written by Samuel Tetens, Senior Marketing Data Analyst, Generator Media + Analytics

December 2020


Since the late 90’s, third-party cookies have enabled marketers to track consumers across websites, collecting detailed demographic and behavioral data to retarget them across multiple channels.


Earlier this year, Google announced the “Privacy Sandbox” initiative to remove third-party cookies over the next two years on web browsers, including Chrome and Safari which comprise about 75% of total web browser market share. This was not unexpected; societal pressures surrounding data integrity and web privacy have increased dramatically over the past few years, and consumers are demanding more control over how and where their online data is collected.


Should I be worried?


Not at all. Although this development will change how agencies and marketers gather data, third-party cookies aren’t everything! Emerging tech will continue to fuel highly targeted and relevant marketing in the digital arena. Of note:

  1. We’ll still be able to track user data through first-party cookies. An article from HubSpot states, “any first-party data you gain from your website’s visitors on all browsers will remain intact.”
  2. Though individual targeting will be phased out, Google’s Federated Learning of Cohorts (FloC) is a new platform that allows targeted ads to be served to groups of people with similar interests. FloC is expected to launch during the phase-out of third-party cookies.
  3. Another option for collecting audience data is Device Fingerprinting. This aptly named platform gathers data by tracking user activity based on their devices. Data is sourced from a mixture of a user’s IP address, HTTP request headers, timestamps, and other signifiers.


New Practices


While data collection methods evolve, we’ll be capitalizing on other emerging digital advertising forms:

  • Contextual Advertising: According to a blog post from Invoca, more ads will be served based on real-time viewing, as marketers shift their emphasis on relevant users to relevant
  • People-Based Targeting: In addition to contextual advertising, we expect to see increased leveraging of first-party data, e.g., assigning a unique ID across a user’s known devices. When these IDs are matched back to a user, marketers can serve appropriate content based on prior purchases.


Now What?


As we adapt to new digital marketing practices, Generator will continue our due diligence to ensure that all our partners and vendors are privacy compliant. We’ll also explore how they are addressing the loss of third-party cookie data with alternatives that are efficient, effective, and in the best interest of our clients.


Additional Resources

  • For more on 3rd party cookies, please reference the article here.
  • For more on Google’s response, please reference the article here.
  • For more on Device Fingerprinting, please reference the article here.