The other shoe has dropped – by the end of 2024, Google will have eliminated third-party cookies from its Chrome browser. With the grand exit of one of digital marketers’ biggest targeting tools, solutions are lining up to fill the gap and crown themselves the next big thing.
According to a March 2023 Adobe study, 75% of marketers still heavily rely on third-party cookies for targeting and measurement – this needs to change. Large companies like Google are eliminating cookies from their platforms because consumers are putting their foot down. No longer are users willing to freely exchange their personal information for access to products and services; they want more than product or monetary value in return – they want security.
Even more than they value privacy, customers demand and have come to expect security. In choosing a new approach to user targeting, privacy, consent, and data security should be at the top of every marketer’s priority list going into this new age. After all, the reason third-party cookies are leaving is to protect internet users’ privacy.
Marketers have a wide range of targeting strategies at their fingertips that respect the privacy of consumers while providing them with the necessary data to create meaningful experiences for their audiences. Since warning bells have been ringing for so long, trailblazers have already found fantastic new approaches, each with their benefits.
It is exciting to watch which of these strategies establishes itself as the frontrunner in the race to fill the void cookies have left behind – or if a combination of strategies will provide a more balanced approach going forward.
Four key cookieless marketing strategies
With contextual targeting, marketers can target users based on the content they consume, including text, video, and audio content. This data lets marketers personalize ads similarly to how they would using third-party cookies but with user privacy top of mind. You can create effective personalization without infringing on the consumer’s privacy.
Browser APIs provide marketers with invaluable insights to optimize user engagement and facilitate interest-based marketing campaigns. Chrome’s browser API recognizes and tracks topics of interest based on browsing activities over a three-week period. Marketers can then use this data to generate tailored ads according to browsing habits; consumers can feel safer knowing there’s no permanent data storage of their browsing habits.
Device fingerprinting stores information through a unique fingerprint to track user behavior across devices and websites; this lets marketers understand users’ desires and interests, giving them an overall picture of behavior without divulging private information since device fingerprinting relies on machine and network identifiers rather than individuals.
Identity graphs use AI to group identifiers into individuals and households to create profiles. These profiles can then target users without gathering unconsented personal information. Major companies are already on board the identity graph train. TransUnion announced a new and improved identity graph on their platform in January. It estimates that the new graph should increase marketable phone numbers by 25% and marketable IP addresses by 54%.
The future of targeting relies on consent-gathered information and privacy-protected profiles. While there is no one solution to replace third-party cookies, yet, there are several options marketer can lean on to create the personalized experiences their customers love.
For marketers looking for an in-depth look into cookieless marketing, be sure to check out our full cookieless marketing guide.