Are You Ready for Marketing Without Third-Party Cookies?

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Third-party cookies have provided important consumer data to marketers for years. Without them, what will targeting look like?

Key takeaways

  • The state of third-party cookies they’re crumbling
  • Finding the right alternative
    • Contextual advertising
    • Greater dependence on first-party data
    • New predictive data solutions
    • Using a data platform
  • Why go with the BDEX platform?

Third-party cookies have long been the way marketers identify consumers for digital marketing. However, Google has announced that they will no longer support third-party cookies as soon as 2022, following the lead of Mozilla and Apple down a trend toward other methods of identification. These methods are becoming more important as privacy concerns and regulations like the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) gain traction. This means marketers need to start pivoting now to prepare for what’s next. 

What will the future look like without third-party cookies? How will digital marketers track and identify customers and prospects for personalized marketing? What will data gathering look like? Here’s what you need to know.

The state of third-party cookies

Cookies help marketers track key metrics that inform their marketing decisions, like how many repeat visitors their website is getting, and consumer information that improves targeting, like where they shop or what they’re searching for online. 

Google announced at the beginning of 2020 that it would stop using third-party cookies by 2022. The brand says online users are demanding more privacy, transparency, choice, and control over how their personal data is being used, which is primarily why cookies may go away completely. It is also becoming more and more challenging for companies selling third-party data to authenticate it, and sometimes reliance on third-party cookies can cause issues from things like bots and click farms generating fake clicks.

It’s important to remember that first-party cookies will still be used, which is easier to manage. First-party cookies provide information like what a visitor did while on your brand’s website, you just won’t get third-party cookie data about what they did on other websites. 

Apple Safari and Mozilla Firefox have already blocked third-party cookies, leaving Google Chrome as the only major browser still using them.

As privacy continues to be a hot topic in the digital marketing world, it’s crucial for marketers to have other tools and technologies that will help them target customers and learn about the behaviors of their audiences. But what are the alternatives to third-party cookies?

4 alternatives to cookies

Now that you know what the future of third-party cookies will look like, it’s time to get creative and come up with new ways to make real-time, quality connections with consumers based on their interests and behaviors. 

Destination CRM recently interviewed industry thought leaders about the top alternatives to the third-party cookie. Here’s what they recommended:

1. Contextual advertising

Many marketers are realizing that they need to go back to more traditional marketing methods that they depended on before third-party cookies existed. Contextual advertising is a type of targeted advertising where ads appear online on relevant sites based on content matches rather than cookies. 

This type of advertising allows you to use PPC ads on websites that have similar keywords to your own. It doesn’t depend on third-party cookies to be effective and still gives you the power to get your message in front of customers with relevant interests and buying priorities. 

2. Greater dependence on first-party data

Some are predicting a greater dependence on first-party data that is easier to control and manage. This means depending more on customer relationships and asking for information like a login or email address to access your website or landing pages. 

This more direct information can be just as effective at filtering leads through the sales funnel, and often this first-party data is more accurate and reliable than third-party cookie data. It also is more amenable to today’s customers, who want transparency about what is being done with their data. One study found that 83% of consumers are concerned about giving out their personal data online, and 72% say they would stop supporting a company due to privacy concerns.

Thus, by shifting from third-party to first-party cookies, marketers can depend more on the data people share with them willingly and build better customer relationships based on trust. 

3. New predictive data solutions

New solutions that use technologies like artificial intelligence (AI) will be required to understand customer behavior and predict performance. For example, some software companies are creating solutions that deliver predictive data to drive marketing campaign performance. These tools can track key data points that provide insight into consumer engagement and exposure, helping brands optimize performance. 

4. Using a data platform

Another way forward is using a data platform that provides consumer data in real-time so brands can quickly connect with the kinds of customers looking for their services. An advanced data platform like BDEX creates user profiles based on interests and behaviors so marketers get to know the person behind the data. Only then can you effectively target and reach the right people. 

Platforms like BDEX help marketers prioritize data quality management, consumer privacy regulations, and flexibility.

Why go with the BDEX platform?

It’s clear that a future without third-party cookie data will require flexibility and creativity from marketers and brands, in addition to harnessing the technologies available to them. But the elimination of third-party cookies can improve data quality and privacy, which will have the immense benefit of increasing consumer trust. 

Marketers need to embrace first-party data techniques that will help them create better relationships with their customers. And they need to continue to stay flexible and open-minded about new and traditional ways to reach people as third-party cookies are phased out. 

If you’re ready to get started with a data platform that delivers quality information you can depend on, contact the BDEX team today. 

We have more than 5,500 data categories, over 800 million mobile ID-to-email matches, and more than a trillion data signals. We help you create a historical timeline of a consumer’s behaviors in real-time so you can better connect with them in the moment.

BDEX is committed to powering human connectivity, no matter what the future of data looks like.