Devin Partida
April 26, 2022

Navigating Marketing Without Third-Party Cookies

Third-Party Cookies

B2Bs have long relied on third-party cookies for marketing. However, major changes from browser developers Mozilla, Apple, and Google will soon change everything.

Third-party cookies are data-tracking text files created and placed on a website by a third party, often an advertiser or marketing group. They help advertisers track user activity across the web, rather than just on a single site at a time. This allows them to develop a deeper understanding of user behavior and target advertising based on a user’s browsing history.

In 2020, Google announced it would be depreciating third-party cookies on Chrome. Because around 80% of marketers depend on third-party cookie data, this change, when it finally occurs, will likely send shockwaves through the marketing world.

However, businesses have options. Taking action to adapt now will help B2B marketers prepare for a future where third-party cookies no longer exist.

You may also want to read: Is Working Remotely Risking Your Personal Data?

How The End Of Third-Party Cookies Will Impact Brands

While Google has pushed back the deprecation of third-party cookies into 2023, brands will soon have to grapple with a few likely shifts in the marketing world.

Consumer data will become significantly less accessible. Brands have been utilizing third-party cookie data in one form or another since 1994, and all B2B companies will likely feel the impact of the loss.

This change was surely inevitable. Consumers and businesses are increasingly privacy-aware, and companies like Google consider third-party cookies to be a major barrier to privacy on the web.

Mozilla and Apple have already phased out third-party cookies from Firefox and Safari. However, because Google Chrome commands the largest share of the browser market, marketers haven’t seen the full impact of the shift yet.

According to experts’ predictions, marketers should expect their ad spend return will drop by more than 30%. Once third-party cookies depreciate, marketers will have to pay $1.42 to get the same effectiveness as $1 right now.

B2B marketers will have to find new data sources in response to the loss of third-party cookies. The most important sources will likely be first-party information — gathered by advertising agencies and businesses — and third-party data collected by providers or similar organizations. More on first-party data — and third-party data from non-cookie sources — below.

First-party cookies will also become much more important for advertisers.

Marketing methods that do not rely on third-party cookies — like SEO and content marketing — may become more popular. These strategies could help businesses prepare for the shift away from third-party cookies in 2023.

Leveraging First-Party Data As Third-Party Cookies Depreciate

Right now, unlocking the potential of first-party data should be a top priority for B2B marketers and businesses.

First-party data is gathered directly from your audience, meaning that you do not need an intermediary like a specific browser, agency, or data provider to collect it.

Source: AI Multiple

Typically, first-party data is generated by interactions with websites or apps that your business owns. Examples of first-party data include user behavior information from site or app analytics, information from support calls, and sales data.

Your business likely already has access to several valuable first-party data sources — like web analytics, user behavior data from apps, the business’s CRM, social media, and user surveys. However, leveraging these sources can be a challenge, especially for companies that have traditionally relied on third-party cookie data for marketing.

B2B businesses still have around a year or longer to prepare for the end of third-party cookies. They should start moving now to identify first-party data sources they can use for marketing data collection.

Identifying solutions that your business can use to gather and analyze information from these sources, experimenting with them, and using first-party data in marketing campaigns are also good preliminary steps to take.

Transitioning From Third-Party Cookies

Transitioning away from third-party cookies may be somewhat disruptive, but there are benefits to using first-party data.

Unlike third-party data, the provenance and accuracy of these statistics are well-established or easier for your business to determine. You’ll likely know exactly where your information came from, how it was collected and how likely it is to be accurate, allowing you to more effectively weigh marketing decisions and campaigns.

Relying on first-party data will require a direct relationship with the people you collect information from. You’ll no longer be able to depend on browsers to aggregate statistics from potential customers who have no real connection with your business or brand.

You may have to accept that not every user will want you to have their information in some cases. You may also need to consider compliance with data protection laws that regulate how businesses can collect first-party data, like the European Union’s GDPR or the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA).

A combination of first-party and third-party data from providers will help businesses gather the information they need to understand current market conditions and create effective marketing campaigns.

You may also want to read: Here’s How You Can Become A Better Data Storyteller

Substituting Third-Party Data For Third-Party Cookies

While Google is on track to phase out third-party cookies next year, businesses can continue to rely on this data for their marketing efforts.

Partnering with a third-party data provider or framework will allow your business access to information that is similar to what cookies can provide. This allows your company to minimize disruption to marketing efforts.

However, the right strategy will be necessary to ensure your business gets the most out of using third-party data.

First, it’s important not to move too quickly. It may be tempting to secure a contract or agreement with a third-party data provider as soon as possible, ensuring your business will have continued access to information necessary for marketing operations. However, locking yourself into a deal may have long-term consequences.

The services, data, and features that third-party providers offer may vary significantly. For example, one business may primarily gather activity information from sources like credit card providers, courthouse records, and large-scale consumer surveys. Nielsen, best known for gathering information on TV viewership, is a good example.

Some Third-Party Data Providers

Other providers, like Datum and Informatica, maintain data marketplaces for individuals and businesses that want to sell first-, second and third-party information. They help connect companies to valuable sources.

Providers that rely on the same data sources may offer their users information on different audience segments.

A growing number of data providers, like Nielsen, are also beginning to offer AI-driven insights to their customers. Not every company offers high-tech solutions like these.

Ongoing research of available providers, the services they offer, and the frameworks they use is likely a good strategy right now. Significant research will probably be necessary for a brand to determine which provider will provide the right services for their particular needs.

It’s likely that third-party data also won’t be a perfect replacement for cookies. No matter what strategy your business adopts, greater dependence on first-party data will likely be inevitable.

Reviewing your business’s strategy for collecting, storing, and analyzing first-party data will be a good step to take shortly, even if your business can find a reliable third-party data provider.

How B2B Marketers Can Navigate The End Of Third-Party Cookies

Next year, Google will finally phase out third-party cookie collection in Chrome. The move will likely send shockwaves through any organization that relies on online marketing.

In response, businesses will need to acquire new sources — like first-party app data and information from third-party providers — and learn how to leverage them in marketing campaigns.

The change is likely to be disruptive and temporarily make ad spend less effective, but the shift to first-party data could ultimately benefit marketers.


Devin PartidaDevin Partida is a small business and technology writer. She is the Editor-in-Chief for and has written for, AT&T Business, and Boss Magazine. You can connect with her on LinkedIn here or follow/tweet her @rehackmagazine

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