The Extinction of Third-Party Cookies and the Rise of First-Party Data

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It was only two years ago when Google announced that the death of the third-party cookie was on the horizon. Since 2020, digital marketers everywhere have been scrambling to ditch third-party cookies and adopt first-party data to help track marketing efforts.

As a marketer, what does it even mean to live a cookieless life? Third-party cookies have been on the verge of extinction now for a few years. Google continues to push back the deprecation date, announcing earlier this year that we’ll lose cookies in late 2024.

With that deadline slowly approaching there’s definitely time to explore alternative user tracking that’s impactful to marketers and less harmful to user’s privacy. 

The Third-Party Cookie Party is Over

Okay, so what does it even mean to be cookieless? Ever since this announcement, we’ve seen this term thrown around like confetti – but we need to clear here. We aren’t getting rid of all web cookies, just third-party cookies, which have a big impact on marketers

According to Twilio, currently, 81% of companies say they have either complete or substantial dependence on third-party cookies as part of their marketing strategy. 

Third-party cookies are created on one domain and shared across all third party domains that use the same tracking code. If you’ve ever seen an ad on social media, and then continued to see ads on other websites for that same product – that is the magic of third-party cookies working. 

Now, as the world becomes more conscious of privacy in the digital age, there’s been a lot of laws put into place to help protect users from being tracked. And that’s part of the reason web browsers are deprecating third-party cookies.

Future-Proofing Marketing Efforts with First-Party Data 

The marketing industry gave an audible gasp when Google dropped this deprecation. The loss of third-party cookies also means a loss of revenue for many companies. According to a report from McKinsey & Company, they expected the publishing industry would lose about $10 billion in ad revenue as a result of new regulations..

To make up that loss, marketers will need to make a shift to first-party data collection. First-party cookies are created and used on a single domain – they aren’t shared with other websites of advertising partners. 

First-party cookies help improve the user experience, because marketers are just collecting data from that one website rather than multiple platforms. Think of it this way, if you go to Amazon and put ten things in your basket, then close your window and come back to it the next day, first-party cookies enable the website to keep your basket filled, making it an easy way for you to purchase. 

While first-party doesn’t solve the problem we face when it comes to ad tracking and measurement, it does force us to build out new marketing channels and improve our user’s journey for an optimized experience. 

As companies start to sunset the use of cookies, you’ll also start to see marketers use a variety of activities to help collect data from users such as:

  • First-party data
  • Walled gardens 
  • Paywalls
  • Required registrations
  • Updated contextual targeting 

Creating a customized experience with less data 

Here’s the thing… 85% of consumers want brands to make use of only first-party data when creating personalized services, according to Twilio’s State of the Consumer report. 

And then to add a layer on to that, in Salesforce’s State of the Connected Customer report, they found that 73% of respondents expect companies to understand their unique needs and expectations.

So, we need to find a balance: we need to create a highly personalized user experience while keeping data private. While this is a big task for marketers to take on, it’s absolutely possible to live in a cookieless world (just don’t tell the cookie monster). 

The first step towards that new world is to double down your marketing strategy around first-party and collected data. 

Improving Revenue with First-Party Data 

To improve your customer’s experience, you need to get to know them a little better. That starts with collecting as much data from your website as possible. But, how do you do this without offerwalls, registrations or forms? 

An anonymous identifier will be key to help track how users engage with your website. It will allow you to track a lead before they fill out a form. Once they do fill out that form, the right technology (cough, Dealtale, cough) will be able to match that anonymous identifier to their email address – allowing you to monitor their whole user journey.

That identifier will not only allow you to improve the user experience, but it will also enable you to prove ROI. Understanding where users are spending time on your website, like the blog, documentation, or even product pages – enables marketers to identify what channels and activities are attributing to conversion.

Multi-touch attribution enables you to invest in the channels and activities that are working to help marketers close that gap in revenue that will be lost from ad’s and third-party cookies. 

Let Dealtale Solve Your Cookie Problems

I like the idea of living in a world where we aren’t stressing about alternatives to third-party cookies. Dealtale not only helps marketers capture first party data to track user’s journeys they also have a dashboard that tracks multi-touch attribution so that you can optimize marketing campaigns.

Get a free trial of Dealtale today and leave your love for cookies in the past or click here to schedule a demo.

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