How to Survive the Third-Party Cookie Stay of Execution

How to Survive the Third-party Cookie Stay of Execution

All good things come to an end. And it’s officially time to say goodbye to third-party cookies – or so we thought.

This January, we saw Google turn off third-party cookies for 30 million Chrome users as advertisers everywhere braced their use cases for impact, from lookalikes to modeling to frequency capping to ad reporting.

But then in a not-so-surprising plot twist, Google rolled back their third-party cookie deprecation, with no fixed date for the end.

For those first-party innovators and risk-takers, there is still an opportunity to reinvent their advertising strategies. It’s almost like the early days of paid search before Google ascended and monopolized the market. There’s tons of green space for iteration and innovation. But we’ll dig into that more below.

We recently sat down with Natalie Kansteiner with The Trade Desk, Rio Longacre with Slalom and Zach Van Doren with ActionIQ to bid farewell to cookies and discuss the hot topics and burning questions from third-party cookie deprecation to Privacy Sandbox, with tactical alternatives, tips and solutions. Obviously, we didn’t know Google would push it off again.

But what we do know is that there are still things brands need to prepare for the fickle world of advertising – whether cookie deprecation happens now or in 10 years.

Below, we’ll take a look at key takeaways from the conversation with key trends in advertising and special considerations for a fickle future.

One of the biggest trends that happened (and then didn’t) this year is the long anticipated deprecation of 3P cookies in Google Chrome. This began in January 2024 and was planned to continue throughout the year until they were completely gone.

But, with concerns from different privacy and competitive regulators, the final end of third-party cookies turned into a not-so-certain future. Part of this concern stems from Google’s new alternative, Privacy Sandbox, and how cookie deprecation might put competitors at a disadvantage.

Google has begun the rollout of what they are positioning to the market as a viable alternative, the Privacy Sandbox. Thus far the reaction has been very mixed if not frustrating among adtech professionals. IAB released a report, asserting wide-spread concerns relative to the solution not being fully baked, inadequate and/or confusing, followed by very acute concerns relative to competitive control and unfair market advantage. In response, the UK Competition and Markets Authority went so far as to block Google’s deprecation of 3P cookies, presenting arguments that such a move would only further strengthen monopolistic control. And then of course, it got moved again.

So what now? If you aren’t sure where to turn, we have a few key considerations for you to build a foundation that is ready for anything the advertising landscape might manifest (or not manifest) next.

The Big Three Special Considerations in the Uncertain Future

1) Keep interoperability as a fundamental of your strategy

In order to take advantage of all the options and opportunities available, it’s important for brands to keep interoperability baked into their strategy, as a fundamental element and solution to third-party cookie deprecation. Brands need to have agility to be able to interoperate across multiple identity spaces, multiple cleanroom environments, multiple publisher ad tech environments, and more.

But to best enable this, you need the right technology to support your advertising strategy.

2) Align your data, technology and teams in new ways with composability

This new world of advertising isn’t just about the data – it’s about the technology. How do you operationalize this mass of ID spaces and data clean rooms and publishers? With first-party data playing a more prominent role, focusing on solutions like customer data warehouses that manage all of that first-party data will play a bigger role.

Traditionally, what happens in paid media stays in paid media. Now, the marketing roles are all coming together with agencies for a new paradigm. Agencies are partnering with customer data platforms (CDPs) more and more to unlock that activation and streamline first-party data operations.

That’s how we think about composable. The key to solutioning power is to be agile and interoperable through a composable design. The application of a CDP or other components are modulated, so a brand can pick and choose those applications that relate to its stack, its media mix and its 3P identity data vendors. With purposeful alignment between technologies and agencies, brands can maximize their efforts

3) Embrace convergence and change

This new paradigm is aligning teams around data and technology. It’s important for these relationships and agencies to work with CDPs. Agencies need to understand a client’s tech stack, along with the kind of data they have to inform those activation strategies.

Natalie explains that this starts with the agency, they’re running the media, but they need to understand their client’s tech stack. What are they doing? What kind of data do they have? How can we use that to better inform our activation strategies? In addition to that, typically, the marketing team isn’t always handling all of the tech stack. Ensuring that each team understands what data is in those platforms and how we best use those to inform also those paid media strategies.

The CDP is starting to rise with offering more solutions and converging those elements together with robust paid media functions as well, converging with partners like Slalom to support strategy and The Trade Desk to support advertising use cases, bring comprehensive, connected solutions to brands.

Celebrate New Advertising Beginnings With a Spirit of Opportunity

There are massive disruptions going on in advertising. But it’s all about the opportunity and forging purposeful connections across teams and key players, like The Trade Desk, ActionIQ and Slalom.

In Rio’s words, embracing these convergences and relationships is key to winning advertising in the post-cookie world. We’re seeing the convergence of the cloud providers, and the convergence of the cloud environments with cleanrooms. We’re seeing convergence of DSPs, like The Trade Desk with those cloud environments to enable a flywheel design of activation, identity and measurement back into these environments. We’re seeing convergence of ML and AI, within cloud environments, fueling AI action, fueling content, fueling experience. We’re still in the early (uncertain) days, but we’re at the cusp of tremendous innovation.

To learn more about how ActionIQ, The Trade Desk, and Slalom can enable better experiences for your team, reach out to our experts to get third-party cookie alternatives and the special considerations you need to know in building a better advertising strategy.

Julia Michaelis
Julia Michaelis
Sr. Content Marketing Manager
Julia is a product and brand storyteller, focusing on all of the different strategies that enable amazing customer outcomes. She lives in Brooklyn with her terrier Lee.
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