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New Chrome Browser Will Affect Website Tracking and Marketing Efforts

Why Associations Need Tool Owners, Not Tool Experts

What is Happening and Why?

On February 4, 2020, Google Chrome is changing the security around the use of third-party cookies. First of all, what are third-party cookies? A cookie is considered third-party if it has a different domain from the main website. For example, if the domain is “fusionSpan.com” and Pardot (a marketing automation tool) is using a cookie to track website visits, that cookie would be considered a third-party cookie since it was set by Pardot, a “third-party.” Third-party cookies may also be stored as a result of a user’s interaction with chatbots, buttons, forms, etc.

With the new update from Google Chrome, third-party cookie tracking will not work unless updates are configured.

How Should My Organization Prepare for this Release?

Your organization’s webmaster will have to update the website to designate cookies for third-party access. Specifically, the “SameSite=None;” and “Secure” attributes will need to be present. See this article from Google Chrome for more technical details. In addition, your website will need to use HTTPS, which provides encryption between the web server and your browser.

If you use:

  • Pardot, you will need to add the new SameSite attribute and ensure that the tracker domain being used is SSL-enabled.
  • Marketing Cloud, Salesforce is working within the application to ensure this change does not affect website tracking for Marketing Cloud cookies. Updates to Marketing Cloud will be effective no later than February 7, 2020.
  • HubSpot, you will need to add the SameSite attribute and ensure you are using an SSL-enabled domain.
  • Google Analytics, you don’t need to do anything because these are considered first-party cookies, not third-party cookies.

How Can I Use Website Tracking Data for Marketing?

If your association is using a marketing automation tool like Pardot, Marketing Cloud, HubSpot, or another tool, then tracking a visitor’s interaction with your website, along with the email behavior provides an important view of potential or existing members.

For example, let’s consider Jonah, who is interested in model cars. He completes a form on the model car association website to subscribe to a weekly newsletter, which is available to members and non-members. He consistently opens and reads this newsletter, which is tracked in the marketing automation tool. After a month or so he visits the Membership Benefits page of the website. A third-party cookie from the marketing automation tool captures that visit and links it to his profile, along with a membership sales rep being notified. If the website hasn’t been updated with the “SameSite” attribute, then this key piece of information would be missed!

A journey can then be triggered based on the newsletter engagement and the membership interest signal. This journey may include emails with more detailed information about membership benefits, a special membership discount, or limited-time access to member content. Dynamic content could be included in the emails based on what other interactions Jonah has had on the website.

Bringing together information from multiple channels, such as email and web in this example, allows associations to further refine their marketing strategy to increase overall engagement and membership participation.

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Susan Baumbach

Susan Baumbach

Susan has five years of experience working in associations and nonprofits, gaining critical experience in data analysis and how data is managed in Salesforce. As a certified Pardot Consultant and Marketing Cloud Email Specialist, she guides the implementation process from discovery through go-live and support. She is committed to creating the best marketing automation solution possible for users and stakeholders alike.
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