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    Adapting to the Cookie Revolution: A Marketer’s Handbook for the Digital Future [2024]

    Data CollectionData PrivacyMarketing AnalyticsReporting and Analytics

    In the dynamic landscape of digital marketing, a big change is happening. The impending deprecation of third-party cookies is sending ripples through the industry, prompting marketers to reassess their strategies and technologies. As giants like Google and Apple prepare to bid goodbye to these data collectors by early 2024, the question arises: How will this transformation impact your digital marketing endeavors? In this article, we delve into the impacts of this change and explore strategies to adapt and thrive in the evolving digital ecosystem.

    Table of Contents

    What is a Third-Party Cookie?
    And Why is it Phasing Out?

    For years, third-party cookies have played a crucial role in tracking user behavior across the expansive web. Often used for advertising, they discreetly tracked users’ online paths, helping marketers improve their ad targeting. But, the hidden nature of these cookies raised concerns around privacy, leading to increased attention and regulations. As a result, tech titans like Google and Apple have decided to phase out third-party cookies, marking the beginning of a fresh era for data privacy.

    What Breaks When Third-Party Cookies Go Away?

    As the curtain falls on third-party cookies, several critical aspects of digital marketing hang in the balance.

    • Retargeting Marketing: Third-party cookies paint a comprehensive user profile for precise targeting. Knowing someone’s online interests offers a clearer glimpse of their preferences. While businesses can still place ads on the internet, they’re essentially navigating in the dark, unaware of the recent activities and interests of those seeing their ads. Unable to trace potential customers across the web, they risk missing out on effectively reaching those keen on specific products or services.
    • Conversion Reporting: Conversion occurs when a user takes a significant action, like signing up or making a purchase. Conversion reporting helps marketers assess their campaigns’ success. Typically, third-party cookies link a user’s actions across various websites to track conversions. Without these cookies, accurate conversion tracking becomes challenging. Even worse, the conversions won’t be visible on platforms like Meta or Google Ads. Instead, they’ll be substituted with modeled data, essentially educated guesses of your total conversions.
    • Behavioral Audience Building: Think of Google’s Similar Audiences or Meta’s Lookalike Audiences. To build these audience groups, we rely on data collected from third-party cookies to create models of users with similar interests and behaviors. Without third-party cookies, this process would be unattainable.

    How Are Marketers Reacting to This?

    Third-party cookies phase-out has spurred marketers to reevaluate their digital marketing strategies. While it might bring some short-term challenges, it also offers a chance for marketers to invest in innovative technologies and approaches that prioritize user privacy while still delivering effective targeting and personalization.

    Strengthening First-Party Data

    Don’t worry; not all cookies are going away – it’s the third-party cookies making their exit, not the first-party cookies.

    Speaking of first-party cookies, think of them as the website’s personal memory. They remember your preferences, login details, and settings, enhancing your online experience. For instance, a first-party cookie can recall your shopping cart items in an online store or personalize content based on your location and language preferences.

    First-party cookies are confined to the website that creates them. Leveraging this first-party data allows businesses to adapt to the third-party cookie phase-out by establishing direct and personal customer connections, adhering to privacy rules, and gaining better control over the data quality.

    While the majority of Multi-Touch Attribution (MTA) solutions begin by tracing the customer journey via third-party cookie data, some opt for the use of first-party information. This data captures session sources, page views, UTM variables, Click IDs, and Cookie IDs. When an anonymous visitor engages in activities like submitting a form or initiating a chat, MTA sends the collected data to your CRM.

    Within the CRM, this lead’s journey is enriched with attribution data, enabling you to monitor their progress through the sales process. As this lead transforms into a sale, crucial information, including revenue and marketing data, is sent back to the MTA database.

    This data is then connected across the customer’s interactions, offering insights into the most impactful marketing channels driving revenue.

    Supplement MTA with Alternative Metrics

    To gain a deeper understanding of marketing impact, businesses can complement MTA with an alternative approach like Marketing Mix Modelling (MMM). Unlike MTA, which focuses on individual touchpoints, MMM analyzes a broader spectrum of data to uncover connections between marketing activities and overall business results.

    By combining both MTA and MMM, businesses can achieve a more accurate understanding of how specific marketing efforts contribute to conversions and ROI.


    As the countdown to the third-party cookie’s deprecation continues, marketers stand at a crossroads. The challenges are formidable, but so are the opportunities. Embracing the change entails adopting innovative strategies, harnessing first-party data, and leveraging alternative metrics like MMM. The digital landscape is evolving, and only those agile enough to adapt will thrive in the era beyond third-party cookies. The future belongs to those who can navigate uncertainty and steer their marketing efforts toward uncharted horizons.

    Keen to find out more about MTA or MMM?
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