of information that track your online activities. Third-party cookies are like little spies that follow you around the internet, noting what websites you visit, what products you look at, and more. Us advertisers use this information to show audiences tailored ads in-line with their interests.

  • Why is Google getting rid of them?

    Privacy concerns! Many people feel uncomfortable knowing their every move online is being tracked. So, Google want to respect user privacy by eliminating these third-party cookies.

  • How does this affect operators?

    Without third-party cookies, advertisers like us, lose some of the tools needed to target potential customers, It’s like trying to hit a bullseye without a target! But there are plenty of ways we all can adapt to these changes.

Actions for operations

  • MORE focus on first-party data

    First party data collection is becoming more important than ever, and you can boost data by encouraging customers to sign up. Offer incentives, loyalty programs, free passes, email subscriptions, and more, to entice sign ups, this way you’ll have their information with their permission.
    You can also try streamlining sign up processes, making it easier for customers to leave details, making use of simple forms with minimal fields & offering multiple sign-up channels, online, in-person & in app.

  • Emphasise trust

    Prioritise being privacy compliant by updating policies to align with evolving privacy standards. Assuring customers that you prioritise their privacy and data security, building greater trust & loyalty.

  • Get personal

    Use customer data that you collect to create personalised experiences for your customers. Send them tailored offers, recommendations, and content that align with their interests and fitness goals, consistently keeping customers engaged.

  • Stay informed

    Keep an eye on updates from Google and other industry leaders. The digital landscape is always evolving, so staying informed will help you adapt and thrive.

Beyond Google’s recent cookie changes, we’ve already experienced a significant shift in how data is managed online, notably with Apple’s iOS 14 update in 2020. This update required apps to seek permission from users before tracking their activity across various platforms, with many users opting out of tracking. Meta (including Facebook and Instagram) in particular faced challenges in gathering detailed data on user interests and behaviours.

Consequently, digital advertising strategies have been adapting since, and advertising algorithms on platforms have been significantly improving. An example of this would be how Interest-based targeting on Facebook Ads is currently giving way to a more AI-driven approach focused on creative content and ad copy, leveraging algorithms to deliver personalised ads based on individual preferences, resulting in more engaging campaigns.

So, this isn’t unfamiliar territory for us, we’ve been proactive in implementing tools and processes to mitigate the effects.

The Google Chrome cookie phase out is an opportunity for leisure operators to fortify relationships with customers by prioritising data, personalisation, and trust. In this evolving digital landscape, we can continue to effectively engage with your audience.

Remember, we’re here to support you in navigating these changes and maximising our digital marketing efforts together!

Freddy Catchpool
Freddy Catchpool

Paid Media Specialist