What’s happening to Cookies in 2024 and is it the end of Facebook Ads?

You’ve probably heard of cookies before. If not in a marketing context, then you will no doubt have accepted or rejected them on most websites you visit. A few years ago, Google announced that they would fizzle out the use of third-party cookies within Google Chrome browsers. The latest evidence suggests this is likely to be by the end of 2024, so it’s time to talk about how this is going to affect the marketing activities of you photographers.

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What are Cookies?

Cookies are used to track user behaviour. There are first and third-party cookies, both are similar but here’s the difference.

Third-party Cookies

Third-party cookies are accessible to other websites, other than the domain it was created. You’ve definitely noticed the following scenario…

You’re browsing for a product, let’s say a new camera lens. Something interrupts you so you decide to come back to it later. Suddenly you’re seeing adverts for that item on multiple different websites. That’s because third-party cookies are allowing this data to be shared on other websites.

First-party Cookies

A first-party cookie is stored by the website you visit. This collects analytical data and remembers certain preferences to help the user have a better experience.

Let’s say you’re visiting that online camera lens store again. You arrive on the website and create an account. Typically, when you create an account a first-party cookie will be stored on your device which means that when you return, you’ll be logged back in again. If you were blocking first-party cookies, then you’d have to sign in every time.

Why is Google removing third-party cookies?

The short answer is privacy. Cookies are great for user experience but there is a downside. Cookies can use the data they collect to track you across websites and devices. In this day and age, privacy and security are hot topics so online platforms such as Facebook and Google are finding ways to protect their users’ data.

How will no third-party Cookies affect Facebook Advertising?

Cookies have been a huge part of marketing for years, especially due to their ability to re-target ads to people who have viewed specific products. Being able to appear on another website is extremely powerful. But what will happen when Google no longer supports them?

Should we panic?

No! Marketing platforms will always be adapting to find ways to advertise. Google, Facebook, and all the big platforms out there make huge amounts of revenue from advertising, we’re talking billions! It wouldn’t make any sense to make this harder for advertisers. 

Apple has already made this step with Safari and we’re still capable of running ads and serving them to our target audiences.

Will this affect Facebook and Instagram Ads?

It is unlikely that Facebook and Instagram Ads (Meta Ads) will be impacted by this change. This is because we don’t need to use third-party cookies to advertise across the Meta platforms.

You will need to make sure your Facebook/Meta Pixel has First-party cookies switched on. This shares the data from your website’s first-party cookies allowing Meta to deliver relevant ads to people interested in your products or services.

Set up your Meta Pixel to use First-party Cookies.

In the image below, we show you 4 simple steps to check that your first-party cookies are switched on. Go to your Events Manager area to begin.

  1. Within Events Manager, find data sources on the left. Or the triangle icon with a dot on each point.
  2. Select your Data Source, you should have at least 1 here if you have set up a Pixel.
  3. Click Settings.
  4. Scroll down to Website Settings and check that First-party cookies are switched on. If not, click Edit and flip the switch on.

What do first-party cookies allow you to do?

By switching first-party cookies on, you’ll be able to do all the usual tracking that the Facebook Pixel is great at. A good example is knowing who has visited a specific landing page. With this data, you can re-target visitors with other ads, perhaps an even better offer to get them over the line.

Or just use lead forms!

Do you need to bother with all this? Yes if you’re producing a complex marketing strategy and you’re going to be using lots of different types of campaigns. But if you’re just getting started we’d always suggest running Lead Form campaigns.

These Ads keep everything internal to the platform and therefore you don’t even need to worry about cookies, first or third!

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