08/03/2021 editorial team

That’s the way the cookie crumbles

Closeup shot of sweet crunchy chocolate chip cookies lying on table with crumbles around

The vast majority of current web browsers now block third-party cookies or are on their way towards full blocks. This means that online advertisers and analytics firms cannot use browser cookie files anymore to track users as they visit different sites across the internet. The transition away from third-party cookies is causing brands to look at new ways to track visitor online behavior while also maintaining privacy.

First-Party remains

It should be noted that the move away from third-party cookies by the three major web browsers does not mean an end to cookies.

Thanks to Third-Party Cookies entities were able to collect information about consumers without having a direct relationship with them. Sources of third-party data include consumer data brokers, credit reporting agencies, ratings companies, and publicly available records. Most commonly, data vendors aggregate unrelated sources to compile third-party data sets.

First-party cookies, that are placed on a person’s browser when they visit a website owned by a primary company or organization, will still be in place.

Companies will be able to track visitor behavior in terms of where they entered the site, how long they stayed, pages visited, and where they exited. This remains a core and central part of any organization’s data gathering practice and helps them determine how their sites and product offerings should be configured.

Data Privacy Matters

Another major concern for marketers thinking about their data is privacy. Because third-party data comes from an entity without a direct relationship with consumers, it’s the single biggest offender, and it’s coming up more and more in light of the GDPR.

Companies have to obtain consent from consumers to contact them for marketing purposes, share or sell data to third parties, and for any uses that the consumer “would not reasonably expect.” Consent is a must for profiling and segmentation that uses personally identifiable information (PII), automated decision-making, and direct marketing.

In summary

The blocking of third-party cookies is coming, but it’s not completely here yet. The slow crawl to a complete phase-out may seem like a temporary reprieve. In the meantime, companies should devote themselves to building a more mature, robust, and accurate attribution methodology that takes into account the multiple ways customers engage with brands.

To power personalization brands need self-reported data, actively given by consumers. Third-party data won’t give you that as it is taken from publicly available sources and mostly inferred. The opportunity for brands is to engage and get to know their customers better and to build a declared data strategy.