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Third-Party Cookies’ Days Are Numbered. Will Addressable Marketing Replace Them?

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Faced with growing demand for consumer privacy and new legislation, Google has been floating the idea of disabling third-party cookies for a few years now. In fact, in January 2024, Google rolled out a test of “Tracking Protection” which disabled third-party cookies for about 1% of global Chrome users. 

It now looks like 2025 will be the year that plan finally comes to fruition. On April 23, 2024, the company announced in a blog post that it “will not complete third-party cookie deprecation during the second half of Q4 [2024],” as previously planned, but will delay the move until sometime in 2025. Regardless of when Google makes the move, companies can expect to see more and more website visitors with third-party cookies disabled. 

Why you need a back-up plan… now 

Digital marketing has relied heavily on third-party cookies — which are data packets saved by web browsers for tracking a user’s online behavior and preferences. In a sense, cookies have basically powered organizations’ digital strategies, enabling them to send personalized marketing messages to consumers as they spend time online. 

Cookie deprecation requires a big-time shift in how marketers advertise their products and services online, but not all is lost. Solutions that tap the power of first-party data can enable addressability — without encroaching on consumer privacy. 

With cookies on their way out, companies need to act now to deploy such solutions. If they do, they’ll experience less of a disruption as Google continues to phase out third-party cookies. 

Filling the third-party cookie void with identity resolution

One answer to cookie deprecation is identity resolution — a process of pulling online activity and information from multiple data sources and devices, and building a single consumer profile — enables organizations to deliver relevant messaging throughout the customer journey.

Platforms, such as TransUnion TruAudience®,  don’t rely on third-party cookies in traditional web browsers for insights. Instead, they pull first-party data from device IDs, IP addresses and other signals before resolving them to a unified identity graph. Like cookies, identity resolution can match digital activity to a user or household, enabling you to continue to send personalized, targeted messaging without cookies.

First-party data vs. third-party cookies — which one wins?

In a matchup, a first-party data strategy powered by an identity solution is the clear winner over a data strategy relying on third-party cookies.  

First-party data: 

  • Provides improved targeting accuracy. While third-party data comes from a wide range of sources, first-party datasets are built from your direct interactions with consumers, such as their purchase histories and website behaviors. That means you’re working with cleaner, more accurate and robust data — so you can tailor your messaging, product offerings and content to match more closely with an individual consumer’s preferences and needs. Ultimately, you increase both engagement and conversions. 

  • Offers a more holistic view of consumers. With identity solutions, you can connect signals across channels and devices and fill in information gaps, helping you build precise audience segments, reach more consumers, and deliver the right marketing messages to the right people at the right time. 

  • Enables smarter decision-making. When you can harness and receive actionable insights from data across all your channels, including capturing customer feedback and usage patterns, you can proactively make decisions that improve the business. Whether that’s enhancing existing products, services or processes, or developing entirely new ones that better meet client expectations. 

  • Ensures a better user experience. Personalization — in other words, presenting solutions and services that people actually want or need when they want or need them — dramatically boosts the overall shopping and buying experience. But with an identity solution, you also free consumers from the annoying cookie pop-ups on your website. In a world where mere seconds can make a huge difference, eliminating that friction when a consumer first visits your website can go a long way. 

How identity eases privacy concerns

Consumers are increasingly concerned about the digital trail they leave online, and they — and governments and other authorities — are taking steps to protect their privacy. 

Unlike third-party cookies that rely on persistent identifiers, privacy-first identity resolution solutions rely on persistent pseudonymized personal identifiers. That means you can capture and share consumer data while preventing unauthorized tracking and other activities that put privacy at risk.   

Additionally, because identity solutions create a single consumer record, it makes it easier for you to follow through on consumers’ requests to see or delete the data you have on them. It also makes it possible to ensure you cease communication with them across all your digital channels when necessary. 

Cookies are going… going… gone

Don’t wait until third-party cookies are completely obsolete before you put a new data strategy in place. Start preparing now.

TruAudience is here to replace them 

Watch this short video to learn how the TruAudience suite of privacy-first identity resolution, data enrichment, audience targeting and advanced analytics solutions can help you navigate this year’s cookie deprecation. Or, if you want to see it in action, schedule a demo today.

Do you have questions? Our team is ready to help.