For the last few years, advertisers have been hearing about Google's apparent move away from the third-party cookie. This is a big deal, and most ad industry folks are paying close attention because of the implications it will have on their ability to target and track consumers across their online behavior. The inability to easily track consumer search and purchase data has massive revenue implications for advertisers, but it affects other businesses too. 

However, business owners generally tend to be less in-the-know about how the changes will impact their ability to advertise their products and reach new consumers. Recently, Google announced that it was going to delay the change to 2024, giving business owners and advertising leaders an opportunity to get up to speed. Here's what you should know about how this move will impact your business, and how you can prepare.

First, how did we get here?

Privacy concerns have prompted both consumers and industry gatekeepers to question our data tracking systems online. Consumers are getting more savvy about how their data is monetized, and covert data exploitation is a major consumer red flag. In fact, 80 percent of consumers say they'll willingly abandon a brand if their data is used without their knowledge. 

Meanwhile, demand for personalization is on the rise, and consumers have come to expect omnichannel solutions from businesses that make their purchases easy and save them time. Personalization and omnichannel experiences both require the use of data to execute well.

These two consumer sentiments conflict in the current digital advertising paradigm, in which private data is often exploited for gains beyond consumer benefits. Recent moves by legislative bodies and tech behemoths have attempted to reconcile these interests, and the future of digital advertising hangs in the balance. To keep your business's future bright, take informed steps to prepare for either decision.

Partner With Publishers Who Have Thought Ahead

It's worth noting that the move away from third-party cookies is likely to only increase the stronghold of advertising giants like Meta and Google and weaken access to reputable data sources for other publishers that are an important part of the advertising ecosystem. 

Fortunately, a number of publishers have gotten savvy about privacy-compliant identity solutions. Partnering with publishers that have access to this kind of data in order to programmatically advertise will likely be an important solution for business owners moving forward. Moreover, we can learn from publishers on how they are adapting to the end of the third-party cookie.

Learn About New Identity Solutions

Thanks to Google's impending move away from cookies, the digital identity industry is booming. The global market for this sector is projected to grow to $49.5 billion by 2026. Why? New identity solutions that are privacy-compliant will set the foundation for the future of digital advertising.

A few promising solutions include contextual targeting, which uses natural language processing to match content to consumers without the need for invasive privacy practices, and addressability, which aims to use fewer private data sources to identify and anonymize consumers.

Own Your Data

At the end of the day, the advertisers that own their data are going to be better poised to rise to the challenge of a new digital ad ecosystem. Now is the time to optimize your data capture, get your customers to opt-in, and come up with a marketing strategy that will continue to deliver value to your consumers. 

Moreover, honing your first part data strategy presents an opportunity for business owners who take the task seriously. Developing deeper, more transparent, and value-driven relationships with your audience and their data can take your advertising efforts to unprecedented heights.

While Google is leaning toward making a decision that will vastly change advertising and marketing, change is the only constant in this field. Businesses succeeded before third-party cookies, and many will continue to prosper without them. To stay ahead of the changes, business owners simply must stay informed and take action to prepare.