Trust in the Cookieless Future: Strategies for Enhancing Data Privacy

Trust in the Cookieless Future: Strategies for Enhancing Data Privacy

As the digital landscape undergoes a fundamental transformation with the demise of third-party cookies, businesses must adapt and navigate the cookieless future to thrive in the online realm. In this article, we will focus on significant insights and strategies to help businesses stay ahead of the game and maintain effective targeting and personalization.

Back in 2020, Google first announced that it will start phasing out third-party cookies - a move that caused quite a stir in the marketing and advertising industry. Cookies had become a significant element for years, as it helps track user behavior across multiple websites. But because of shifting marketing priorities and data privacy concerns, a cookieless future is the most viable option for organizations to take.

And while this change has been delayed by Google many times since 2020, advertisers and marketers are certainly not waiting for the inevitable. Businesses had started rethinking the way they connect and understand their customers. As it turned out, enterprises are discovering that this shift may not be as bad as they thought.

Why Phasing Out Third-Party Cookies Is Not That Bad

Major changes in any industry will rightfully cause concerns. But as with any other development, change can actually be a good thing. Here are three reasons why phasing out third-party cookies is not exactly a bad move for your business.

  • Stronger customer-brand relationships.

84% of consumers care about their privacy and want more control over how their data is being used. Implementing data privacy-related changes, such as cookieless data collection, builds trust among customers. This trust, in turn, can evolve into brand loyalty in the long haul.

  • Connections with anonymous users.

According to Ogilvy, known users are mostly deemed as any organization’s customers or users. They are your brand’s most loyal and active consumers, but they are only a small part of your company’s audience. Extending your reach to anonymous users can help boost revenue and customer retention. 

Known Users vs. Anonymous Users: Who Are They?

Known Users. These are individuals who provide information and actively take action on your brand’s website. 

Anonymous Users. These are individuals who take action on your website but does not provide information and continues as a guest.

  • Innovative marketing solutions

The best ideas sometimes come up during the least ideal situations. The cookieless future can be a window of opportunity to discover more clever and creative ways to market to your customers. Indeed, this shift will test your ability to navigate and adapt to challenges in the face of another industry disruption.

How Your Business Can Thrive in the Cookieless Future

Google’s delay is a great opportunity - as it provides more time for companies to make a strategic pivot to better tools and practices without third-party cookies involved. Here are four action plans your organization can adopt to survive and thrive in the cookieless age of marketing and advertising.

1. Leverage zero-party and first-party data collection.

The demise of third-party cookies is not the end of all cookies. You still have first-party cookies which can help provide significant data analytics based on website traffic. Another source of customer data is zero-party data, which is a more personalized and privacy-conscious alternative.

Zero-party and first-party data: What Are They?

Zero-party data. Any information that customers directly share with your brand. It can be communications or app subscriptions, survey responses, or customer service interactions.

First-party data. Any information that you gather from digital channels with a request for user consent. It can be product and communications preferences, or browsing permissions.

To leverage how you collect first-party data, optimize your customer engagement platform. Implement clear and concise preference statements and options for your customers, so they are more likely to engage or consent to action.

On the other note, you can improve your zero-party data collection by using in-app or web polls, quick online surveys, and other voluntary tools. Remember to clarify to your customers how or which of their data will be used to establish a smart, consent-forward data collection system.

2. Maximize contextual AI technology.

Contextual targeting plays a vital role in a cookieless environment. You can effectively reach target audiences who are already interested in your products and services, without the need for tracking user behavior. But it also has its challenges - such as controlling where ads are displayed or sometimes providing irrelevant content.

To solve these issues, most international brands are using contextual AI technology. Compared to traditional contextual advertising, this innovation can enable you to not just target using keywords but also use in and out-of-context phrases to make targeting more accurate, personalized, and privacy-compliant to GPDR and CCPA.   

3. Invest in second-party data partnerships.

Thriving in the cookieless future doesn’t mean that you have to do it all alone. Work with other brands for second-party data exchange. Second-party data can help you expand your customer reach and increase customer acquisition across a network of companies. But to maximize these benefits, you must find the right data partnership for your business.

Data Partnerships: Which Suits Your Brand the Most?

  • Private partnership

Two companies share first-party data. This is best for enterprises with highly-sensitive information or who already have established strong partnerships.

  • Data co-ops

Three or more companies that share data. This is best for companies that have related products and services.

  • Walled gardens

A mixture of the two other types of partnerships. This is best for organizations that prefer direct, one-to-one data relationships that include data from other partners.

4. Build valuable authentication practices. 

The best way to acquire data from your customers is to ask for it. But it has to be done right. Start by evaluating your present authentication practices. Does it offer any value to your customers? The data that you have acquired for them should be used to improve the customer experience - and that change should reflect on your products and services.

Aside from value-based authentication strategies, it is also best to review if the authentication prompts are in an appropriate place in the customer journey. Should it be at the start of a survey or below the Check Out option of their purchase? Experts recommend testing several options to determine a prompt’s placement.


Leading organizations know that the longer they wait to make changes, the heavier the toll will be on their business. The time to implement cookieless tactics is now. Use Google’s delay as an opportunity to test and optimize your strategies. So if third-party cookies are finally out of the door, your business will be ready.


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Image Sources

Smartphone. Photo by Franck on Unsplash.

Customers. Photo by John Schnobrich on Unsplash.

Handshake. Photo by Ketut Subiyanto. 

Graphs. Photo by Pixabay.

CXO Connect Middle East Team