Digital CommunicationUser IntegrityPersonalizationThird-Party CookiesOrganizational Change Strategies
University of Gothenburg
For years, digital communicators have taken advantage of the phenomena of third-party cookies to help understand online user behavior in order to produce personalized advertising. The increased discussion of user integrity has led to new privacy regulations and the largest web browsers have therefore banned third-party cookies or plan to remove them in the near future. This change is expected to affect digital communicators in their work as they rely on these cookies in their marketing activities. Further, small and medium-sized companies are expected to be affected more as they might not have the same capacities to change their digital communication strategies. The purpose of this study is therefore to investigate how Swedish small and medium-sized marketing agencies are, and expect to be, affected by the removal of third-party cookies and further if any change strategies are communicated. The qualitative case study includes interviews with digital communication experts aligned with literature regarding third-party cookies, digital communication and organizational change strategy theories. Results reveal that most agencies are affected by the removal and not fully prepared for the change, however, the majority are researching, communicating internally, and trying to adapt to the new scenario. Further, the level of effect from the regulation did not seem to depend exclusively on the size of the agency but also technical expertise and the number of services offered that did not depend on third-party cookies. Strategies and replacements of third-party cookies are being introduced and discussed such as server-side tracking, taking advantage of first-party data, contextual advertising, email marketing, SEO and content marketing. To conclude, the research highlights that the end of third-party cookies does not mean the end of personalized marketing.
Johanna ElmérJohanna Nilsson