Spotify Ad Analytics in a 3P Cookieless Chrome World

Understand How Spotify Ad Analytics Will Continue to Provide Performance Measurement at EOY 2024

In 2023, Google announced their plan to phase out third-party cookies in the Chrome browser. To their word, in early 2024 Google began the phase-out with an end goal of removing all third-party cookies by the end of 2024. This leaves many wondering what needs to change with the Spotify pixel when Google finalizes this process at the end of the year. In terms of Spotify Ad Analytics, the answer is simple: nothing

Pixel Versus Cookie

A pixel is a piece of code embedded on a website, which delivers information back to a server regarding the behavior that a visitor is exhibiting on said website. 

A cookie on the other hand, stores information about a user such as language settings, login information, or items in the user’s shopping cart. This information is stored on the user’s device and relays information back to the browser. 

Cookies and pixels work hand-in-hand, as pixels will typically request for the information about a user from the cookie, and that information can be used for the purpose of delivering targeted advertising (for example, when you are looking at cars then switch to a news website and are presented an advertisement for the exact car you were just looking at), measurement/attribution, or making the website experience better (i.e. automatically logging the user into their account when they visit the site). 

What is the difference between a 1st party and 3rd party cookie?

First off, it’s important to note that Chrome’s deprecation of cookies targets 3rd party cookies only. 3rd party cookies are the main focus when privacy advocates talk about cookies impacting or impeding on people’s privacy and security. 

This is because 3rd party cookies can be created by other websites than the website that a user is visiting. That means a 3rd party cookie can be accessed by any website, and can record a user’s behavior as they navigate from site to site. This is what has allowed advertising technology companies to create audience targets based on their internet behaviors, as well as allow advertisers to retarget users with creative that included the products they viewed or added to their cart. 

In contrast, 1st party cookies can only be created by the website that a user is visiting, and the information in these types of cookies only includes data about the settings and behaviors of that single website. Typically advertisers use 1st party cookies to make their website’s experience better for users. It’s these types of cookies that keep you signed into a website that you logged onto, left, and then came back to later. 1st party cookies are not the target of Google’s cookie deprecation.

What about the Spotify Pixel? 

The Spotify Pixel is a piece of JavaScript code that is placed on the advertiser’s website to track user interaction with the website directly. This data is sent back to Spotify Ad Analytics for the purposes of understanding what actions users are taking on an advertiser’s website, which can be attributed to media exposures that helps answer questions like ‘how many website visits and purchases did my media spend with Spotify drive?’

After an advertiser has successfully installed the Spotify Pixel on their website, everytime someone visits their site, the Spotify Pixel fires, which means the JavaScript code runs. When the code runs, data about the site visit is sent back to Spotify Ad Analytics, and the code also saves a 1st party cookie in the user’s web browser which will be referenced for every subsequent action that the user takes on the site.

To answer the question directly, Google’s deprecation of cookies does not impact Spotify Ad Analytics, because Google is targeting third-party cookies, and Spotify Ad Analytics only uses first-party cookies. At this time, because of the utilitarian nature that first-party cookies have, there have been no plans announced to deprecate them.

How can I see what cookies are being dropped?

If you’re interested in seeing which cookies are being dropped on your browser, you can open the web browser inspector. In Chrome, the way to see this is by first opening the browser inspector and clicking on the Application tab. To do this…

  1. Right click on the website you’re visiting
  2. Click ‘Inspect’
  3. Click the Application tab
  4. The left side, under Cookies, notice a list of all of the cookies being saved in your browser based on your last visit.

If you don’t see any cookies in this section, consider the following…

  1. There are no cookies being dropped for the site you’re on (rare, but possible)
  2. You have an ad blocker active. In order to see which cookies dropped, you will need to pause your ad blocker.
  3. Refresh the page

Still concerned about the cookieless future?

Some brands have opted to move away from embedded pixels and are using image or server side options instead. If you wish to change your current pixel setup to an image pixel or implement server-side pixels, use the steps as have laid out in the help center. Keep in mind that the support team is unable to support in the implementation, QA, or troubleshooting of img pixel placement.