August 12, 2020

The Third-Party Cookie Crumbles

The following is part of a series from our recent roundtable discussion, Finding Success in our New Data Reality, in collaboration with other leaders in the data and privacy space. Keep an eye on our blog in the coming weeks for additional learnings from this event.

We’re approaching a cookie-less future. But thankfully for all you snickerdoodle lovers, it’s only in a data context. How will this impact media buying and how brands interact with their customers? The short answer: significantly.

In our new data reality where trust is perhaps a company’s most valuable commodity, third-party cookies can no longer be relied upon, and with their often vague and dubious sourcing, this is not necessarily a bad thing. It just makes it that much more important for brands to develop an intentioned, concept-forward collection strategy that focuses on first-party and contextual data, while creating a clear value exchange for consumers.

“Brands with a thoughtful, comprehensive first-party strategy are most likely to thrive in the cookie-less new normal. Why? Because privacy, transparency, and consent are top of mind for consumers and they are taking control of the way their data is collected and used. It’s therefore critical for marketers to consider the needs and wants of its target consumer, providing a value exchange that makes consent a no-brainer. The resulting first-party data, collected in the spirit of trust and transparency, combined with contextual data to optimize customer experience, will be a big part of the winning formula for brands in the near future.” – Wendy Emerson, Senior Group Director, Media and Analytics, Butler/Till

Companies like Amazon and Google could actually benefit from the loss of third-party cookies because they already have logins and connections in place, but smaller brands must now maximize every interaction they have with customers and rely on them for context. Still, even though companies are being forced to rethink their approach to data collection, the end result could lead to more fruitful data and a more transparent relationship with their users. In other words, a sweeter deal for everyone.


Special thanks to our collaborators LiveRamp, Neustar, MediaMath, UserZoom, ImpactProduct, Flashtalking, MediaMonks, Microsoft, the 4A’s, Wunderman Thompson, 3Radical, and SAS.

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