If you’re plugged into the marketing world, you might have heard Google’s going to start blocking 3rd party cookies.

And, unsurprisingly, some people are freaking out. Here’s my favourite tweet:

“That sound you hear is Google Execs crowing with delight that they can kill retargeting companies under the guise of privacy, and thus move everyone solely to Google for remarketing.”

Am I freaking out?

Not so much.

Here’s why:

#1: I’m old

Being old sucks, but there is one upside: You’ve seen so many panics before – panics over what turned out to be nothing – that it takes a lot to panic you.

So history tells me this is unlikely to be as big as people think.

#2: Money solves a lot of problems

If this happens they way people predict, then it’s going to screw ad targeting for a lot of big ad networks. And screw them in a big way. Those companies have the money and motivation to solve those problems.

#3: Google’s not stupid

Google’s a lot of things. They’re…. how do I put it?… morally shady. But they’re not stupid.

The same companies that have the resources to fix this problem also have the resources to screw with Google. I don’t think anyone wants a war.

#4: I’m not stupid

Listen, I’ve been banging this drum since I started in digital marketing (2005): Things change. If you’re dependent on one traffic source – or one technology – you’re headed for trouble.

  • I’ve seen businesses that were dependent on SEO… vanish when Google changed the algorithm or cracked down on link building.
  • I’ve seen businesses that were living large on super-cheap clicks from PPC… wither away as click costs doubled and tripled. (Since I started managing PPC accounts in 2006, average click costs are up over 600%.)
  • I saw people who built Facebook pages, invested years building a big audience… then Facebook turned the tables on them… and now these people have to pay to send messages to the audiences they built.
  • As an email copywriter, I’ve seen email inboxes get increasingly crowded – to the point the average office worker receives 121 emails a day. So, of course, open rates have tanked and it’s harder and harder to get attention.

Here’s the thing: All of this was predictable.

I know because I predicted it. 

And so did anyone who’d studied the history of marketing. The same pattern that always happens.

So what’s my advice?

I’ll give you two pieces of advice right now:

#1: Own the platform – The people who built facebook pages should have built email lists instead (or as well). Then they could still market to their list for free. 

#2: Build multiple marketing channels – Diversification isn’t just for investors, it’s for business owners, too. Any one channel can disappear, or become too costly. If that channel is essential to your business, you’re in big trouble.

But if you have 10 channels, losing one is an inconvenience, but it doesn’t kill you.

I don’t know about you, but I’d rather be inconvenienced than in big trouble.

All the best,

Steve Gibson

Categories: Marketing