For as long as the internet has become a mainstream concept, people have been aware of cookies. Whether you regularly clear them from your browser or look at a pop up that tells you about them, most people don’t really think too much about what they are. We just accept them as part and parcel of browsing the internet. Then, social media was a thing. A thing that became so popular so fast, that most people didn’t realize the flood of personal information that could be gathered, measured, sold, bought and manipulated. Naturally, this lead to governments, corporations, and hackers have been trying to find or exploit the information that is out there, causing a lot of questions about the breach of privacy. How much should people know about your information? Should they be able to gather data from you without your consent? And at what point does it cross the line? That is why we will talk about third-party cookies on Google, and what their phasing out means for medical marketing.
What does Third-Party Cookies Do?
When websites are talking about cookies, they are referring to mini programs on a website. They retrieve information about a visitor on the web and save the data for later. On their own, cookies are a useful way for a website to create shortcuts for users who want to repeatedly visit a website. First-party cookies, for instance, cuts through the frustration of users needing to reuse and re-register the same information repeatedly.
Third party cookies, however, are hosted by an advertiser’s server. The cookie records the user’s behavior based on what they look at on the internet. They create a user profile from the behavior to tailor advertisements to appeal to the user. So, if someone was looking up medical things, eventually those programs will display advertising and medical marketing for the user.
It sounds, based on that definition alone, it provides medical marketers data about what users want and shows it to them. So, why are both Google and other users happy to see them go? What does it mean for medical marketing if we can’t use those cookies to bring the right ad to the person looking for them?
Reasoning Behind Google Phasing Out Third-Party Cookies
They are Not Secure
The purpose of cookies on the web is to create a shortcut by saving information for a user on a specific website. However, it is indiscriminate about what data it collects and who can access it. If a person in medical marketing does not encrypt cookies, they have unwittingly violated HIPPA Law.
According to Digital trends, “a handful of big companies hold a vast amount of personally identifiable information about millions of people. ,”
“For example, Google’s history might tell someone if you have a medical problem, or your sexual orientation. This information is likely linked to your real name.”
Cookies are Obsolete Anyway
Most sites already detect and delete third-party cookies the minute they detect them. Cookies are as old as the fabric of the internet from the 1990s. It is no secret how they work to browsers, ad blockers, or even average computer users. Nearly 40 percent of Internet users delete cookies from their primary computers on at least a monthly basis. This has only created a host of frustrations both on the side of advertisers and websites who host them. It has also increased the use of countermeasures that violate privacy far more than third-party cookies could ever do.
Googles Reaction? Create a New System
This increased frustration of medical marketers getting blocked and the shifting landscape of how people react to a loss of privacy has given Google two choices. Either tackle the solution by creating an alternative to third-party cookies or let it escalate into something unpredictable to everyone.
Ad Age explains this in their article “According to Google, providing a solution is critical to both users and companies. Our goal for this open source initiative is to make the web more private and secure for users, while also supporting publishers,” the company says”.
So, when Google announces that they are getting rid of cookies in two years, they are putting a system in place. Also, it has little to no bearing on both organic marketing and social marketing. So, it might just mean a change in overall strategy for medical marketers.