As Google works to eliminate third-party cookies, first-party data is going to be more important than ever

July 9, 2024

With third-party cookies disappearing, Dayna Lang, Content Writer at illumin, shares how to use first-party data for stronger targeting strategies in a post-cookie world.

Third-party cookies are being phased out by major browsers like Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox, leaving many marketers at a loss. How can marketers pivot and build stronger, more resilient targeting strategies in a post-cookie world? In finding their footing, marketers need to lean on first-party data to understand customers and effectively target audiences. 

Marketers have known about Google’s goodbye plans for third-party cookies since 2018 when GDPR was enacted in the European Union. Marketers have spent the years since building out new strategies. First-party data is a critical part of those strategies. 

Procrastination is easy when developing post-cookie strategies, especially since Google continues to delay its cookie deadlines. While the extension is appreciated, giving marketers and industry regulators more time to provide feedback solutions doesn’t prevent the inevitable. 

Marketers should be moving full-speed ahead on their post-cookie plans. First-party cookies provide a critical tool for marketers looking to provide privacy-compliant media in a post-cookie era

First-party data refers to data collected directly from customers. Unlike third-party cookies, first-party data relies on users’ consent. This data is held in high esteem for a good reason. Since data is collected firstly from users, it is reliable and easy to manage. It is also cost-effective and highly accurate. 

This data can also be used to effectively target audiences in the real world through out-of-home advertising. Advancements in OOH technology let brands easily create effective, targeted campaigns using first-party data. 

One way brands can do this is by using first-party data to understand where and when users shop (ie: audiences’ shopping at a certain time of year). Brands can then plan their media around this time frame and location to effectively target and engage their audience. 

In a post-cookie world, first-party data will be the gold standard. It fills a necessary data gap while respecting user consent and privacy. It’s no wonder why Advertiser Perceptions lists it as the number one type of data used for transactions. 

Customers are happy to share their data with you – for a price

Collecting first-party data requires trust, privacy, and customer value. According to a study by BCG, 90% of consumers will share personal information given a valuable incentive. This can look like tailored discounts, streamlined processes, downloadable content, or personalized experiences. So long as marketers provide something of value, gathering first-party data is relatively easy. 

Something marketers need to maintain to leverage first-party data is trust. The basis of the cookie issue has always been customer privacy. This makes consumer consent a primary concern for all data use going forward. 

Google’s decision to eliminate third-party cookies was the culmination of years of effort to advocate for user consent and privacy. The goal isn’t to inconvenience marketers but to empower consumers to control where and when their information is gathered, shared, and used. By prioritizing consent and data security at all times, marketers can ensure their strategies will outlast any future privacy protection measures.

That’s why first-party data fits so perfectly within a post-cookie strategy. First-party data hinges on user trust and consent. As the digital world adapts to the loss of third-party cookies, first-party information fills a gap and gives marketers tools to target users and tailor content to reach customers where it matters most.