Digital strategy, Strategic planning

Is this the way the cookies crumble?
What To Do About Google’s 2024 Third-Party Cookie Phaseout

Aaron Teskey

Vice President, Accounts

Patrick Burton

Senior Vice President, Accounts

If you’re working in the world of digital fundraising – and specifically, in digital advertising – then conversations around cookies are nothing new.

Ever since Google announced its plans to deprecate third-party cookies by the end of 2024, the subject of a potentially more challenging digital advertising ecosystem has been a big topic of discussion for mission-focused advertisers. As advertising platforms now face a world where Google goes third-party-cookie-free, nonprofit leaders might feel left with a range of unanswered questions.

  • How will Google’s cookie phaseout impact my ads program?
  • With this shift happening later this year, how will it affect my ad campaigns at Giving Tuesday and end of year?
  • What can I do now to prepare?

While third-party cookies are central to the way ads are targeted and optimized right now, rest assured that most of the work to adjust to this shift will fall on the platforms themselves to provide effective solutions. Many nonprofit fundraising programs run ads on Meta and Google, where the transition will be smoother: These platforms currently rely less on third-party cookies than others. It’s display ads that will require the most tailored strategy for your unique program – and where some preplanning should come into play.

We’re working directly with our nonprofit partners’ programs individually to prepare for these changes. Here are some key steps you can take now to be ready for Google’s third-party cookie phaseout:

For Meta Ads:

Enable your first-party cookies in Meta to make sure Facebook has enough data to deliver your ads to the best audience. When technically possible, use the Conversions API to supplement pixel conversion data and make sure your data is as accurate as possible.

For Google and Microsoft Ads:

Set up enhanced conversion tracking to securely pass form data, such as email addresses, to improve pixel tracking. As Google continues its rollout of third-party cookie deprecation, they are also actively creating new solutions for targeting through their new Privacy Sandbox.

For Display Ads:

Work directly with your vendor or internal team to make a plan! Depending on the platforms you use for your display ads, the solutions will vary. Your partners should be able to offer you the plan of action that will fit your specific needs best.

Prepare for New Benchmarks and Budget Considerations:

Any change that negatively impacts our ability to target ads across advertising platforms will inevitably lead to an increase in advertising costs – keep this in mind when setting budgets and comparing results to the historic performance your program might be used to.

Testing New Strategies and Technologies:

As we saw following Apple’s iOS 14 update in 2021, changes to the way we track and target can have a big impact on results and scale – ensuring your advertising programs are following the latest best practices has never been more important. Our award-winning tool, The Digital Co-Op, is helping hundreds of our partners achieve record-breaking list growth and maximize their media spend – you can learn more here.

While the unknown can be scary, we hope you’ll feel assured that most of the heavy lifting here will be handled by the platforms we use to run our ads – to be ready, our task is just to be sure our channels are set up to tap into these new targeting solutions when the time comes.

To learn more about our work in digital advertising and across channels, check out the full range of our integrated services. And if you’d like to talk more about your fundraising strategy in advertising or other channels, we’d love to be in touch! Share your info with us to connect with our team.

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