What comes after third-party cookies?

May 10, 2022

The demise of cookies isn’t all bad


The digital advertising sphere is on the cusp of a major transformation. Is your business prepared?

Marketers and providers of adtech and MarTech solutions have been reliant on third-party cookies for years, using them to identify, track and target consumers online. But more recently, the conversation around online privacy has shifted, with consumers increasingly aware of their digital rights and governments introducing strict rules regulating data collection and storage. As a result, third-party sources have become untenable for power players like Apple and Google – and the tech is set to be phased out by most providers by the end of 2023.

The phase-out signals a seismic shift in digital advertising. It represents a challenge for those who have relied on cookies, but it’s also an opportunity to develop new, innovative and potentially more effective data sources.

Here’s what you need to know:


ROAS and reliable data

As a simple, effective way to target specific consumers and track advertising results, third-party cookies have enjoyed enduring popularity. When the cookie eventually crumbles, what works today won’t work; attribution and targeting will be more difficult, and you can expect to see a decline in ROAS unless you have a data strategy in place.

For marketing teams and CMOs, this presents a challenge – it’s always more difficult to defend a budget when KPIs are deteriorating and results are in decline, or you’re having to spend more to get the same results. That’s why it’s crucial to develop other data sources and targeting strategies now before that third-party data disappears.


The power of first-party data

While it may sound like a digital disaster, all is not lost: your business has its own built-in data source. Every business, online or off, collects first-party data from a range of touchpoints – customer databases, website browsing, your app, phone line or social media messaging, in-store interactions – almost any customer interaction can be a source of valuable data. Combining the information collected from these connections can help you build a fully-realised picture of your customers.

First-party data is uniquely powerful in that it’s linked to your customers – not simply collected from anonymous browsers online. Crucially, it also belongs to your business. Unlike third-party cookies, which are managed and controlled by digital big guns like Google and Facebook – that tend to keep their data and ad options tightly reined – you have ownership of your first-party data.

Alongside that accessible first-party information, you’ll also need to consider other data sets to help you target the right customers – location, day of the week, spending patterns, media consumption and even the weather can have an impact.

Of course, you also need to know how to harness this data. Plug-and-play adtech isn’t going to cut it – more marketers will be looking outside the constricted walled gardens of Google and Facebook, and working with ad partners who can offer sophisticated adtech.


Finding your partner in data

Pivoting to a first-party strategy isn’t just a necessity this year, it’s an opportunity for richer, more powerful online advertising. By escaping the constraints of those digital walled gardens, you have the chance to target the right customer at the right time in the right place with the right message – and at the right price. Finding the right digital partner is the best way to start – they’ll be able to tease out your datasets and offer solutions you’ve never even imagined.

Ready to harness your first-party data? Get in touch.