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Cookieless future: What it is and what to expect

cookieless future

If you visit a website, chances are a familiar pop-up message greets you right away: “By using our site, you agree to our use of cookies to deliver a better site experience” or “Cookies help us display personalized product recommendations and ensure you have a great shopping experience.” You can then accept or reject these cookies and continue browsing the site.

Of course, these cookies aren’t the same as the delicious ones you enjoy baking and eating. Still, they are a sweet marketing assistant if you are trying to target specific consumers based on their previous purchases, web pages they visited, and geolocation. 

With many consumers’ data privacy concerns, however, websites can expect a future without cookies, and marketers may have a more difficult time reaching their target audience and increasing conversion rates, especially since key companies like Google and Apple are abandoning third-party cookies.

All hope is not lost; other methods for marketing to the right consumers exist and will be crucial in 2024 and beyond. Let’s explore what is a cookieless future and cookieless future solutions that can help your business continue to thrive.

One of these solutions is Facebook Conversions API.

What are cookies?

Cookies, in the digital sense, are pieces of text, or identifiers, that a website’s server can store on a visitor’s hard disk. Essentially, cookies allow sites to store information on a user’s machine and retrieve it later. This allows web pages to display faster for users because information like user preferences and browsing history are readily available.

Google search page

The importance of cookies for marketing

Marketers can use cookies to their advantage by not only improving someone’s experience on a website but also analyzing every user’s data to provide each targeted ads related to their search and purchasing history

Cookies can also help website visitors. A shopper may add merchandise to their virtual shopping cart and then leave the site; because of cookies, the site knows which products the consumer placed in their cart and can hold them there until checkout (or send reminder emails to the consumer’s email address as a nudge to make the purchase). If the visitor returns to that site in hopes of picking up where they left off, then they can enjoy a much more convenient shopping experience thanks to cookies. 

As mentioned earlier, websites often ask users to accept or reject cookies. Some cookies, though, are essential to a website’s ability to function properly. For example, cookies used to store your language and currency usage are relevant to many sites, so they can adapt their display for your unique user experience. If you rejected these cookies, you wouldn’t be able to even access the site.

Google analytics page

What are the different types of cookies?

Similar to how chocolate chip cookies and oatmeal cookies are different but still cookies at their core, digital cookies take on different forms.

Types of cookies based on source

  • First-party cookies are the ones set directly by a user’s browser when they visit a website. The information gathered by first-party cookies is used to calculate page views, sessions, and the number of users. This information can be used by ad agencies and advertisers to target new potential customers.
  • Third-party cookies are set by domains that the user does not visit directly. This happens when a website owner includes third-party elements on their website (such as a chatbot, social plugins, or advertisements).

Types of cookies based on purpose

  • Essential cookies are placed automatically on your device whenever you access a website and they are necessary for a website to function correctly. These cookies remember your activities on a website, keep track of the items you interact with, and identify you as a user thanks to your login credentials.
  • Non-essential cookies are all other cookies that do not meet the definition of essential cookies and can be placed on a device only if the user consents to them. These cookies are used to track user activity on a browser and customize a user’s ad experience on websites.

The impact of a cookieless future

What is a cookieless future? Basically, a future where cookies are no longer the norm. And when even big companies – such as Google and Apple – are taking measures to make that happen, you know it’s real.

On the one hand, Google cookieless future includes phasing out third-party cookies. Why? According to Justin Schuh, Google’s Director of Chrome Engineering, the reason behind this is that users are “demanding more privacy, including transparency, choice, and control over how their data is used.” He implied that Google was “evolving” because “the web ecosystem needed to meet these increasing demands.”

On the other hand, as part of its iOS 14 release in early spring 2021, Apple is releasing a new feature called App Tracking Transparency (ATT) that will require iOS app developers to ask for each user’s permission to track their activity or access their device’s IDFA (the Identifier for Advertisers) for advertising purposes.

While it is true that 86% of people in the U.S. are growing concerned about their data privacy, these new measures for a cookieless future represent a great risk for advertisers worldwide, who have already expressed their “deep disappointment” with Google’s decision and acknowledged fears this would “significantly” disrupt the advertising industry.

So, what does a future without cookies look like? It looks like innovation. As a result of this big change, marketers and advertisers will have to resort to other ways to track users’ behavior.

Graphic example

How to prepare for a cookieless future in advertising

Fortunately, there are cookieless future solutions that marketers and advertisers can turn to. Here are a few of them, to help you navigate a cookieless world.

Rely on first-party data

Marketers will have to collect data directly from consumers and rely on first-party data as much as possible. First-party data will be crucial to successfully personalize user experiences throughout the customer journey and maintain relevant, targeted advertising opportunities, while also ensuring data security.

First-party data is collected primarily from users who have already shown some sort of interest in your specific product, and then stored in your CRM or data warehouse. You can then use this data to target and re-engage these users with your ads.

LeadsBridge automates the connection between your CRM/DWH and top advertising platforms, to help you automate your workflows and optimize your campaigns. Below you can find some of our most popular integrations.

To learn more about first-party data, take a look at this article: How to build a first-party data strategy.

Move to customer data platforms

Marketers are slowly moving away from using data management platforms (DMPs) and opting for customer data platforms (CDPs) instead.

This is a result of the fact that marketers are already investing more in first-party data. In fact, DMPs rely mainly on third-party data, store data for shorter periods, and cannot identify users to create the most accurate audiences possible. While CDPs collect and structure real-time data into individual, centralized customer profiles.

Rely on email marketing


As of right now, email marketing is still the easiest and fastest way to reach and get to know your customers. In fact, research shows that email marketing revenue worldwide is estimated to reach $17.9 billion by 2027.

Email marketing revenue worldwide from 2020 to 2027
Source: Statista.com

The easiest way to get what you want is to ask for it. Consent-based marketing is the new frontier of customer acquisition and the safest way to get in touch with new potential customers. Asking for consumers’ consent before contacting them makes them feel safe, heard, and respected in their decision to share their personal info, and also protects advertisers against TCPA-related issues. A win-win situation.

To this regard, ActiveProspect is a leading solution when it comes to providing proof of consent, making consent-based marketing the best channel for consumer acquisition. If you’d like to learn more about consent-based marketing, read this article: Consent & permission-based marketing: definitions and benefits.

Cookieless tracking & retargeting

Another workaround that can help advertisers overcome the issue of third-party cookies phasing out is cookieless retargeting.

Basically, you track some user data on your own website that doesn’t require third-party tracking pixels or cookies, and then share that user data directly with Facebook – and other advertising platforms – without using the pixel. This way, you’re sending data from your server to Facebook, allowing for retargeting to still happen.

If, on the other hand, you want to use a pixel to get a deeper insight into your customers, you can still use Facebook Conversions API to track online and offline conversions. To learn more about the Facebook Pixel and Facebook Conversions API, check out this article: Everything you need to know about Facebook Conversions API.

LeadsBridge automates the connection between your CRM and advertising platforms, to share data automatically and in real time. Take a look at some of our most popular integrations.

If you’d like to learn more about cookieless retargeting, take a look at these articles

Cookieless future solutions and alternatives

While the workarounds we presented above are valid cookieless future solutions, they can only be temporary. But do not fret! Some permanent solutions and alternatives are already in the works.

Google cookieless future

In 2020, Google announced its intention to phase out support for third-party cookies in its Chrome browser by 2024. As a result, Google has introduced the Privacy Sandbox initiative, which aims to develop privacy-preserving alternatives to third-party cookies. This includes technologies like Federated Learning of Cohorts (FLoC) and other cohort-based approaches.

Overall, Google’s cookieless future reflects a broader industry shift towards greater user privacy and data protection. However, it also presents significant challenges and opportunities for advertisers, publishers, and users alike as they navigate the evolving digital landscape.

Facebook cookieless future

Facebook Conversions API (CAPI) is a tool provided by Facebook that allows advertisers to send data directly from their servers to Facebook’s servers, bypassing the need for browser-based tracking methods like the Facebook Pixel. It works by sending HTTP requests containing event data, such as purchases or leads, directly to Facebook’s servers.

Browser-based tracking methods can sometimes be unreliable due to issues like ad blockers, cookie deletion, or browser restrictions. By bypassing these mechanisms and sending data directly from the backend systems, the Conversions API offers more accurate and reliable tracking of conversions.

Overall, Facebook’s cookieless future offers a privacy-compliant, reliable, and cross-device tracking solution for measuring the effectiveness of advertising campaigns.

Conclusion 

We have to come to terms with the fact that a cookieless future is upon us. On the one hand, we understand the consumers’ need to safeguard their data and privacy, but on the other hand we know how difficult it will be for advertisers to effectively do their job.

How to prepare then? Look for cookieless future solutions that do not require third-party cookies and solely rely on first-party cookies, hoping that a more permanent solution will come up, eventually.

In the meantime, LeadsBridge is here to help you navigate a cookieless world, with automated, real-time integrations.

Check out all available integrations for Facebook Conversions API!

Marialuisa Aldeghi

Marialuisa brings a wealth of expertise to the table as an accomplished content writer and creator with years of experience in the B2B digital marketing landscape. After getting her Bachelor’s Degree in Foreign Languages and Literatures in Milan, she got a dual Master’s Degree in Communication in both Italy and the U.S. Her dynamic background has shaped her into a true cosmopolitan spirit with an appetite for adventure. Don't be fooled by her wanderlust though - she enjoys peaceful evenings at home just as much.

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