Marketing in a Cookie-Less World

 What strategies are developing for marketers to deal with the cookie's eventual demise?

Data is always evolving — and our relationship to it is especially fraught right now. What used to be endless oceans of data is now going to be more limited; while this is unsettling for marketers, in that strategy around data compilation and analyzation is changing, this is a boon for consumers.

A new era of privacy and security is here, and for good reason: Consumers deserve to have their privacy and information protected. Collecting customer data will still result in revenue growth as a result of identity profiles aggregated by brands; the process may just look different.

The point is fostering trust in how the data will be used and compiled. Consumers, for instance, are more inclined to provide personal information in exchange for discounts, pre-releases, or to enroll in loyalty programs.

Denise Dresser, EVP and CRO of sales, comms, media and high tech at Salesforce, wrote for ANA how zero-party data is essential for marketers — and is an easy way for companies to adhere to regulation laws: "Zero-party data is information that a consumer intentionally and proactively shares with companies. It includes specific details about purchase intentions, personal context, and how individuals want brands to recognize them. This differs slightly from first-party data, information a company has collected on its own about consumers, without explicit consent, such as their website viewing habits and purchase histories.

When combined, zero- and first-party data offer a powerful alternative to third-party cookies for understanding customer preferences and intentions. And this is no longer a nice-to-have but a must-have given new privacy regulations that have been instituted to ease customer suspicions about brands invading their privacy."

Below are resources on measuring success, collecting data, and building consumer identity profiles in a cookieless world.

Trends and Best Practices

  • A Modern Marketer's Guide to Identity and Privacy in a Post-Cookie World. ANA/Goodway, May 2022.
    This guide from Goodway Group seeks to assuage marketers' fears and deliver answers to their most complex challenges in a post-cookie world. It covers current and future privacy regulations and how they'll affect advertisers, a toolkit to help marketers identify and reach audiences in the absence of cookies, and a comprehensive glossary of identity-related terms.

  • Can Advertising Be Just as Sweet Without Third-Party Cookies? ANA, March 2022.
    Like it or not, the cookie-less world is coming. Under pressure from privacy advocates and regulatory bodies, major browsers such as Google Chrome and Apple Safari are expected to phase out these tiny nuggets of behavior-tracking code by 2023.

    So, what's a nervous marketer to do? There isn't much choice. Rather than gambling on a new industry standard miraculously appearing, they need to double down on zero- and first-party data. When combined, zero- and first-party data offer a powerful alternative to third-party cookies for understanding customer preferences and intentions. And this is no longer a nice-to-have but a must-have given new privacy regulations that have been instituted to ease customer suspicions about brands invading their privacy.
  • The Value of First-Party Data and Alternative IDs. ANA, March 2022.
    Acxiom's Linda Harrison shared insights into how brands can respond to the looming deprecation of third-party cookies.

  • Addressability Solutions for a Cookie-less World. ANA/LiveIntent, December 2021.
    With the "cookie-pocalypse" underway, publishers and advertisers now must reinvent the way they identify and reach their audiences across the web. Thankfully, there's a range of unique solutions out there to help businesses optimize addressability and reap the benefits of this new age of targeting. Here, LiveIntent explains what you need to know.

  • New Meal Plan for Marketers. ANA, October 2021.
    When Google announced last summer that it was delaying the end of third-party cookies until mid-to-late 2023, a collective sigh of relief could be heard throughout the world. But marketers who let things fester could end up getting burned. However, for most businesses, putting things off when it comes to cookies is truly counterproductive. Procrastination is human nature, of course. But that doesn't make it any less of a threat to marketers' well-being. For CMOs tempted to let another year or more elapse until they start thinking about alternative cookies strategies, here are five reasons to stay the course and prepare for a cookie-less future:
    • Marketers must face reality
    • The cookie-free web is already here
    • Customers are watching closely
    • There's an opportunity to create an experience-led organization
    • Keeping up with technology
  • Ad-Effectiveness and Efficiencies in a Cookie-Less Market. ANA, June 2021.
    In a digital world with third-party unique identifier access being taken away, it can be difficult to measure effectiveness. However, proper measurement with existing transactional data can be used to optimize supply paths and eliminate 30 percent of budget waste. Marketers are working to ensure that ad-effectiveness is not seriously hindered by the loss of open third-party cookies and data exchanges. In this session, learn how 100 percent measurement with existing and reliable transactional data can maintain proper ad effectiveness and delivery efficiency without risking violation of regulatory and industry rules around user data utilization.

  • Don't Guess, Ask: How Quiz Commerce Answers the Challenges of a Cookie-Free World. ANA, May 2021.
    While the industry is experiencing quite a bit of flux, one constant remains: the consumer may not know what a cookie is, or why they must accept them, but they do understand the tradeoff between advertising and free and low-cost access to content. But they've made it clear from the beginning that they expect to see real value in the bargain. The marketing and advertising tactics that will succeed are those that sit in at the intersection of consumer control, e-commerce everywhere, and value velocity. Quiz marketing, meaning the gamification of consumer conversations and interactions, meets all three of these criteria, while enabling the brand to collect first-party data. Many brands have already leveraged it to drive tangible business outcomes.



  • Are B2B Brands Ready for a Privacy-First World? ANA, March 2022.
    Marketers are adapting to dramatic changes in the online-privacy landscape, as regulatory and industry forces are changing how companies leverage consumer data for marketing purposes. Regulations like Europe's GDPR and California's CCPA limit how data is collected and stored, while new laws are in the works. Meanwhile, Apple and Google are phasing out third-party cookies, limiting marketers' ability to track consumers as they traverse the web. The writing is on the wall, but most companies aren't ready for a privacy-first world.

    According to the Interactive Advertising Bureau's IAB State of Data Initiative 2022, 77 percent of respondents claim to be prepared for the loss of cookies and identifiers, but most are not taking the necessary steps to adapt their data approaches and operations. The study, based on the responses from 204 industry leaders across brands, agencies, publishers, advertising technology, and data companies, also found that 69 percent of business professionals are not increasing their use of artificial intelligence, 66 percent are not adjusting their measurement strategies, and 59 percent are not increasing their investment in first-party data.

  • Why B2B Has Different Challenges in the Post-Cookie World. ANA, December 2021.
    Alarmist takes on privacy changes and policy updates have equated these changes to an apocalypse for digital advertising. While no company will be immune to any of these changes, the impact will be felt differently across the ecosystem. Case in point is the loss of cookies, which will be experienced quite differently by different companies, and even in different sectors.

    Cookies are already used quite differently in B2B advertising than they are in B2C. High-frequency, return-to-your-abandoned-shopping-cart retargeting is simply not in play for B2B companies, not because they're unaware, but because it simply doesn't align with the B2B purchase funnel. B2B marketers will fare quite differently in a post-cookie world, largely because they already face different challenges than their B2C peers.

Webinars and Podcasts

  • The Cookie Is Dead, Long Live the Cookie. ANA, September 2021.
    The gradual end of third-party cookies — the software marketers use to track people's online activity to tailor specific advertisements — is upending the world of addressable media. While Google's Chrome apps won't go away until 2023, the squeeze is on CMOs and marketers to craft new online ad targeting strategies based on first-party-data, as opposed to third-party data provided by the cookies. The growing demand for consumer privacy online is at the heart of the changes. But that doesn't necessarily mean that brands and organizations are going to have to ask permission from every single person they want to engage.

    Matthew Schwartz, host of ANA Champions of Growth podcast, was joined by Joe Zawadzki, CEO of MediaMath; Joanna O'Connell, VP-principal analyst at Forrester research, and Bill Tucker, Group Executive Vice President at the ANA, and Executive Director for the Partnership for Responsible Addressable Media, or PRAM, to discuss what a cookie-less world means for marketers and how they get ahead of it.


  • ANA Legal Webinar: Are You Prepared for a Cookie-less Future? ANA, July 2021.
    Although the cookie now faces a slower and prolonged death — by the end of 2023 as opposed to the end of this year — cookie alternatives already exist in the market today, and their prevalence will no doubt increase as new privacy regulations approach and as the market responds to privacy-focused consumers and organizations. This webinar will empower you to understand and anticipate the issues arising out of your organization's pivot toward a cookie-less strategy.

  • Safeguarding Your Digital Campaigns for a Cookie-less World. ANA, June 2021.
    With the imminent removal of third-party cookies and mobile IDs (MAIDS), the world of digital advertising will enter unchartered waters. Because there is no single piece of technology that can replace cookies and MAIDs, this new world will be much more complicated with media buying and measurement fragmented across multiple ID spaces.

    With that, a whole new set of challenges emerge for the digital marketer: how to provide an accurate view of reach, frequency, and attribution across multiple identity spaces; how to assemble a single, consolidated view of the customer journey across multiple, disparate datasets; and how to personalize creative in the absence of cookies. This webinar explains:
    • The latest developments in the adtech "IdentityScape" and the emerging complications
    • The measurement and attribution challenges that arise when media buying is fragmented across multiple ID spaces
    • How to assess "identity risk" across your digital marketing initiatives
    • How to respect the privacy rights of consumers while meeting your requirements for targeting and measurement
    • Steps marketers should take today to safeguard their campaigns

The Marketing Knowledge Center actively connects ANA members to the resources they need to be successful. You can visit the ANA website to engage with the MKC in three ways.

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"Marketing in a Cookie-Less World." ANA, 2022.