Navigating the Impact of Google's Removal of Third-Party Cookies For Independent Hotel Marketers

12th Mar 24 . News, Hospitality, PPC

Beginning in 2024 and concluding at the end of the year, Google declared its

decision to cease support for third-party cookies for Chrome users.

Google has announced that starting in 2024, they will be phasing out 3rd party cookies for Chrome Users in a bid to prioritise user privacy over personalised ad tracking. This change will have a great impact on the way that marketers and advertisers collect data to display ads to the right audience, at the right time, and in the right place.

Third-party cookies are small pieces of data stored by websites on a user's browser but are set by a domain other than the one the user is currently visiting. These cookies are primarily used for tracking and collecting user behaviour across different websites, enabling advertisers and marketers to gather insights into users' preferences, interests, and online activities. The information collected by third-party cookies is often utilised for targeted advertising, retargeting campaigns, and analytics.

While the move may appear to be a step towards enhanced user privacy and compliance with government regulations, a deeper examination reveals a strategic play by Google to leverage its colossal first-party database, positioning itself alongside Facebook as the dominant platform controlling over 50% of global advertising spend.

In a cookie-less future, read on below to find out how hotels can prepare for this change with our expert help.

How the Removal of Third-Party Cookies Will Impact Google Ads

For digital marketers, this change will have an impact on the way that your paid activity is run. Visibility into user behaviour will become more limited, making it more difficult to target specific channels or ad placement.

Furthermore, gaining insights into attribution will become tricky when trying to determine the journey of a conversion and the various touch points along the way such as social media and display ads. With less data to work with, optimising campaigns based on behaviours and interests will be a challenge, which could result in decreases in conversions and CTRs.

In addition, targeting and retargeting efforts will become more difficult with limited user data to draw from and track online. This could lead to wasted ad spend if your ad isn’t displayed to the right audience. Retargeting based on web visits and product interactions will become less effective, impacting your leads and conversions.

How Independent Hotels Can Thrive in this New Landscape

The consequences of this paradigm shift extend beyond the tech giants, posing challenges for independent hotels and their digital strategy. We’ve outlined below the ways that hotels can tackle Google’s changes.

First-Party Data:

With privacy measures from Google, Firefox, and Apple, and regulatory frameworks like the EU's GDPR, hotel marketers must pivot towards establishing direct relationships with their audience, encompassing potential, past, present, and future customers through first-party data.

For major hotel chains, boasting enormous first-party data derived from loyalty memberships exceeding millions, the impact is negligible. However, the real concern lies with independent hotels, midsize establishments, and smaller hotel brands lacking well-structured, centralised first-party data and the accompanying technology to effectively manage and utilise it across various facets of their operations and marketing efforts.

To effectively manage first-party data, the answer lies in strategic investments in Customer Relationship Management (CRM) technology and guest appreciation/reward programs. A robust CRM system enables hotels to collect, store, and manage all first-party customer data, ensuring it is cleansed, de-duplicated, enriched, and appended automatically in real-time. This creates a comprehensive "single source of truth" for customer information.

The benefits of leveraging CRM data are multifaceted, extending to guest communications, services, marketing automation, and personalised campaigns throughout the customer journey, including pre-, during-, and post-stay interactions. Email marketing, loyalty initiatives, and digital marketing efforts are streamlined, enhancing customer experience, operational efficiency, and profitability.

Google Consent Mode

Consent Mode is a key solution for capturing data that aligns with policies set out by Google.  This tool serves as a bridge between user privacy and data collection, allowing businesses to inform users about data practices and secure their consent for cookies and personalised ads. In doing so, it not only ensures compliance with evolving data privacy regulations but also builds trust with users by respecting their choices.

Aside from ensuring you’re compliant, Consent Mode enables businesses to maintain valuable data collection, providing insights into user behaviour even with the limitations imposed by the removal of third-party cookies. In addition, by emphasising transparency and empowering users to choose their data-sharing preferences, Consent Mode establishes a privacy-centric approach that resonates with today's online audience.

For businesses looking to integrate Consent Mode seamlessly, Google provides detailed instructions through Google Tag Manager (GTM) or reach out to us and we’ll handle the transition for your brand.

Enhanced Conversions - Google’s New Approach:

Introducing Enhanced Conversions from Google, a groundbreaking conversion tracking feature designed to elevate your online advertising game. Although 3rd-party cookies are going, Enhanced Conversions are set to replace them.

To fully leverage this tool, there are specific requirements that ensure optimal performance, including the implementation of Google's global site tag using either Gtag.js or Google Tag Manager and utilising Google Ads as the conversion source. This feature is particularly effective for deep conversions, such as purchases, where customer data submitted on the page plays a crucial role.

By enhancing observable data and improving conversion modelling quality, advertisers adopting this tool may witness a significant boost, with a 5% improvement in conversion rates on Search and an impressive 17% on YouTube. Explore the Setup Instructions for gtag.js and Google Tag Manager, along with troubleshooting and diagnostics, to seamlessly integrate Enhanced Conversions into your advertising strategy.

How Click2Convert Can Help:

Time is running out! Ready to future-proof your hotel's digital strategy? Click2Convert is your partner in navigating the post-third-party cookie era. Contact us today for personalised solutions tailored to your hotel's unique needs.

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