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2024: The Need for Comprehensive Cookieless Solutions (Part 3)

Last time, I explained industry-wide cookie-less measures centered on major advertising platforms in an easy-to-understand manner. In this final installment of the series, I will introduce measures that advertisers should take individually!

1) About Analytical Tools

In Japan, many advertisers use GA4 as their analytical tool, so a common concern among them is, “I’m using GA4, but will it be okay in the cookie-less era?” First of all, please be assured that GA4 uses first-party cookies for tracking, so it is not affected by the tracking restrictions of third-party cookies in major browsers!

However, on the other hand, Apple’s Safari, which actively enhances cookie usage restrictions for personal data privacy protection, seems to have tightened regulations about a year ago by setting the expiration of first-party cookies to a maximum of 7 days. This results in significant negative impacts on the accuracy of measuring new and returning users, as users revisiting after 7 days are counted as new rather than returning. In addition, GA4 allows linkage of past clicks and conversions for up to 90 days (default 30 days), which could be problematic for high-value items that have a relatively long consideration period, making it difficult to understand changes in user attitudes. (As mentioned earlier, this also results in issues like counting the same user multiple times.) According to a study by Dentsu Digital, it was found that “47.8% of repeat visitors were mistakenly recognized as new users due to cookie resets.”

To approach these issues, there is a method called ‘server-side tracking.’ Unlike traditional client-side tracking (tracking user behavior on the browser), server-side tracking collects user behavior data on the web server. (Markopolo AI uses a similar method) The benefits include:

  • High-precision data tracking: Allows detailed tracking of all user behavior without being affected by browser restrictions.
  • Enhanced user privacy: Handles data on the server without relying on the user’s device, ensuring privacy-respected measurements.
  • Improved security: Data collection and storage on the server-side are conducted in a more secure environment.

These are some advantages. GTM (Google Tag Manager) also allows setting up server-side tracking, so it’s worth looking into that option. However, there are certainly disadvantages as well.

  • Complex setup: Compared to client-side tracking, server-side tracking setup is technically complex and requires specialized knowledge.
  • Data delays: There may be delays in data analysis because it takes time for data to be sent from the client to the server and processed.
  • Increased cost: More server resources are needed, potentially increasing the costs associated with data collection and processing.

Various analytical tools also adopt server-side tracking, so it might be worth considering options beyond GA4!

2) About Advertising Platforms

The ones most affected by the restrictions on the use of third-party cookies are the various advertising platforms that use them for targeting. It is important to understand the various alternatives available and implement the best one for your company.

1. Enhanced Conversions (Google):

  • Encrypts information provided by users (e.g., email addresses, phone numbers) and allows advertisers to upload it.
  • The advertising platform matches the encrypted data to identify conversions, avoiding the use of direct identifiers.

2. Enhanced Use of First-Party Data:

  • Utilizes data collected directly by website owners (e.g., site visitor behavior data).
  • Collects data based on user consent for advertising targeting and personalization.

3. Privacy Sandbox:

  • A new technology proposed by Google that enables personalization and measurement of ads while protecting user privacy.
  • It is currently under development and could become the standard for future advertising technology.

4. Use of New Identifiers (Meta):

  • Uses different identifiers as a new method to replace third-party cookies.
  • Aims for effective ad delivery while respecting user privacy.

It is advisable to actively gather detailed information on these measures and complete the necessary adjustments within a few months to ensure a smooth end-of-year season. I am very pleased if this blog post has been of some help to you.

Masaki “Mark” Iino
Founder & CEO