Date posted

18 Jun 2024

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Preparing for a world without third-party cookies
Essential solutions for marketers

Third-party cookies have long been a staple in the digital marketing toolkit, enabling cross-site identification for audience targeting through platforms such as Google Ads and Meta.

The landscape of digital privacy is evolving rapidly, driven by regulations such as GDPR. Consequently, third-party cookies are being phased out.

Why is this important?

Web browsers have been proactive in this shift towards greater privacy. 

Safari and Firefox have blocked third-party cookies by default for several years already. Chrome, the world’s most popular browser with a 66% user share globally, is set to follow suit by early 2025. 

Given the large user share that Chrome holds, coupled with Chrome being the last of the major web browsers to block third-party cookies, it will mean a major shift in how audience data is collected and utilised within marketing platforms from early 2025.

How? Well, the default blocking of third-party cookies in Chrome will significantly reduce the volume of audience and conversion data available within marketing platforms. 

The reduced pool of data in-platform introduces biases into platform algorithms, which degrades their performance and effectiveness over time in finding audiences.

Marketers must therefore act now to prepare for a future without third-party cookies. 

Fortunately, several alternative measurement solutions exist within the marketing platforms. These are designed to provide effective audience tracking and campaign performance assessment without the use of third-party cookies. 

Below are four critical measurement solutions to adopt as soon as possible. These solutions all work largely independently of each other, so we recommend you adopt all four to maximise your data collection in-platform.

Enhanced Conversions

Enhanced Conversions is a solution provided by Google Ads and Bing that works by securely matching hashed first-party data collected from user interactions on lead forms or web conversion pages. 

This solution ensures that conversions reported in-platform are supplemented with first-party data collection methods, instead of relying on third-party cookies.

Enhanced Conversion solutions are available for web conversion pages and lead forms, providing wide coverage across different business types.

Consent Mode

Google’s Consent Mode adjusts the behaviour of Google Tags based on consent status provided by the user. There are two levels of setup:

  • Basic Set-up: The basic set-up of Consent Mode uses the consent status of a user to determine whether data can be sent to Google for advertising or remarketing purposes. If a user denies consent, no data is sent. 
  • Advanced Set-up: With an advanced set-up of Consent Mode, when consent is denied, cookieless pings are sent instead. The cookieless pings are then statistically modelled to estimate conversion volumes, providing a solution to track conversions in-platform while respecting user privacy choices and not using third-party cookies.

Conversions API (CAPI)

The Conversions API (CAPI) solution is available across Meta, LinkedIn and other social media platforms. 

CAPI works by data being collected and sent to the marketing platforms server-side, rather than through third-party cookies in a web browser. 

We recommend using a tag management platform such as server-side Google Tag Manager to manage your server-side tracking capabilities across multiple platforms in a single place and in a scalable way.

The CAPI solution offers a server-side approach to data collection, ensuring data is collected and sent to marketing platforms via a method that does not involve third-party cookies.

Privacy Sandbox

Google’s Privacy Sandbox offers a suite of privacy-friendly API solutions designed to replace data collection methods using third-party cookies, enabling privacy-safe measurement of campaign performance.

Some of the solutions in privacy sandbox include:

Act now, time is running out!

Time is running out, and now is the time to act. 

As third-party cookies become blocked in Chrome by early 2025, it is crucial to implement the cookieless measurement solutions above right away. Being proactive will ensure your marketing efforts remain effective with evolving privacy standards.

Speak to us for advice on becoming measurement ready in a world without third-party cookies. We are here to help you navigate this significant transition and ensure your marketing strategies continue to thrive using cookieless measurement solutions.