Third-party cookies: How B2B marketers need to prepare

Jul 2, 2021


by | Jul 2, 2021 | Strategy


Goodbye third-party cookies, hello more customer-oriented strategy.

Recently, Apple and Google announced plans to abolish the use of third-party cookies in the feat to protect the privacy of consumers.

These changes will dramatically affect the way we advertise and the data that comes with that. Meaning marketers will need to adapt their strategies to utilise other sources of data, centralise communications and connect the dots with the platforms and technologies that will allow them to do so.

The changes and concerns associated with third-party cookies comes as we experience an enormous shift in the volume of big data.

Machine-generated data accounted for over 40% of internet data in 2020.

That’s almost half the amount of data in the world; uncentralised to businesses and difficult to interpret.

Although Google Chrome recently announced that the changes won’t take place until 2023, it should not be put to the bottom of your list. Read more about how, what and why third-party cookie changes are being made.


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So what does this mean for B2B marketers? And what changes can be made now to adapt to such a huge shift?


First, let’s look at data as a whole


There are four main types of data:

Zero-party data is what you want to pay attention to here. This is fresh, objective data provided by your customer through mediums such as lead gen forms or surveys. Zero-party data isn’t as widely used right now, but it is an essential source in creating value-add for customers to establish a user journey that’s relevant, personalised and respectful.

1/4 of CMOs will have adopted zero-party data capabilities by the end of 2021.

Forrester, 2021


What are the implications on current marketing programmes? (Google specific)


First-party data is unaffected:

    • Retargeting users from your company website will still be in play. Outside of this, we await further information from Google but almost certainly there will be changes to in-market and affinity audiences, where advertisers will have to use FLoC data instead of third-party cookies.


    • This will see a loss of precision and efficiencies when moving to this cohort technology as we learn browsing habits of the audience groups in this technology. A real time example of this at work is in Netflix with suggested content for the user.


    • CPC and CPA bidding models will be favoured in these changes as they don’t require controls on reach and frequency.


It’s clear that Google still has a few things to work out… but until that’s finalised, there are a few things you should start to consider.


How to adapt your strategy


  1. Build and leverage first-party data collection

Base your strategy around your customer by focusing on first-party data (CRM data). Marketers need to think about how to leverage remarketing to customers in a helpful and meaningful way. To do this, you must continue to maximise your own data to deliver higher performing campaigns through remarketing and monitoring potential decreases in lead volume.

  1. Integrate with key partners

Buy data directly within authorised systems to utilise data that collects and consistently processes user data. This includes large technology platforms such as Facebook, Amazon, YouTube, as well as media houses that receive user data after registration. A recent example of this we’ve seen is Publicis joining forces with TradeX.

  1. Use contextual audiences to target those interested in a specific product

Use contextual programmatic style audiences to specifically target those interested in product and services like yours – even in B2B. Trial and test contextual audiences building on existing non-identifiable data such as geo-targeting. Google has placed importance on utilising AI technology around context where possible.

  1. Go direct to publishers

Advertisers need to build relationships. The changes will tighten the relationship between publishers and advertiser. The effectiveness of this contextual targeting will depend on the schema of the sites within the network. For example, Forbes has grouped its website content into highly specific sections to show ‘Popular’ and ‘Editors pick’. Another good example of preparing for these changes is Washington Post’s Zeus.


Prepare for a life without third-party cookies


In the current state of limbo, businesses need to assess their current strategy and the available technology, adjust their data capture strategy and how to adapt to these changes whilst maintaining performance.

Need advice on how to adapt your digital strategy in anticipation of the changes?
Get in touch for a free 30-minute audit with a member of our digital team to talk through your digital roadmap.

Further reading

The Modern curve of return: develop your demand strategy

The Digital: keep ahead of the B2B digital marketing trends

The impact of the strategic skills gap in marketing technology