Why is Google phasing out third-party cookies?

Like Apple, Google has decided to phase out third-party cookie support on the Chrome browser in order to enhance user privacy and control. 

Where are third-party cookies restricted?

Starting in 2017, Apple began eliminating third-party cookies in Safari, followed by Mozilla’s Firefox in 2019. Since then, Google announced its intention to phase out support for third-party cookies in Chrome by 2023.

Does this impact all cookies?

This only impacts third-party cookies, those placed by anybody who is not the publisher of the page. Publishers will still be able to use their own first-party cookies to identify returning users and their preferences. In fact, publishers are ramping up efforts to build their first-party cookie pools and incorporate authentication into their content and services.

How is PulsePoint addressing the phasing out of third-party cookies?

Overall, the phase-out of third-party cookies has the potential to create a temporary shortfall in the scale of audience data for audience targeted campaigns. Contextual targeting, however, will remain unaffected.

To mitigate against this, PulsePoint is applying a four-pronged approach: 

  1. PulsePoint will leverage our first-party data, which includes 3.2M+ of opt-in verified healthcare professionals (HCPs), and continue to work with our valued publisher partners to incorporate their first-party data into our data stack.
    When combined with our proprietary cross-screen graph, we’ll continue to provide the performance and scale you’ve come to expect. 

  2. PulsePoint will continue to deploy our contextual and geographic targeting capabilities to reach audiences, like Health Pages, Keywords, Condition Keywords, Point of Care Locations, and Endemic filters as these solutions are not impacted by the third-party cookie phase-out.

    PulsePoint’s patented contextualization technology uses 3,500+ disease-specific contextual mappings based on the U.S. National Library of Medicine’s MeSH taxonomy to scan and read pages at an enormous scale.

  3. PulsePoint will also integrate with privacy-safe identity solution provider partners, like BritePool, Lotame, Neustar, and LiveRamp, among others  for further identification and targeting abilities; these solutions are based on individuals’ identity without revealing who they are. 

  4. PulsePoint is monitoring Google’s Federated Learning of Cohorts (FLoC) related proposals and experimenting with early versions they’ve made available to select partners. We see this as a viable approach and we are actively configuring our products to better integrate with Google after third-party cookies are eliminated.

Will I still be able to target and report at a 1:1 NPI level through PulsePoint’s HCP Direct Match?

Yes, marketers will still be able to target and report at a 1:1 NPI level through PulsePoint’s platform.

How will this impact how I measure my ad campaigns?

Measuring digital conversions and ad performance without third-party cookies will be challenging. Marketers should expect to not only see a reduction in the scale of audience data, but also an increased dependency on probabilistic modeling to help define performance.

In the meantime, the industry is actively researching new methods of digital measurement that could serve as a more real-time proxy for offline results.

What are the key implications of Apple’s move to require opt-in access to the Identifier for Advertisers (IDFA) on iOS devices?

IDFA allows advertisers to target and track users in-app on iOS devices. Apple assigns every iOS device with a unique and random identifier which they can reset anytime. This identifier is used to represent a user’s identity whenever an advertiser reaches them through an ad.

Apple now requires users to be prompted to opt-in, or not, whenever an app wants to access an iOS device’s IDFA. As marketers start to grapple with what this means for their ad attribution and performance tracking, the time for planning is now.

Looking ahead, there are key implications that marketers should be planning for, including:

  • Reduction in audience scale. There will be a significant reduction in the percentage of users who will provide consent to apps. This change will impact the available in-app inventory for audience targeted campaigns.
  • Decreased efficiency. The drop in audience size impacts the addressable audience and therefore will likely increase the in-app cost of media, particularly for high-value users.
  • Cross-app tracking is limited to those who opt-in. Apps that don’t receive a user’s consent to access their device’s IDFA will still have an identifier called an Identifier for Vendors (IDFV). This identifier is uniquely assigned to a user’s device by a developer for all apps it creates. A different IDFV will be assigned for apps that are created by different developers, and for each device independent of the developer.
If your marketing mix is largely focused on in-app advertising, PulsePoint recommends:
  • Reaching consumers (DTC) by targeting the home IP. Increase scale by targeting home Wi-Fi using PulsePoint’s Home IP targeting feature.
  • Reaching HCPs by targeting the practice IP. Scale your HCP campaigns by targeting office Wi-Fi using PulsePoint’s Practice IP targeting feature.
  • Diversifying campaign budgets. Redistribute budgets between in-app and web, or let them be fluid and prioritize in-app.
  • Leveraging contextual targeting for all DTC campaigns. Campaigns that are strictly geo-targeted will not be affected. Users have already consented to providing their location as iOS has had location consent in place for some time.