THE FUTURE OF THIRD-PARTY COOKIES
For the last 20 years, third-party cookies have been the cornerstone of online advertising, but their days seem to be numbered. Here’s why:
- Leading browsers like Apple’s Safari and Google Chrome are pivoting to blocking 3rd party cookie tracking by default.
- Apple’s latest IOS update (IOS 14) will require apps to receive user permission to use the IDFA (Identifier for Advertisers) or use the IDFA to automatically track users.
- Privacy regulations, such as the GDPR and CCPA.
Big Changes Coming Soon
Apple IDFA Will Become Opt-In
3rd Party Cookie Tracking No Longer Allowed in Chrome
What This Means for Brands and Agencies
When Apple IDFA Becomes Opt-In…
- App-based brands and campaigns focused on app install will be greatly impacted. It will become nearly impossible to track app installs in the traditional way once IDFA becomes opt-in.
- Audience targeting and view-through conversions on apps will become very difficult to execute and track. Ad targeting will rely on cross-device methodologies.
- Cross-device media buys will likely see their mobile audience-targeted campaigns shift to mobile web and android if they make no adjustments.
- Brands and advertisers will need to brace themselves for the inability to measure media at a 1:1 level as more technology platforms adopt Apple’s new anonymized methodology.
When 3rd Party Cookie Tracking Is No Longer Allowed In Chrome…
- View-through conversions and audience targeting will be greatly impacted. This will be the death of the third-party cookie essentially.
- Marketers will no longer be able to do the granular audience targeting or retargeting they’re used to on desktop.
- The transfer of data across platforms will be difficult and will require brands and advertisers to rethink cross-channel strategies.
Things to Know Going Forward
Walled Gardens Are Well-Positioned
Google*, Facebook*, and Amazon* are well-positioned without a third-party cookie due to their enormous first-party/deterministic database. They can maintain strong targeting and measurement; however, advertisers lose the flexibility and transparency offered by platforms tapping into the open web.
* = a Digilant partner
We’re among 2% of Google Partners that have access to heightened levels of service and support.
Independent Publishers Will Struggle
Buy and sell-side platforms will struggle and need to adopt common and unified, deterministic IDs to have a shot at competing with the larger walled garden publishers. (Example: The Trade Desk* is trying to proliferate the Unified ID 2.0.)
* = a Digilant partner
Audience Targeting Will Change
As with the IDFA development, the vast scalability of third party audience targeting will be greatly reduced. However, the quality and accuracy will greatly increase. Digilant believes that contextual and content-based targeting will pick up the vast majority of scale lost from audience targeting.
View-Through Conversions Will Become Less Effective
View-through conversions based on third party cookies will become ineffective. Tech vendors will need to adopt a unified ID or will struggle to measure anything other than post-click conversions. The existing cross-device graphs in the market do not match the scale of the biggest walled gardens and will be challenged by the loss of the third party cookie. Google, Facebook, and Amazon are at a clear advantage as a result.
The Perfect Solution Doesn’t Exist…Yet
Nothing is finalized in terms of solutions. Publishers, AdTech, MarTech, the walled gardens, and more are still proposing solutions. What replaces a third-party cookie in 2022 is still largely unknown. It is also important to note that this is not “the death of the cookie” as largely reported but “the death of the third party cookie.” Regardless of any sort of privacy-safe, cross-publisher ID that might replace a third-party cookie, first-party cookies, and first-party data will always be the ace.