The Future of PPC in a Cookieless World

One of the biggest and most profound changes coming to Google in 2022 that will impact how we deliver PPC marketing is the removal of third-party cookie tracking. This is set to shake up paid search dramatically. 

Google plans to remove all third-party cookies by 2023, and with third party cookies having been used for the past 20 years, this leaves a lot of questions even with the original ban on third party being delayed back in June 2021.

Digital marketing without third-party cookie tracking will be a challenge for the digital advertising industry that has become very reliant on the easy and vast availability of data.

Advertising without third-party cookies sounds scary and does conjure nightmares of a “cookiepocalypse”, but there is light at the end of the tunnel, trust me.

There’s also potential opportunity for brands with ambitions to embrace greater privacy for their customers.

The Evolution of First-Party Data

As third-party cookies come to a demise in 2022, first party data will steadily start to take over.

Using first party data will enable marketers to seed data to the algorithms for platforms like Facebook and Google Ads to replace third party cookies and continue to track conversions that would of otherwise not have been tracked.

What is first party data? Well according to Google,

“First-party data is information that you collect from your customers, site visitors and app users during their interactions with your products and services. To be considered first-party data, information must be collected from your own sites, apps, physical shops or in other situations when people have directly interacted with your products and services”.

In a nutshell its data that’s been freely given during a first party interaction with a user via some sort of form completion. The big take away here is first party isn’t just data that’s been captured from one channel, its data from all of the channels, on and offline.

How We Will Use First Party Data

The most obvious usage will be for remarketing/retargeting, the first party data will replace the third party cookie tracking by uploading the first party data into Google Ads as audience.

The good news about this is as mentioned above first party data can come from all of your online and offline sources unlike third party cookie tracking that depends on online inactions only.  

How Enhanced Conversions Play a Role

Google is phasing out 3rd party cookies. This make’s tracking consumer activity across devices difficult. To improve conversion tracking, Google is shifting over to "Enhanced Conversions."

In Google’s words:

"Enhanced Conversions is a feature that can improve the accuracy of your conversion measurement. It supplements your existingconversion tags by sending hashed first-party conversion data from your website to Google in a privacy-safe way."


When customers complete a conversion on your website, you may receive first-party customer data such as an email address, name, home address, and/or phone number. This data can be captured in your conversion tracking tags, hashed, sent to Google in its hashed form, and then used to enhance your conversion measurement.

Enhanced conversions improve the accuracy of your conversion measurement and are the key to unlocking more powerful bidding strategies. They supplement your existing conversion tags by sending hashed first-party conversion data from your website to Google in a privacy-safe way. This feature uses a secure one-way hashing algorithm called SHA256 on your first-party customer data, such as email addresses, before sending it to Google. In other words, it collects customer data and then sends hashed user information to Google so that Google can match it against signed-in Google accounts.

Lost Conversions Due to Cookies not Being Accepted

If Google can’t attribute a conversion to an ad click through the website tag alone, it may be able to piece together the missing information by locating your Google account and seeing that you did click an ad for that business. From there, your conversion can be tracked and tied to a particular ad campaign, when it otherwise would not have been reported in Google Ads at all.


Essentially, Google will leverage freely given first-party data to plug gaps in conversion data via enhanced conversion tracking.

Google Analytics 4: Attribution Modelling

Google Analystics 4 is the newest version of the most common analytics tool used by the digital marketing industry. Google Analytics 4 will effectively take over from the standard Universal Analytics properties on July 1, 2023 with new data only flowing into Google Analytics 4 properties.

Google Analytics 4 has more advanced reporting and tools that will enable expanded predictive insights, cross device measurement capabilities, and better integration with Google Ads overall.

This is the future of analytics. For now, at least.

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