As a CMO, CEO, Digital Marketer, or anyone responsible for business strategy and growth, Google’s release of “Tracking Protection” in its Chrome browser must be top of mind right now. In case you have not heard, beginning on January 4th, Google has disabled third-party cookies in 1% of Chrome browsers and will ramp up to 100% later in the year. Until now, accurate targeting of website users with highly personalized messages has relied on the use of third-party cookies to collect and share users’ information with third parties. To understand the magnitude of the decision to discontinue third party cookies, you must first understand how it is used.

How does third-party cookies facilitate online personalization?

User visits a website: When a user visits a website that contains advertising content (eg. Yahoo, MSN, Adweek etc) from a third-party ad network or service, the third-party cookies are often set in the user’s browser.

Cookie tracking: The third-party cookie stores information about the user’s activities on the website, such as pages visited, products viewed, and other interactions.

Cross-site tracking: As the user continues to browse other websites that are part of the same ad network or utilize the same third-party services, the third-party cookie continues to track the user’s behavior across different sites.

Profile creation: Over time, a detailed profile of the user’s interests, preferences, and behavior is created based on the data collected by the third-party cookies. This profile is then used to understand the user’s potential preferences for products, services, or content.

Ad targeting: Advertisers can use the information gathered from the third-party cookies to target highly personalized advertisements to the user. For example, if a user frequently visits websites or interacts with content related to fitness the ad network might display ads for fitness products or services when the user visits other websites within the same network.

Retargeting: Third-party cookies enable retargeting, which involves showing ads to users who have previously visited a specific website but did not complete a desired action, such as making a purchase, completing a form or making a phone call. This helps advertisers re-engage potential customers by displaying relevant ads as they browse other websites. This is one of the most important functions of third-party cookies because advertisers spend a lot to attract website visitors and if they are unable to continue engaging first time website visitors, the return on ad investment will be determined mostly by those consumers who are converted on only 1 interaction. Retargeting helps to increase return on ad spend.

You should try this. Visit our website at, then visit or or even your Facebook or Instagram page and you may see one of our retargeting ads made possible with third-party cookies.

So why discontinue the use of third-party cookies?

There has been growing concern about privacy implications associated with the use of third-party cookies. More than 80% of consumers become concerned about their privacy when they are presented with highly personalized relevant ads. Many web browsers and regulators have taken steps to limit or eliminate the use of third-party cookies in an effort to enhance user privacy. For instance, major browsers like Safari, and Firefox have already introduced or announced measures to phase out support for third-party cookies and adopt alternative approaches for user tracking and ad personalization. This shift reflects an industry-wide effort to address privacy concerns and provide users with more control over their online data. Some argue that there may be more going on than big tech’s interest in protecting consumers. What do you think?

With the uncertainty swirling around, what’s a marketer to do? For one, you can start managing your first party data more strategically. Secondly, there are several other strategies to accurately target your prospective clients and customers, but these require strategic focus and some changes to how your business collects and manages customer and potential customer data. Let’s discuss your plans.
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