In 2021 Google announced it would be phasing out third-party cookies in 2023. However, this has now been pushed back to 2024. But what does this phasing out matter to charities?
The phasing out of cookies could have a significant impact on charities as they are used to track how people interact with websites, which allows the charity to analyse user behaviour and target audiences more effectively. Without cookies, charities will have less data to inform their marketing and outreach strategies.
This may lead to a decrease in donations, as charities struggle to reach the right people with their message. However, it’s important to note that there are other technologies available, that can help charities track user behaviour and optimise their outreach efforts. Ultimately, the phasing out of cookies could have a negative effect on charities, but with the right strategies and tools in place, this can be prevented.
What are cookies?
As small pieces of data stored in a web browser, cookies allow websites to remember certain information about a user; such as the site visited, login information and pages the user viewed on the site.
Google uses first-party data for user preferences and authentication and third-party cookies for advertising. The first-party cookie only gets data from the site the user accessed. Whereas third-party cookies let other sites access data. This is where the issue has risen for Google with regards to user privacy, as third parties can track user behaviour with third party cookies across multiple sites.
Tracking cookies can be used to help increase donations for charities, track website usage and better understand the interests of donors; to benefit engagement and donation success. This data helps them create content and campaigns that are relevant to their target audience.
For example, charities can identify other areas of the internet where a visitor spends time, enabling the charity to the establish where they can find similar target audiences; to concentrate their fundraising efforts in those areas and engage new potential donors. With this data charities can create more targeted marketing and fundraising campaigns, leading to more donations.
Cookies also allow the charity to measure the success of their campaigns and optimise them for greater effectiveness.
So what’s the issue for charities once cookies have gone?
Charities face a variety of challenges when it comes to the removal of cookies. Most notably, they’ll no longer be able to rely on cookies to track user behaviour and use that data to inform their marketing strategies.
This will make it more difficult to target potential donors and measure the effectiveness of campaigns. Additionally, charities may struggle to gain insights into the demographics of their supporters since cookies will no longer provide such information. It will also be difficult for charities to maintain a consistent online presence as cookies will no longer be used to recognise returning website visitors.
Is there an alternative to cookies for charities?
There are several alternative tracking methods available for charities. For example, a unique ID assigned to each user that visits their website can be used to allow them to keep track of website visits and other interactions with the website. There are also analytics tools that charities can use to track website visits and interactions.
These tools use data such as IP addresses, device type, and browser type to gather information about website visitors, allowing charities to gain insights into how users are engaging with their website. Additionally, charities can use marketing automation tools to track how users respond to emails, campaigns, and other online activities.
goDonate offers an ideal solution to identify donation behaviour via its platform, providing tools such as; a unique user id to track donation success, monitoring by Google Analytics and A/B testing to gauge effectiveness of different campaigns. This in combination with platform and website integrations of other tools such as Meta (Facebook) Conversions API helps overcome some of the loss when the third-party cookies data stops.
Charities should be assessing their strategies now and consider implementing alternatives to cookies to reach their target audience, before the cookie ultimately crumbles!
Find out more about goDonate’s online donations platform here.