Understanding Apple & Google’s Cookie Crackdown

Big changes are happening in AdTech. Over the past 20 years, advertising technology has exponentially increased in sophistication and effectiveness. This has led to incredible advances for marketers in the ways we promote goods and services. At the very core of this advancement is user data. From niche audience segmentation to personalized marketing experiences, user data has become the most valuable asset of nearly every company on the planet.

However, after a decade of data privacy scandals such as Cambridge Analytica and many others, the public has gained an increased understanding of how their data is collected, sold, and utilized—fueling public outrage and serious political pressure for change.

Faced with mounting pressure, digital giants Apple and Google have taken the opportunity to put user privacy first, limiting personal data access for marketers moving forward.

Digital ads have relied on personal data gathered by third-party cookies since the early days of the public internet in 1994. As part of their commitment to putting user privacy first, Google is progressing with plans to phase out third-party cookies on Chrome by 2022, and Apple’s 14.5 iOS update has already begun to severely limit ad targeting capabilities across their mobile devices.

Instead of automatically opting users into tracking, Apple now requires apps that want to track user data for advertising on Apple devices to prompt users to opt-in first. Marketers are worried that if users are faced with a choice on whether they consent to third-party sites tracking their data, most users won’t say yes—making it harder for ad campaigns to be effective.

What Are Cookies?

When you visit a website on your phone or computer, a small text file from the website attaches itself to your browser. That text file—called a cookie—holds data like your name, username, email address, and other personal information that can help marketers tailor future content to your preferences and interests.

Cookies are great for things like remembering products you left in a website’s checkout cart, automatically filling in forms with your contact information, and showing you ads for products you’re probably interested in. They’re convenient for customers and provide helpful insights for marketers.

Up until now, businesses have been able to easily track website visitors using cookies. The data collected improves user experience and helps target digital ads to the right users. But some people (and corporations) aren’t too happy about businesses knowing that much personal information about individual customers—hence: the cookie phase-out.

How Will This Change Impact Businesses?

Since the changes are still being rolled out, it’s difficult to see how the cookie phase-out and iOS update will impact marketing efforts long term. Many small businesses have relied heavily on third-party cookies up until now, so this change might put a wrench in some digital ads for a bit. But not forever.

Marketers are a creative bunch. Many companies are already developing and launching early stages of cookieless ad targeting solutions. Fortunately, Apple and Google have been open about the updates for a while. It’s given us and other marketers time to prepare for the iOS and Chrome updates so our clients are well prepared.

And even though this focus on user privacy changes our ad tactics a little, it’s probably a good move in the long run. User privacy is important. We don’t see the downfall of cookies as data we’re losing, but as data marketers probably shouldn’t have had access to in the first place. Like other smart agencies, we’ve diversified our marketing strategies and challenged ourselves to innovate. Organic marketing, SEO, and brand awareness campaigns are going to be much more crucial for businesses in the future—and we’re ready for it.

Dive Deeper

There’s no way we could cover everything about the updates and years-in-the-making privacy battle currently going on between tech companies and governments. So we’ve put together some resources to help you better understand the cookie crackdown a little better:

5 Reasons To Hire a Marketing Agency


The marketing world is constantly in flux. From search algorithm updates to evolving website design styles, it’s getting harder and harder for businesses to stand out to their target audience. For entrepreneurs who want to ensure their business stays relevant, visible, and successful, they need to make marketing as much of a priority as any other aspect of their company.

Your business’s marketing strategy isn’t something that should be overlooked—or worse, put in the hands of an intern. All it takes is one wrong move and your company’s brand, reputation, and entire future could be in jeopardy. Make sure your marketing strategy is always in the hands of professionals. Hiring an agency will ensure your business and brand always gets the professional attention it deserves.

The choice to hire a marketing agency will come at different times for every company, but it’s a choice you shouldn’t take lightly. Let’s take a look at some of the reasons why you should hire a digital marketing agency to take care of your business’s marketing needs.


Why Should I Hire a Digital Marketing Agency?

Hiring a digital marketing agency is a cost-effective strategy for companies looking to improve sales and grow their business. Digital marketing agencies help companies attract new customers, improve brand awareness, and generate more revenue.

      1. You’ll get access to expert knowledge:
        If you’re relying on a single in-house marketing specialist, you’re extremely limited in what strategies you can focus on. Just because someone is experienced in paid ad campaigns doesn’t mean they can also shoot a quality commercial. With a full-service agency, you have access to more services and a team of experts in their respective fields. Having a suite of creative and technical professionals at your beck and call gives you more growth opportunities than a limited in-house team ever could.


      1. You’ll save money (and still grow):
        A lot of people think only large businesses can afford to hire a marketing agency—they’re wrong. In reality, it’s often cheaper for small businesses to outsource marketing to an agency instead of hiring a full in-house team. Hiring and retaining in-house employees is expensive. Recruiting costs, benefits, sick days, payroll taxes, health insurance, and training can quickly become too expensive for small or medium size businesses to sustain. And since one person shouldn’t handle every aspect of marketing, you’d need to hire a team—increasing costs dramatically. Instead of using that money for those internal costs, agencies put it directly back into your business so you get a better ROI.


      1. You’ll get precious time back:
        If you’re a small business owner or solopreneur, you’re probably used to doing everything yourself. That DIY mentality is great when you’re getting your company off the ground—but as it grows, you’re going to have to delegate. There are simply not enough hours in a day for one person to successfully run your marketing on top of the multitude of tasks that need to be accomplished for your business to thrive. Once you outsource that work to a marketing agency, you’ll be able to use your new free time to focus on other parts of your business.


      1. You’ll get access to better tools and data:
        There are lots of free marketing tools out there, but they often don’t provide helpful data until you upgrade to a paid version. If you’re a large company with an internal team, it’s worth it to invest in those tools yourself. But for small businesses, that might not be financially possible yet. Once you start working with an agency, you get access to those pricey analytics tools and will receive more actionable insights that move your business forward.


      1. You’ll get an unbiased perspective:
        Your company is like your child—it can be hard for you to see problems since you’re so close to them. Since agencies are a step removed from your business, it’s easier for them to point out concerns without personal feelings getting in the way. An in-house marketing team is going to be nose-deep in your company 24/7. That can make it hard for internal employees to look at a marketing strategy from an unbiased perspective. An agency’s outside perspective will help you see what is—and isn’t—working in your company. They can also bring up marketing concerns that in-house employees may be nervous to express.


    What to Look for When Hiring a Marketing Agency

    Finding the right marketing agency for your company can be a daunting task. Some things to keep in mind when hunting for the right agency partnership include:

    • Your budget. Marketing costs money to do right—but it’s an essential investment in your company. When talking with different agencies, ask yourself how transparent they are about costs and billing practices before you sign any agreement.
    • Client retention rate. Client-agency contracts end for a lot of different reasons. But if during your research you see a pattern of previous clients ending contracts early, that’s a big red flag.
    • Agency expertise. Some agencies specialize in a specific industry, and others offer more general services. If you’re only looking for SEO help, don’t look at agencies whose website only shows video production services. Most agencies today are full-service, but do your research and make sure they actually provide the work you want.


    When Should I Hire An Agency?

    Taking the plunge and hiring an agency is a big step for any business. Here are a few signs it’s time to bring in the marketing experts:

    • You’re not getting sales. If you’re seeing a sales plateau, it’s probably time to get a new set of eyes on your marketing strategy. Agencies provide a fresh perspective and can give you insights on how to increase sales that internal teams may have overlooked.
    • You don’t have enough time. If you’re an entrepreneur, you’re probably doing all the marketing yourself at the beginning. But as your company grows, it can be hard to find time in your day for marketing. Agencies take that responsibility off your shoulders so you can focus on other crucial parts of your company.
    • You don’t have niche skills. There’s no way one person can be an expert in every aspect of marketing. Bringing in a team whose entire career focuses on a specific marketing discipline will ensure your business is taken care of by professionals.
    • You don’t have the budget for an in-house team. Hiring an entire internal marketing team is a big expense. Hiring a marketing agency usually ends up costing businesses considerably less than staffing an in-house team.


    The Bottom Line

    Hiring a marketing agency is one of the most responsible things you can do for your company. It shows you take your business’s future seriously and are willing to do what it takes to see it succeed. If you’d like to know more about how Epic Marketing can help your company grow, please fill out our form at the bottom of the page and we’ll get in touch with you right away.