How to prepare for third party cookies going away

  • by Osano Staff
  • · posted on May 16, 2022
  • · 4 min read
How to prepare for third party cookies going away

Marketers love cookies. And we’re not just talking about the straight-out-of-the-oven Nestlé Toll House chocolate chip kind. For nearly 30 years, marketers have employed third-party cookies to support their advertising strategies and boost sales.

With third-party cookies going away at the end of 2024, everything is about to change. As a marketer, are you prepared for the cookieless future? Our previous blogs introduced you to what third-party cookies are and how first-party cookies and zero-party data might replace them. In this blog, we’ll give a more in-depth look at how you can prepare for the phaseout.

How to prepare for a cookieless future

In 2019, the Pew Research Center published the results of a poll revealing how Americans feel about data privacy. In it, 81% of the respondents say the potential risks of a company collecting data about them outweigh the benefits, and 79% worry about how companies use their data.

With the death of third-party cookies, marketers are concerned. A 2020 study by Epsilon revealed that nearly 80% of marketers rely on third-party cookies for their digital advertising needs.

Can the third-party phaseout be a win-win for consumers and companies? Absolutely! There are several ways to promote consumers’ peace of mind and build trust while collecting data ethically and transparently.

Implement a first-party cookie strategy

The purpose of third-party cookies is to provide a more personal user experience. A properly-implemented first-party cookie strategy can yield similar results while increasing trust.

First-party cookies are text files generated and stored on a website visitor’s computer to enhance user experience. This data includes remembering items in a shopping cart, passwords, language and location settings, how often they visit, and other basic analytics.

A study by McKinsey & Company showed that 66% of customers are willing to share personal data in exchange for additional value. Observing consumer behavior and using it to improve their experience is a win-win for shoppers who desire a personalized experience and marketers who need user data to create targeted advertising campaigns.

Go directly to your consumers for zero-party data

Observed behavior discovered through first-party cookies is excellent– but why settle for observations when you can get data straight from the source? Zero-party data asks customers to share communication preferences, purchase intentions, and other information to give users a better shopping experience.

Remember, most customers want to give data if they’re getting something out of it. Here are a few ways to ask for zero-party data:

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  • Ask users about their communication preferences.
  • Design a quiz to gain data and provide a product recommendation.
  • Give visitors a special offer or discount in exchange for providing personal data.
  • Request an email address to let customers know when an out-of-stock item is restocked.
  • Gift a relevant ebook in exchange for personal data.
 

Make data discovery fun and rewarding for the visitor, and gain data that reveal a shopper’s true intent. With third party cookies going away, it's important to talk to your website visitors instead of relying on outside sources or online behavior. Direct communication builds trust and a relationship between a brand and a customer.

Be transparent about how you use collected data

The McKinsey & Company study also revealed that only ⅓ of customers trust that brands use their data responsibly. Is it possible to gain their trust back? Of course, it is — but trust must be earned.

Earn customer trust by practicing full transparency. Let them know:

  • What data you are collecting.
  • Why you are collecting the information.
  • Why sharing their data is beneficial to them.
  • How their data will be protected.
  • How they can add, remove, or modify their data.
 

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Create a user experience designed with your customers’ comfort in mind. Be transparent, build trust, and increase the likelihood of receiving the data you need.

Think outside the cookie box

Cookies and zero-party data aren’t the only ways to gather consumer information. Consider alternate engagement strategies, such as newsletters, online chats, and social media interaction when preparing for a cookieless future.

Every interaction with a customer is a chance for relationship building. Train your customer-facing team to collect information and work with the IT department to find ways to build your database without cookies.

In a case study of the Walmart+ membership, Google found that Walmart increased its online sales by 37% in 1 quarter. How did they do it? Providing loyal member benefits, a more effortless checkout experience, and free shipping contributed to the major chain’s success. The new program can’t take all the credit, though. The brand also began hosting in-person events, like drive-in movies, to build relationships.

Consider how your brand can implement gestures like these to build trust and encourage sales without relying on cookies.

Set up a cookie consent management program to block third-party cookies

Gaining consent is an integral part of building relationships and trust. When you set up a cookie consent management program, you can ensure compliance with worldwide privacy laws and build trust with one line of code. In a cookieless future, it's important to shield your customers from data collection without their consent.

Use Osano to gain consent while you phase out third-party cookies

Third-party cookies going away don’t have to tank your advertising strategy. Replace third-party cookies with first-party cookies, zero-party data, alternate engagement strategies, and an easy-to-implement consent management platform. These strategies guarantee increased user trust and success in the cookieless future.

Osano’s consent management platform automatically blocks and unblocks third-party scripts to ensure unsanctioned third parties don’t get you in trouble. Sign up for a free 30-day trial to see how one line of code can immediately secure your compliance with privacy laws in 40 countries.

About The Author · Osano Staff

The Osano staff is a diverse team of free thinkers who enjoy working as part of a distributed team with the common goal of working to make a more transparent internet. Occasionally, the team writes under the pen name of our mascot, “Penny, the Privacy Pro.”