According to research by the World Bank in 2017, Internet penetration in Jamaica was at 55% . This number has grown over the past five years exponentially and will continue to do so. The increase in internet users has brought exciting opportunities for businesses looking to sell to the island’s population. The e-commerce sector in Jamaica has seen steady growth over the past few years. Online advertising plays a key role in e-commerce sales. However, the way online advertising works will soon fundamentally change. This is because Google has announced that they will be ending support for third-party cookies from 2022.
Currently, third-party cookies play a crucial role in remarketing and serving relevant content and ads to users. So, what does a cookie-free future mean for digital marketing services in Jamaica? Read this article to understand how a cookie-free future would impact your online business.
What are cookies?
Cookies are small text files with pieces of data. They are sent by a server to your browser when you use the internet. Your web browser stores these cookies on your computer. Cookies perform a wide variety of functions, they allow websites to ‘remember what items you placed in your shopping cart, they can be used to authenticate login status, remember user preferences, etc. Cookies can also be used to track users as they move across websites, and store a browser’s history. Hence, cookies by themselves are not bad, it’s how they are used that is a cause for debate.
Cookies can be broadly classified into two types, first-party cookies, and third-party cookies. First-party cookies are sent to your browser by the website you are on. These types of cookies are essential for a website to function properly and deliver a quality user experience. Cookies that are sent to your browser by any company, website, or entity other than the site you are on, are referred to as third-party cookies.
For instance, if you visit Amazon and look at products, Amazon may send you some cookies to keep track of which products you have already seen, which one you’ve added to your cart, etc. This way, if you leave the website and come back after a few days, Amazon will still remember what you were looking at. These are known as first-party cookies. Imagine you are on a blogging website and you see an ad for a soft drink. That soft drink company may send a cookie to your browser to keep track of the fact that you have seen their ad. That cookie can then track your behaviour across the web to see if you buy the soft drink and to identify other patterns. Based on this data, the soft drink company can retarget more relevant ads to you. This is why it can sometimes feel like ads are following you across the web.
What will be changing?
As you can see from the examples above, third-party cookies raise concerns about privacy. Many users don’t want their online behaviour to be tracked. Over the past few years, more and more browsers are choosing to end support for or restrict third-party cookies. In 2019, Mozilla blocked third-party cookies by default and Apple did the same in 2020 for the Safari browser. Google has announced that it will fully stop support for third-party cookies by 2022. In their announcement, the company also specified that they would not move to any other form of tracking individual users.
What does this mean for digital marketing?
First-party cookies will continue to be supported. This means that businesses will still be able to collect data from users who visit their own websites. You should talk to your digital marketing agency in Jamaica about contextual targeting. Advertisers will be able to target relevant audiences by placing their ads on websites and content that makes contextual sense for the product that is being sold. Federated learning will also be key to the future of digital marketing. Google has been using Federated Learning of Cohorts (FLoC) for Google Assistant. This is a privacy enhanced form of tracking. Instead of sharing user’s raw data, it groups them with other users who display similar online behaviour and assigns them a cohort ID.
To increase your chances of successfully navigating the next chapter of online advertising, you should engage the services of an experienced Jamaican digital marketing agency like Toucan Digital Media. We offer holistic digital solutions and website services to Jamaican businesses. Contact us to learn more ways of marketing and advertising your business online in Jamaica.
1. 2017, International Telecommunication Union (ITU) World Telecommunication/ICT Indicators Database “Individuals using the Internet (% of population) – Jamaica”, The World Bank, [available online] available from: https://data.worldbank.org/indicator/IT.NET.USER.ZS?locations=JM [accessed June 2021]