How Google’s third-party cookie removal will affect your marketing

On 4 January, Google began phasing out third-party cookies for Chrome users affecting marketers that rely on these nuggets of data for tracking and targeting purposes. The feature called Tracking Protection was initially rolled out to 1% of Chrome users worldwide, with the full fading-out of third-party cookies likely to happen by the end of the year.

The measure has been put in place due, in part, to privacy concerns. Third-party cookies track users across different websites. This is done by domains that a user doesn’t visit directly but have, for instance, been placed by a third-party element such as an advert, pop-up, or social media plugin.

These third-party cookies track users and save their information which is then used for ad targeting, behavioural advertising, and analytics. For example, if a user clicks a Facebook button on a website, a Facebook cookie is added to the browser and can track the user until it expires.

What this means for your marketing


While this is a recent feature for Google Chrome, other browsers like Safari and Firefox already block third-party cookies by default. According to Statista, Google Chrome counts for ⅔ of the global market share for browsers today, so preparing your websites and advertising strategies for these changes is vital, especially if your marketing strategy relies heavily on third-party cookies for its targeted advertising.

A new look at your targeting strategy

Third-party cookies have typically been used by marketers to create targeted advertising, using insights from users’ browsing behaviours. The removal of these cookies means that alternative targeting methods need to be adopted going forward, some of these alternatives can be found below.

More focus on first-party cookies

With third-party cookies being faded out, the value of first-party cookies increases. A first-party cookie differs from a third-party cookie in that it can only be created and accessed by the website operator rather than third-party, external websites. This will require organisations to concentrate more heavily on direct customer engagement channels like email marketing, loyalty programmes, and social media.

Researching new technologies

New technologies have become more prominent with the demise of third-party cookies. Organisations and their marketing teams will need to be attuned to these other solutions, like contextual advertising and universal IDs, and understand how to integrate them into their marketing strategy.

Alternatives to third-party cookies


As third-party cookies fade out, other solutions to track and target are coming to the fore to address the gap. These ensure privacy is respected while still allowing for effective advertising and analytics.

First-party Data

First-party data is the information gathered online with the users’ consent. This is used for retargeting via advertising and to create an ideal customer profile, providing information on how to reach new audiences.

Universal IDs

A Universal ID is a unique identifier given to a user based on their consented first-party data. This ID is then used across different websites and allows marketers to use targeted advertising without needing third-party cookies.

Contextual Advertising

Contextual advertising relies on the content of a website or webpage in deciding ad placement rather than user behaviour. This way of advertising respects user privacy while still allowing for targeted advertising.

Privacy-Enhancing Technologies (PETs)

PETs encompass a variety of ways that data is privacy protected but remains in a format that can be used for advertising and analytics. These technologies include anonymisation, encryption, and data dispersion. PETs allow divisions within an organisation to analyse combined data securely, significantly reducing the risk of a data breach.

Taking another cookie

third-party cookie

Google Chrome’s move away from third-party cookies is a major moment in online privacy and digital advertising. Marketing teams will need to shift their focus more on first-party cookies and alternative data for their online advertising activities.

Marketers need to be proactive in their approach, developing relationships with consumers while always respecting their privacy. This change presents both challenges and opportunities but with the right diversified strategy and a solid implementation, they can navigate this shift successfully.