African marketers remain calm in the face of planned cookie demise

By our News Team | 2022

Strategic Marketing for Africa has spoken to local industry players as they prepare for the eventual loss of third-party data on Google Chrome.

By late 2024 – about a year later than previously intended, but still not too far off – Google’s primary search engine should be free of third-party cookies, cutting off what has been a very useful supply of data for marketers and businesses in general.


Credible international research conducted earlier this year indicated that, perhaps surprisingly given the very long lead-in time to Google’s intention to phase out third-party cookies from its popular Chrome browser, many marketers are still not properly prepared. 

Third-Party Data

Photo credit: Nicolekoenig78 from Pixabay

But what is the situation in Africa? Are marketers aware and are they planning accordingly? If so, what are their views on the situation and what are their plans to mitigate the lack of cookies going forward? Is our situation here on the continent perhaps different to how marketers in developed countries will likely be impacted? 


“The cancellation of cookies will hurt businesses in Africa. Without them, we will likely see a decrease in web traffic and online sales,” laments Hephzibah Emefa Ohene, a marketing professional and Project Manager for V.A.O.B in Ghana, an Africa-focused advisory firm based in Accra.


Consumers already limit exposure to cookies

This happens at a time when consumers are more connected and engaged than ever before, a great advantage for marketers, says Ohene. But there is already an increased awareness of online privacy issues among Africans, and many people block or limit their exposure to cookies, she explains. 


Maha Jouini, a Tunisian-born communicator and Executive Director of the African Centre for Artificial Intelligence and Digital Technology based in Mauritania, is a proponent of data privacy laws. She views the eventual demise of cookies as a window of opportunity for African governments to develop and implement privacy policies that protect users and improve online infrastructure. 


While she sympathises with businesses that will suffer from the phasing out of data-gathering cookies, she says this decision will benefit all the continent’s consumers.  


“The major problem facing Africa is that we do not have our own digital infrastructure that factors in nuances unique to the continent. We still have many countries that have poor internet connectivity and are lagging behind the rest of the world. Over and above this, we need to ensure that personal-information protection policies are put into place to protect online users,” states Jouini. 


To read more about the third-party data evolution facing African marketers, go to page 18 of the latest issue (Issue 3 2022) of Strategic Marketing for Africa, the magazine of the African Marketing Confederation. You can access the Digital Edition here.