How to put consumers first in a first party world

33% of all consumers in the Netherlands can’t be targeted with 3rd party cookies

33% of all consumers in the Netherlands can’t be targeted with 3rd party cookies

We are officially entering a new era of digital marketing. Privacy initiatives such as GDPR, CCPA, Safari's ITP, Microsoft's MTP, and Google's recent announcement about the depreciation of the 3rd party cookie by 2022 have made it apparent that the way we do marketing needs to change. Consumers expect more from brands than ever before: more trust, more transparency, but also more meaningful connections with the brands themselves. But how should marketers approach topics such as personalization, 1st party data collection, and privacy as we enter this new world where 3rd party cookies can no longer service advertisers the way they used to?

“The digital marketing industry became so obsessed with gathering data that we forgot how to be creative with it. It became quantity over quality.”

Reynder Bruyns / Head of Strategy

What is the meaning of ITP?


ITP related browser and privacy updates prompt concern over the future of data-driven marketing. Marketers have been using cookies since their development 26 years ago. They’ve been a critical tool in allowing us to understand consumer behaviour and target users effectively. As public concerns about privacy and security continue to grow, cookies have been under fire throughout the decade.

As a response to regulation (e.g. GDPR, CCPA) and consumer demand, all major browsers have recently launched or announced initiatives for greater user privacy control. Most notably: Chrome, Firefox and Safari all have plans (or have already implemented) the default blocking of 3rd party cookies. Safari’s initiative Intelligent Tracking Prevention (ITP) also has restricted the use of 1st party cookies, reducing the lifespan to a maximum of 7 days of inactivity. Each of these browser updates will have its impact on marketing, but a lot varies brand-to-brand, market-to-market.

The impact of compliance

The biggest concern for marketers is the disablement of third-party cookies. Data breaches and scandals such as Facebook/Cambridge Analytica have increased awareness and unease about how consumer data is being monetised. Concern over data collection and privacy has led to legislation, which have brought even greater visibility to (and concern over) data collection practices. Leading browsers have also reacted to consumer and regulatory demand for privacy by updating their default cookie settings to favor consumer privacy. 

Responding to changes

As third-party cookies allow advertisers to target and measure users across sites, blocking of third-party cookies means users are harder to find, ads become less relevant, and KPIs are impacted. With nearly all digital advertising platforms relying on cookies for tracking and targeting, things are going to get a hell of a lot harder. But that doesn’t mean we should give up. It simply means we’ll need to adapt.


How we prepare you for a world without cookies?


Every business is uniquely impacted by ITP. A first step to quantify the current impact of ITP is to perform an assessment of your web analytics. This will provide greater insight on if/what you need to adjust. Businesses with more mobile traffic tend to be more impacted by ITP due to the high penetration of iPhones.