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Demise of Third Party Cookies and Its Impact on Marketing

Khyati Agarwal
Reading Time: 7 minutes
loss of third party cookies

Google recently announced that it is yet again delaying the removal of third party cookies from Chrome to the second quarter of 2025. This is largely because the web browser holds over 65% of the global market share. Secondly, 75% of marketers still rely heavily on third party cookies to power their campaigns. 

Google’s decision to postpone the phase-out process gives you extra time to adapt to the impending changes. So, latch on to this golden opportunity and explore how other brands adapt to the digital marketing world without third party cookies. 

Join us as we explain how removing third party cookies impacts marketing. We’ll also walk you through some alternative tracking solutions you can implement to replace third party cookies without compromising the success of your campaigns.

What Are Cookies?

Cookies are small files a website stores on the user’s web browser when they visit it. These files contain user data like their language preferences, login credentials, pages visited, products added to the cart, etc. They can also collect personally identifiable information such as name, email address, phone number, etc. 

There are two main types of cookies we need to concern ourselves with:

  • First-Party Cookies: These are set by the website that users are currently visiting. They are used to enhance user experience and remember settings and preferences specific to that site.
  • Third-Party Cookie: These are set by websites other than the site users are visiting. They are used to track user behavior across multiple sites and serve targeted advertisements.
how marketing cookies work

How Are Third Party Cookies Used in Digital Marketing?

While first party cookies only let you track users while they are on your site, third party cookie can track them across multiple sites outside of your domain. As you can imagine, they have been one of the cornerstones of modern digital marketing.

Marketers have been using third party cookies to track users and collect vital behavioral data. They analyze the collected data to extract actionable insights that can be used to deliver personalized experiences and optimize ad campaigns.

Why Are Third Party Cookies Being Removed?

Many reasons have led to this moment where third party cookie are seen as the devil. For instance, users no longer want to be tracked on every website they visit. While they enjoy a personalized experience, it must not come at the cost of their privacy. Therefore, businesses have been forced to block third party cookies.  

Then, there are newer privacy regulations that governments worldwide have been introducing to regulate the collection and management of user data. 

Laws like GDPR and CCPA have led to browsers like Safari and Firefox blocking third party cookies. Apple has even restricted tracking on newer iOS versions. Similar, privacy-centric updates have also been implemented on Android devices. 

Although Google has delayed removing third party cookie from Chrome, it has already initiated the process. Thus, the demise of third party cookies is now set in stone. 

third party cookies phase out

How Will the Phasing Out of the Third Party Cookie Impact Digital Marketing?

Removal of third party cookies from web browsers brings multiple challenges for marketers, which include:

  1. Poor Personalization and Targeting

You can no longer track users outside of your own domain. This limits your ability to collect comprehensive behavioral data about users, such as how they engage with other sites or what products they look for. Therefore, you’ll have a hard time segmenting your audiences and designing personalized marketing initiatives that resonate with them. 

  1. Difficulty in Ad Measurement and Attribution 

Third party cookie have been crucial in attributing sales and conversions to specific ad campaigns. Without them, tracking the customer journey across different channels will be difficult. The inability to measure the actual performance of your campaigns could result in ineffective targeting and budget allocation. As a result, conversions and your ROAS may take a significant hit. 

  1. Issues with Retargeting

Retargeting ads, as you know, show ads to users based on their past interactions with a site. So, they depend heavily on third-party cookies to match campaigns with each individual’s past interactions. Third party cookies’ phase-out will affect your ability to deliver these ads to re-engage users after they’ve left your site. 

  1. Inaccurate Reporting

Many analytics tools rely on third party cookies for various measurements and reporting. Without third party cookies, these tools cannot provide accurate reports about interests, demographics, and behavior. This loss of data granularity can lead to less precise insights, making it challenging to understand your audience and measure campaign performance. 

What Are Some Alternatives to Third Party Cookies?

While you can’t use third party cookies to power your marketing efforts, that doesn’t change the fact that users are still on the Internet waiting to hear your best offer. So, you must change your approach and embrace these alternatives to understand your audience:  

  1. First Party Cookies

Unlike third party cookies, first party cookies are here to stay. So, activate them on your site to track users when they visit it and collect behavioral data to make informed decisions. Data collected using these cookies is your first party data, which means it is legally yours to own and use. 

  1. Zero and First Party Data

First party data is any data that you collect directly from your users with their consent, while zero party data is information that users share with you voluntarily. You’ll need both kinds of data to build a solid repository of user data and reduce your dependence on third party cookies. 

First party cookies are just one source of first party data. You can collect valuable data from multiple owned channels, including mobile apps, social media, and offline interactions. Similarly, you can use surveys and polls, forms, quizzes, and reviews to encourage users to share their preferences, intentions, and personal information willingly. 

Now, you may wonder how one consolidates all this diverse data and makes sense of it? 

You can use a data enrichment and activation tool like EasyInsights to collect all your customer data under one roof. Then, you can employ identity resolution measures to combine all your data and build customer 360 profiles that will inform your personalization and ad targeting efforts.

client-side server-side tagging
  1. Server-Side Tracking

In server-side tracking, when a user interacts with a website, data is sent directly from your website’s server to the tracking server. So, you no longer need to store cookies on the browser to track visitors. Since you must manually place relevant tags to track events, you control what data is collected. You can track a wide range of site interactions, including page views, form submissions, and e-commerce transactions.

  1. Tracking Pixels

Tracking pixels are code snippets embedded on web pages that track user behavior when the page loads. They are an effective alternative to third party cookies because they are not stored on the user’s device. Instead, they are stored on a server. You can embed tracking pixels on your web pages, advertisements, and even email campaigns. This will help you better understand how users engage with your brand across these channels.

tracking pixel by EasyInsights
  1. Unified IDs

Another way to track users without third party cookies is to use universal or unified IDs. For this, you’ll need to use a unified ID solution, wherein users opt into the service and provide their emails, which are anonymized to create unique identifiers. You can use these identifiers to track users across different websites and devices without requiring third party cookies.

  1. Google’s Privacy Sandbox API

Google Privacy Sandbox is a group of APIs developed to protect people’s privacy online. At the same time, it gives companies tools to reach potential customers without having to track their behavior. 

The Privacy Sandbox groups users with similar browsing patterns into cohorts. Thus, you don’t need to track individuals using third-party cookies. Instead, you can use these cohorts as target audiences for your ad campaigns. 

Switch from Third Party Cookies to First Party Data with EasyInsights

Removal of third party cookies from popular browsers was definitely bad news for marketers. But it was also a wake-up call as it underlined the fact that users are the actual owners of their data, and they get to decide how brands use it. 

Although skipping on your biggest tracking asset is complex, the industry has responded positively to the change. Marketers are exploring alternate and safer ways to collect user data, such as the privacy sandbox, tracking pixels, server-side tracking, and more. 

However, if you are serious about embracing the true cookieless future of digital marketing, you must focus on first party data. Collect data directly from your users with their consent, use it to deliver a personalized experience, and optimize campaigns. If you need help collecting and analyzing first-party data, turn to EasyInsights. 

EasyInsights is a data enrichment and activation platform that brings all your data under one roof. You can enrich this data to fill the missing gaps and build complete customer profiles. You can also leverage advanced segmentation and cohorts to get a granular view of your audience. Once you’re ready, all your data is activated across your entire tech stack, allowing you to run targeted campaigns with high ROAS.

Book a demo today to see EasyInsights in action!

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