22nd Nov, 2021

The End of an Era for Cookies & a Brighter Future with First-Party Data

marketers review third-party data to strategize marketing plan

Technology leaders are making it more and more difficult for companies to track consumers online. Governments across the globe have rolled out data privacy laws, and companies have been in the spotlight for how they obtain, use, store, and share consumer data. 

In fact, some of the larger tech organizations are phasing out third-party cookies altogether. Google plans to roll out this change in 2022. While this may come as a surprise for some, many marketing leaders have predicted this phenomenon for some time. And while marketers are not happy about this data loss, a new, exciting era of strategy and innovation is about to be born. 

Why cookies?

For years, companies have used cookies to track website visitors, improve the user experience, and collect data that helps marketers target audiences with the right message. Cookies can also be used to track a user throughout their web browsing journey, giving companies insights into what consumers are interested in outside of the brand’s website. 

Ethics comes into play when we consider how companies are obtaining this data and what they produce with the information they collect. With the ethics question top-of-mind, especially when considering advertising on platforms such as Facebook, the biggest players in tech are re-evaluating how much companies should be able to know about consumers. 

Google’s ad-tracking tools are changing dramatically in 2022, removing third-party cookies from Chrome browsers. Hubspot and GetApp researched the marketing implications of Google’s cookieless future, citing the following statistics:

  • 41% of marketers believe their biggest challenge will be the inability to track the right data
  • 44% of marketers predict a need to increase their spending by 5-25% in order to reach the same goals they set in 2021
  • 23% of marketing experts plan on investing in email marketing software due to Google’s new policy

Are all cookies in jeopardy?

Let’s get down to the nitty gritty. Not every cookie is in jeopardy. Cookie monster can breathe a sigh of relief. In fact, first-party cookies are essential to Google’s new rollout in 2022. So far, the third-party cookies are all that’s at risk

First-party cookies, used to track basic data about your own website’s visitors, are safe for now. Any first-party data that you gather from your website’s visitors will remain available for use across all browsers. Still have questions? Let’s dive into the differences between the two types of cookies and how you can start using your first-party data to pivot your strategy and get closer to customers.

What are third-party cookies?

Third-party cookies are simply tracking codes that are attached to a visitor’s computer after they visit a website that’s not your own. Remember seeing the pop-up “Do you accept these cookies?” That was an acknowledgement that you are granting a company permission to track what you’re viewing. So when you visit a company’s website and then move on to another, the third-party cookie tracks this information and sends it to the company that requested the data. 

Third-party cookies enable marketers to learn about their consumers and tailor their approach to gain more engagement. The data shows marketers what a consumer is interested in, their buying patterns, and overall frequent behaviors. This data is used to construct robust visitor profiles that enable advertisers to target consumers with relevant ads that are specific to their needs. This is especially relevant to retargeting ads, which can be sent to past website visitors or people with similar web profiles.

If your only aim is to track your own website visitors’ behavior, preferences, and demographics, then this change won’t have a significant impact on your strategy. However, if your digital marketing incorporates pop-up ads and online advertising on third-party websites, there is a big shift coming that will impact the way you target and distribute your ads. 

What are first-party cookies?

So, what is a first-party cookie, exactly? A first-party cookie is the code that gets generated and stored on a visitor’s computer by default when they visit your website. It is often used to collect data on user experience, passwords, and other basic demographics. 

While you can track how often a consumer visits your website and what they did while they were there, you can’t track them on any part of the internet that is not affiliated with your domain. In the Persado eBook, Forget Cookies, it states that 88% of consumers expect personalized experiences. This means that loss of cookies and device IDs must be offset by measuring digital engagement. 

When companies reframe their strategy around first-party data, the surge of in-session observations creates data that enables unique personalization. The same Persado eBook reveals that more than 60% of brands plan to increase their spend on first-party data over the next year. Personalized language data allows brands to compensate for the loss of third-party cookies.

A custom consumer report reveals the key to customer engagement with personalization. When customers experience a brand that “speaks to them,” they remember the brand that: 

  • Keeps it simple (47%)
  • Presents an offer a customer can’t pass up (30%)
  • Appears authentic and transparent (29%)

Preparing for the Phase-Out of Third-Party Cookies

While marketers and advertisers scramble to define a new strategy with the impending death of the third-party cookie, others are turning to innovative technology to leverage the data they already have. 

Many companies are sitting on a wealth of first-party data that customers have agreed to share. But it won’t be enough to simply have that data. Brands will need to activate their first-party data to create personalized experiences. 

Forward-thinking leaders at Fortune 500 brands are already leveraging artificial intelligence (AI) and their consumer decision platform (CDP) to drive personalization with language. There is a new way to connect with consumers on a more authentic level—with AI and first-party data, the cookieless future looks bright. Discover how you can:

  • Leverage automated, personalized language to connect with your customers.
  • Achieve greater value in customer interactions with AI and machine learning.
  • Activate first-party data with personalized language mapped to emotion.
  • Unlock words that resonate with customers to create personalized language profiles.

Explore these in-depth insights and more in our latest eBook, Forget Cookies. Download your copy today.


Subscribe to our newsletter for the latest news & information.