The Way Third Party Cookies Finally Crumble

May 17, 2024
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    For the past couple of years, Google has loomed the idea of getting rid of third-party cookies over our head. As of the beginning of this year, Google began testing its new privacy features and stopped the use of third-party cookies in the Google Chrome browser for 1% of users, joining a growing list of web browsers ditching the notorious tracking technology. With this announcement, they gave us a more concrete date for phasing out cookies… early 2025. Of course, this may not be firm, and may (yet again) be pushed back further. But what does that mean for all of us? Here at Stirista, we’re not too concerned about the loss of third-party cookies, as we’ve always been built to not just operate, but thrive, without cookies. 

    In a way, we’re all in a bit of a grace period right now. All marketers are in the same boat, so it’s not like your audit and testing are putting you at a competitive disadvantage. In fact, the opposite is true. By better understanding your current cookie profile, and by testing the range of existing and emerging possibilities, you’re strengthening your flexibility for whatever lies ahead. Currently, more than half of marketing companies are unprepared for a future without third-party cookies fueling a significant portion of their advertising. This means that marketers are ferociously on the hunt to identify solutions that will be able to fill the eventual gap left by cookies. The loss of third-party cookies is estimated to initially cut advertiser revenue by 70%. Though, it is still unclear how and if this revenue is recuperable with the current cohort of alternatives proposed by Google and other media companies, and other substitutes like universal ID solutions and IP address targeting. A lot of these solutions, like Google’s, are still in the nascent stages of development and implementation. This is a clear sign to marketers that they need to pick up the pace in building infrastructure to thrive when little but crumbs remain of digital cookies. Because of this, 60% of marketers believe they’ll need multiple identity solutions to thrive in a post-cookie world. 

    Fear not, because better alternatives for OTT, CTV, and Email targeting are emerging to help fill the potential cracks before they start to form. There are privacy-compliant user tracking alternatives like Google’s Topics, Universal IDs, and IP Address targeting. Google’s Topics will function by assigning a group of topics to each user based on their browsing habits (such as “Concerts” or “Camping Gear”) with a new one added each week for a total of five of the most recent topics a user has browsed, along with a sixth random topic included to prevent personal identification. Unlike FLoC, which grouped people with similar browsing habits together, Topics focuses on the individual, but with less particularities.  Universal ID solutions, alternatively, offer a standardized ID that all participating companies can harness to identify consumers across the web. First-party and offline data can be used to create a Universal ID for a user, which can then be used to target that individual across devices and serve them with relevant ads. Identity graphs and ID solutions function in tandem to help an advertiser launch the right email campaigns, choose the right display advertising, and engage in customer acquisition. With IP Address targeting, you target a consumer or business by using their IP address. They are used in tandem with cookies to enable a more “personal”  type of filtering. For example, you could filter by job type, seniority, location, and many more specific identifiers. More recently, IP intelligence has been honed to a household level targeting, as a direct result of the rise in CTV and OTT advertising. IP solutions built utilizing a combination of business and household IP signals can provide a unique combination of business, business persona and consumer demographics for targeted marketing.  

    How is Stirista poised to handle all of this? Well, we’ve always seen cookies as a bit outdated, clunky, and a tool that can easily give you misleading data points and privacy issues. We don’t use cookies as there’s better and more accurate technology as well as data solution methods. It all begins with email, which is, for the most part, cookieless. Stirista was built as an email marketing company, and it’s still in everything that we do. We get so much of  the information you need about a customer from their email address. We built infrastructure around email as that is the most persistent identifier. Encrypted or hashed email addresses are the most persistent method of matching an individual and helping brands build customer relationship campaigns around email. The connections continue to grow; after 90 days, IP gets purged, and purged emails are not used. We are notified of address changes. Not to mention that we are also a 1st party data provider. We take the observed data and, with processing steps, make it our own. We can use first-party client data as an input file. Our data and client data are NOT co-mingled. Because of this, we are able to mix together our own blend of unique identifiers to help reach the ideal audience.

    Third-party cookie deprecation is an opportunity to take a step back and figure out what a sustainable marketing model would look like for you or your clients. Though they may not be disappearing anytime soon, it will likely affect you when they do. Luckily,  Stirista is already adapted, and here to help!