🍪 The Cookie is Crumbling...

The chief source of online tracking is going away… Now what?

- 8. February 2023

Last year, Google announced that it would join a growing list of browsers and stop the use of third-party cookies in Chrome by the end of 2024. Advertisers around the world gasped. The end of cookies probably isn’t new information, browsers have been annoucing the removal of cookies for years, but today’s marketers need to have a game plan to turn this hurdle into an advantage.

The end of third-party data is a good thing. Individuals should be able to control when and to whom their data is given. We think a lot more can be done to protect individual data rights, but for now, this is a step in the right direction. Stopping cookies doesn’t mean the end of tracking, but it does mean that the rules of marketing and advertising are about to be rewritten, and we’re excited.

What Are Cookies Used For?

Computer cookies are small files created by a web server to save browsing information. They allow websites to remember your device, your browser preferences, and your online activity. There are a few different types of cookies, but we’ll be focusing on third-party cookies, which send data regarding your online activity to website owners who are looking to improve their online ads.

Third-party data is typically aggregated, segmented, and sold to companies for their own advertising use, resulting in highly targeted ads.

  • Example: A New England recreational tennis club wants to promote itself to players who live in Massachusetts. This club buys a list of internet users based in Massachusetts who have shopped online for tennis rackets. Then the club shows its advertisements to those users.


How Is First-Party Data Different From Third-Party?

Eliminating third-party data demands agencies and e-commerce businesses to gather data in new ways. One way is through first-party data. First-party data comes from the direct relationship between a customer and a company. 

Where third-party data is largely based on general assumptions drawn from enormous datasets and a look-alike approach, first-party provides cold facts about the individuals that make up your audience.

On top of that, first-party data is yours. You earned it, and you can pull it up and have it right in front of you. So, does this mean you need to focus on collecting first-party data now? Yep, that’s exactly what it means.

  • Example: The tennis club mentioned earlier can use first-party data collected through web or mobile app behavior, in-store or call center interactions, and purchase histories to create targeted ads for a customer.


How Will We Attract New Customers in the Digital Space?

You’ll need a confident first-party strategy. For years, marketers have turned to third-party 3P data to lure in new prospects, but the future will have a focus on nurturing the customers you already have and connecting with first-timers.

For most, the lowest hanging fruit is taking control of the data that you already generate and own - email permissions, website traffic, etc. Make sure Google Analytics is set up correctly and that various SoMe pixels are also fine-tuned. This is a good place to start. 

There’s no way you’ll be able to reach the same sample size as with third-party data, but it is still absolutely worthwhile to focus on building a first-party data warehouse for the reasons already mentioned above. Short term, this means you need to start gathering email permissions and driving traffic to your platforms.

Long-term, it means you should look for new ways to generate first-party data. This is the time to improve your digital presence and add new brand platforms in order to build an eco-system of digital outlets. Dust off that old customer club concept and add new brand platforms from which data is collected. In other words, businesses should attack this head-on with proactivity.

Will We Need New Technology?

Yes and forward-thinking brands are already acting on this. They have started pulling first-party user data from CRM, CDP platforms, and offline contacts to use in marketing and ad campaigns. This lets them sell more products to loyal users through customized retargeting.

Brands and marketing professionals should also gather and segment user data right away. This, most likely, calls for new technology  -  a data management platform, for instance. Picking out new tech and getting the right fit for your business can be a daunting process, which is why companies should invest time in finding a reliable tech partner with the necessary qualifications to lend them a hand with customization and integration.

Bottom line - The rapidly approaching cookie crumbling can cause some problems, but if you act now, it also provides opportunities to gain better data that will lead to more enlightened marketing action plans.

If you would like to learn more about how Adapt can help you with this, give us a shout.

Wait! We have more

See all articles