Article

Michael Nutley
Michael Nutley 15 June 2023

The Demise of the Third-Party Cookie – The Beginning of the End for Digital Marketing, or the End of the Beginning?

Will the ‘cookiepocalypse’ be a blessing or a curse for digital marketing? According to a new report from London Research, marketers typically expect the effects to be positive.

In late 2024, Google will withdraw support for the third-party cookie in its Chrome browser. A new London Research report – produced in partnership with customer data platform provider Relay42 – reveals that almost three-quarters (72%) of marketers believe the move will pose a major challenge for their businesses. But almost two-thirds (61%) see it as a positive step.

I Will Survive

Although a large proportion of businesses see the end of the third-party cookie (3PC) era as a major challenge, which will require a radical change to their current acquisition and retention strategies, confidence is high that this challenge can and will be navigated.

The report, Rethinking Digital Marketing in a Post-Cookie Era, found four out of five businesses (82%) felt that their businesses would adapt, while a similar percentage (80%) believe that their tech stack and IT teams can deliver a smooth transition to a cookieless advertising model, and three-quarters (74%) agree there is a focus on the problem at senior exec levels.

A crucial determinant of a business’s belief in its ability to weather the challenge is whether it has a consumer data platform (CDP) as part of its tech stack. These companies are over seven times more likely to see the end of the 3PC as having a ‘significantly positive impact’ on their business than are than non-CDP users (30% vs. 4%).

CDP users are also nearly three times more likely to be confident in their data management (35% vs. 12%) and activation (34% vs. 12%) capabilities; foundational capabilities for modern high-performance digital marketing.

“It’s reasonable to conclude that having a CDP is one mark of an exceptionally effective organisation,” commented David M. Raab, founder and CEO of the Customer Data Platform Institute, in the report. “And you can take that one step further to state that people who are good at marketing technology have concluded that a CDP will help them to succeed.”

The report certainly supports this view, and also suggests that the capability gap between CDP users and non-users is likely to widen. It found CDP users are four-and-a-half times more likely to be leveraging AI/machine learning than non-users, and six times as likely to be using multi-touch attribution.

Live Long and Prosper

The report makes eight recommendations for businesses, and marketers, looking to prosper in the post-3PC world:
    •    Stay customer-centric – It’s imperative to understand your customers and prospects, and to place their needs at the heart of your planning processes.
    •    Take the strategic lead – Marketing must provide clear leadership, direction and ownership of the programs required to reinvent digital marketing and turn the strategic challenge of third-party data restrictions into an opportunity.
    •    Develop a robust zero/first-party data strategy – Think about the value you need to offer your prospects and customers to encourage them to share their data with you, and to continue doing so. Maintain your focus on your reasons for collecting zero/first-party data; data is a means to an end, never an end in itself.
    •    Turn data into better digital experiences – Bring all your data together from across the company to create the single customer view that will inform and deliver enhanced experiences in your marketing programs (both acquisition and retention).
    •    Break down the silos – Customers expect a seamless experience across all their interactions with a brand. Don’t let internal organisational design get in the way of a more joined-up, end-to-end approach to digital marketing.
    •    Place the right technology bets – Audit your tech stack, explore other cookieless solutions, see where the gaps are, and address them.
    •    Take your people with you – Adapting to the post-cookie world is not just a technological issue. It requires new skills and new ways of thinking throughout the organisation. Prioritise education and training to help staff come to terms with the new environment.
    •    Stay agile – Set aside the time and budget to experiment with emerging technologies, and be ready to adopt new approaches rapidly if they offer a competitive advantage. In a world of change, it’s vital to keep innovating.


Download the full London Research/Relay42 report – Rethinking Digital Marketing in a Post-Cookie Era.

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