Technology Alternatives to the Third-Party Cookie

Destination CRM

Google announced early last year that it would be sunsetting the third-party cookie in 2022, following the lead of Mozilla’s Firefox and Apple’s Safari web browsers and driving marketers to look for effective alternatives.

The challenges are twofold: Marketers have long relied on cookies to track consumers’ movements across the internet to help them personalize digital outreach, and now that is gone. Additionally, privacy concerns are at the forefront because they can no longer rely on prospect and customer data from third-party providers; instead, they are collecting it themselves.

Luckily, there are several alternatives to the third-party cookie, though they require a more proactive approach to marketing and more attention to privacy concerns, according to marketing and privacy experts.

The value of third-party cookies was already coming into question before Google made its announcement, says David Finkelstein, CEO and cofounder of BDEX, a provider of data and identity resolution technologies. “Companies selling the [third-party] data couldn’t authenticate it.”

Additionally, third-party cookies also resulted in prospects being targeted more by adware and spyware, meaning that marketing efforts from companies with which they might legitimately want to do business were ignored, blocked, or sent to spam folders, Finkelstein says.

Third-party cookies also generated fake clicks and didn’t provide important conversion information. With first-party data, companies have a better handle on the information and can better track the effectiveness of online ad spending, Finkelstein says.

“Companies that have the best data quality will see a much better return on their ad spending if they can find the right customers to reach,” he adds.

Customers were already tiring of marketers using third-party cookies long before Google made its announcement, according to Esther Poulens, founder and CEO of Raare Solutions, a provider of business advisory services in CRM and customer data analysis. Some marketers already realized this. The use of third-party cookies was already in decline since the passage of the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), meaning that many marketers were already relying on other sources of customer data.

“The No. 1 change has been an increasing reliance on a first-party data strategy,” says Josh Daghir, associate director of strategy and portfolio at R/GA Ventures, the innovation platform and investment arm of global marketing and advertising firm R/GA. “Publishers have been on the front line of this with digital advertising.”

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