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The Final Crumbs: Third-Party Cookies Poised to End in 2024

In the fast-paced world of digital marketing, one slow-moving change has been on every marketer’s mind for the past few years: The end of third-party cookies.

Despite their long-standing role in digital advertising, mounting privacy concerns led tech giants like Google to set their third-party cookie retirement plans as early as 2022, only to push that timeline back time and time again.

Now, in 2024, we’re finally starting to see the cookie crumble–forcing marketers to really think about what this deprecation means for business. But there’s no need for alarm. In fact, this shift is more of an opportunity than a setback. Our digital marketing specialists are here to bring you up to speed, explaining what’s happening, what it means for advertising, and what you can do to prepare.

How We Got Here: The Deprecation of Third-Party Cookies

What exactly are cookies?

For decades, cookies—those small bytes of data nestled in your browser—have quietly played a vital role in the online world. They’re the magic ingredient behind your favorite websites, remembering your preferences, ensuring you stay logged in, and enabling advertisers to tailor their ads just for you. Picture them as digital breadcrumbs guiding your journey through the vast expanse of the internet.

Why are third-party cookies going away?

Worries about safeguarding data have led major browsers, including Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, and Apple Safari, to gradually eliminate support for third-party cookies. These cookies, frequently used to track individuals across various sites, have raised concerns about their potential to compromise user privacy.

Welcoming a Cookie-Less Future in 2024

When are third-party cookies ending?

After a series of changing deadlines, Google officially started the process of phasing out third-party cookies in January. They began with just 1% of users, which may seem small, but actually affects about 30 million people globally.

And the big news? Google plans to completely retire third-party cookies by the end of the year. While we won’t hold our breath, what remains true is that what many doubted would ever come to pass is now becoming a reality.

Our Advice? Stay Calm and Market On

As a team deeply immersed in the digital realm, we firmly believe that this change shouldn’t spark panic among marketers—and this has been our stance since 2021.

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In reality, the primary group affected by the phasing out of third-party cookies are companies that sell third-party data. They typically gather user information from various websites via cookies to construct comprehensive profiles used for advertising and analytics. With the deprecation of third-party cookies, the ability to track users across different websites will be significantly hindered, thereby limiting the data available for sale.

How to Prepare for the End of Google’s Third-Party Cookies

The discontinuation of third-party cookies doesn’t signify the downfall of online tracking or targeted advertising. Rather, it indicates a shift toward alternative strategies that strike a balance between personalized experiences and upholding user privacy and consent.

A fresh batch of emerging technologies and strategies

To successfully navigate the new cookie-less future, savvy marketers need to consider their current practices and new strategies. Our digital marketing strategists recommend that brands:

  • Prioritize first-party (and zero-party) data: Invest in methods that obtain information about your targets with their consent, such as newsletters, website interactions, and gated content, which can help you develop detailed audience personas and further improve targeting on social and programmatic platforms.
  • Utilize contextual targeting: This approach tailors your messaging based on the content of the webpage rather than relying on individual user data, ensuring that your ads resonate. For example, a financial institution might promote its home loan offerings on real estate websites or youth accounts on family-oriented websites.
  • Explore alternative tracking tech: Stay informed about emerging tracking technologies such as FLoC and AI-driven solutions that prioritize user privacy.
  • Enhance data privacy practices: Transparency and consent are crucial elements, and reinforcing these measures on your business’ website will help maintain positive relationships with your target audiences.

Satisfy Your Marketing Cravings in a Post-Cookie World

Austin Williams is here to help you navigate the evolving digital marketing landscape in 2024 and beyond. With our customized solutions and top-level digital expertise, you can enhance your marketing strategy and reach your business objectives—even as third-party cookies become a thing of the past. Let’s chat!


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