The Death of Third-Party Cookies- What Does this Mean for Home Builder Marketers?

Over the years, ‘cookies’ have been commonplace on the internet. A little pop-up appears on virtually every website, asking you to accept the presence of cookies as you browse through their site. We’ve all seen it a million times, and most of us almost always blindly accept. However, the way marketers use cookies will change dramatically as Google announces the phase-out of third-party cookies by 2022. Cookies have been used for years to help marketers track website visitors and gather data to accurately target ads, but user privacy has put this common practice into question.

Users are demanding greater privacy, including transparency as well as choice and control over how their data is used. It is clear that browsers and the web ecosystem as a whole are adapting to meet these increasing consumer demands. So, what does this mean for you as a home builder marketer? In this blog post, we are going to dive into third-party cookies vs. first-party cookies, what you need to know about the demise of the third-party cookie and how you can equip yourselves and your business to excel in the online space despite these policy changes. Let’s do it!

THIRD-PARTY COOKIES VS. FIRST-PARTY COOKIES

First things first, let’s break down the difference between these two types of cookies. A third-party cookie is a tracking code that is placed on a website visitor’s computer after being generated by another website other than your own. This type of cookie is used to generate data that is not solely owned by you. Hence, third-party. After this tracking code is placed, the cookie collects data as a website visitor browses your website as well as others and sends it to the third-party, oftentimes an advertiser. So, any website that has a tracking script installed related to third-party cookies, identifies the user and the information on each individual is shared from website to website.

This third-party cookie data allows you to learn about website visitor’s overall online behaviors, such as what sites they frequently visit, their recent purchases, and the interest they’ve shown in other websites. For example, Facebook uses these cookies to ensure that a user receives relevant ads, as well as providing marketers with the “lookalike audience” feature. There is no doubt that this detailed information provides a great deal of insight into your customers, as this cookie sticks with each website visitor throughout their online activities

Alternatively, a first-party cookie is a code that is generated and stored on your website visitor’s computer by default when they visit only your site. This type of cookie is often used to help you remember your password and other basic data. A first-party cookie allows you to know what a user did while on your website, see how often they visit and other analytics. One of the ways this cookie differs from a third-party cookie is that you cannot follow and track user activity when they visit other websites. First-party cookies are only associated with the domain of your website, offering more privacy for users.

The key takeaways: if you rely on robust data for online advertising, pop-up ads and pinpointed audience targeting strategies, the demise of the third-party cookie could greatly impact your marketing strategies. In other words, the time is now to investigate first-party cookie solutions.

THE CURRENT ENVIRONMENT

Although Chrome isn’t the first browser to phase out the third-party cookie, it is the biggest. In late 2019, Google Chrome made up more than 56% of the web browser market. Chrome also accounts for more than half of all global web traffic. Now that Chrome, along with Safari and Firefox won’t be supporting this type of data tracking by 2022, the demise of the third party is happening, fast. But for many, the death of the third-party cookie isn’t a total surprise. Governments around the world have been investigating and cracking down on privacy issues. That little prompt asking visitors to accept cookies that we discussed earlier- was the result of a GDPR ruling, ensuring visitors actively accept the presence of third-party cookies. Also, in June 2011, Google announced a new personalized advertising policy that prohibits employment, housing and credit advertisers from targeting based on gender, age, parental status, marital status and zip code. This is to not only protect privacy but to prevent unlawful discrimination around housing, employment and credit.

Today’s environment is shaped by privacy regulation, browser policies and the privacy concerns surrounding data collection. As consumers are becoming increasingly present online, they are also becoming more cognoscente of how their data is being used. This awareness coupled with changing browser policies - the third-party cookies will be obsolete within a few short years.

WHAT CAN MARKETERS DO?

As a home builder marketer, what can you do? Simple, it is time to embrace the first-party cookie. This means, leveraging the way you use data. There are technological solutions available that leverage first-party cookies to create alternative strategies to help marketers understand data. In addition to leveraging first-party cookies, it is clear that builders must optimize the customer journey along every touchpoint for each unique website visitor. This policy change is bringing all of us marketers back to our roots, and that means looking beyond technology. Rather than having your goal be a click from someone on a cookie list, the objective should be to inform and influence consumer behavior through a positive and productive user experience. With a dynamic combination of strategic content marketing, and optimizing available technology on the market, home builder marketers won’t even miss the third-party cookie.

With platforms like OpenHouse.ai, our tracking technologies are unique to each home builder’s domain, we use first-party cookies to generate data and help your team accumulate long-term data assets. We pride ourselves on ensuring that each home builder owns all of the data we help them collect, equipping them with all of the tools and assets they need to fuel their unique data-driven strategy. The fundamental solution to the issue of privacy is customer consent, and our system architecture was designed and built specifically to address that. With OpenHouse.ai, you’ll have access to analytics dashboards that track all of this data, providing information such as the number of sessions on a page, the number of pages people clicked on during a visit, browser types, geographical demographics and so much more. We are proud to offer a tech solution that empowers home builder marketers with data and technology that helps them put their home buyers first.

SUMMARY

Although the demise of the third-party cookie may come as a shock, home builder marketers have no reason to panic. By leveraging the first-party cookie and the data that comes along with it, builders have the opportunity to understand each website visitor, while prioritizing their privacy. The OpenHouse.ai platform makes it that much easier. We are always staying on top of privacy regulation, changing browser policies and technological changes to ensure that our customers are not affected by these types of policy changes. We are passionate about equipping builders with their own first-party data to drive strategic initiatives across their entire business.

- The OpenHouse.ai Team


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