Cookieless Future Definition

With the cookieless future nearing, Passendo defines what cookieless is, and what a cookieless world means for marketing and advertising.
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For decades, cookies have been helping marketers gather information about consumers and design effective strategies. However, with internet users raising data privacy concerns and new privacy laws taking centre stage, third-party cookies are on the brink of extinction.

In February 2020, Google announced its plans to complete the third-party cookie phase-out by 2022. Since then, marketers all over the world have been planning for a cookieless future. Let’s take a closer look at what living in a cookieless world entails.  

What Does Cookieless Mean?

The entire digital marketing industry is getting ready for a serious hit now that Google Chrome, which owns more than 2/3 of the browser market share, intends to join Firefox and Apple’s Safari in its fight for a more private web.

Preparing for a cookieless realm today is imperative to prevent disruptions once the phase-out reaches its final stage. This starts with cookieless marketing, a strategy designed to reach target audiences without the use of information located in third-party cookies.

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What is a Third-Party Cookie?

A third-party cookie is a piece of code placed on a website by someone other than the website owner to collect data about website users.

Marketers take advantage of this data to track users’ behaviour and generate their profiles to design relevant ads, analyse search behaviour, craft new offers, and much more. However, they will need to search for other ways to collect user data as many users are unhappy with the way third-party cookies affect their browsing experience. That’s why major browsers are restricting them.  

Are All Website Cookies Going Away?

Chrome’s cookie phase-out has fuelled debates and sparked confusion, so it’s important to clarify that full cookie elimination isn’t on the agenda. 

The current battle for web privacy concerns third-party cookies, but first-party and second-party cookies will still be intact. Here’s how they help marketers build successful digital campaigns:

  • First-party cookies track basic data about your website visitors. They are designed to simplify the browsing experience and help you improve the personalization of your marketing campaign. Consumers are used to first-party cookies. They rarely complain about them since these cookies improve user experience.
  • Second-party cookies are first-party cookies that a company can share with its partners.

Why Are Third-Party Cookies Declining?

The reasons behind the third-party cookie decline stem from web privacy issues. While seemingly harmless at first glance, these cookies pose risks. Third-party cookies can be:

  • Stolen to impersonate the user and gain unauthorized access to a website.
  • Used to collect information that the user doesn’t want to share.

The danger of virtual privacy breaches led to the appearance of web privacy laws, including:

Other laws that regulate web data privacy and affect cookie use include Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations (PECR), Virginia’s Consumer Data Protection Act (CDPA), New York SHIELD Act, and more. While not all of these laws address cookies directly, their approach to data privacy improvements makes using third-party cookies complicated.

More and more browsers are joining the fight against third-party cookies. When Firefox and Safari blocked them, the impact wasn’t drastic. However, with Google joining the game, the cookieless reality is setting in quickly.  

What a Cookieless World Means for Marketing

The disappearance of third-party cookies will affect the way marketers collect information about their target audiences.

It’s important to understand that third-party cookie phase-out is hardly the end of the world. Since all your competitors are in the same boat, you have equal chances of survival in the cookieless realm.

For marketers, the phase-out means:

  • Rethinking the approach to data collection.
  • Reviewing marketing budget.
  • Looking at the competition and their cookieless solutions.

Many marketers were hoping that Google would implement a viable alternative to third-party cookies. However, in March 2021, the giant announced that companies shouldn’t expect alternatives to user-level identifiers and should focus on first-party relationships instead.  

Even though information about the phase-out has been around for a while, new post-cookie strategies are appearing every day. It’s imperative to keep tabs on new developments in this niche to adjust your marketing campaign as soon as possible.

Preparing for a Cookieless Future

The key to being successful in the post-cookie world is accepting it. By preparing for the future right now, you can achieve excellent results.

In fact, while your competition is panicking and trying to take full advantage of third-cookies while they are still here, you should be tracking and implementing new solutions.

To stay on top of your game, consider exploring new data-gathering methods. Some of them have been around for a while. Others are being polished as you are reading this article.

  • Focus on first-party data — with third-party cookies gone, marketers will channel their energy into growing larger audiences and using collected data for predictive analytics. Explore all available first-party collection channels, including emails, newsletters, social media, apps, and more.
  • Use alternatives — Google is already working on alternatives to third-party cookies like FLoC, data clean rooms, cookieless ID solutions, and more.
  • Use good old cookieless methods — contextual advertising is still highly effective.
  • Beef up your content — top-notch quality content coupled with colourful creative can help you achieve the same results as cookie-based advertising did in the past.

Would you like to learn more about living in the cookieless world? Find out about cookieless targeting solutions* to start streamlining your marketing campaign today.

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*By submitting this form, you agree that we may process your information in accordance with our GDPR/Privacy terms.

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