If third-party cookies are phased-out does that mean cookie banner or consent management platforms (CMPs) are going along with them? This may seem like a bit of a trick question, but the short answer is: No, cookie banners and CMPs are here to stay.  

Watch the Webinar: RIP Third-Party Cookies: How to Prepare, and Why You Still Need a Cookie Banner

In this blog we’ll explain the background for the degradation of third-party cookies, practical solutions your team can implement to prepare, and explain why you still need a cookie banner

What are ThirdParty Cookies?

Third-party cookies, also known as tracking cookies or trackers are created by “parties” other than the website that the user is currently visiting. These third-parties assist with advertising, retargeting, analytics, and tracking services. These trackers that are used to store and retrieve data.  This allows websites to better understand their visitors and how they navigate around on that site.  Here are some real-life examples of how third-party cookies are used in advertising: 

  • Retargeting – When you look at a product and you see it on other websites bringing you back to the product on other websites.  
  • Frequency Capping – This can help limit the number of times you see the same ad, so you don’t get frustrated or fatigued by the ad. 
  • Measurement – Third-party cookies can help companies understand performance and visitors. How are users converting? Are they clicking? Are they making a purchase?  It isn’t a perfect science but can provide useful insight.

When Google announced the removal of third-party cookies from Chrome, the advertising and publishing industry were challenged to find new ways to achieve these results. The industry is currently seeking more transparent and privacy-centric alternatives to third-party cookies. 

History of Third-Party Cookies and Browser Changes 

While third-party cookies serve a very practical function in advertising, they haven’t always been used in the most transparent ways.  Browsers decided to step up and say we don’t think we should support user’s data being used in this way.  Chrome announced in 2020 that they would phase out third-party cookies in 2022.  

Specifically, Safari has by default not used third-party cookies since 2017.  While Firefox blocked third-party cookies in 2019.  This allowed the industry two years to get ahead of this shift. So, Chrome deciding to remove third-party cookies is not necessarily a new concept. The Chrome announcement shook up the market more than the other browsers because it is the most widely used browser.  Advertisers can use these other browsers to their advantage and test out new strategies.  

Laws, Regulations, and the Impact of Big Tech 

Historically laws and regulations set the standard for privacy expectations and compliance.  The global regulatory landscape is very diverse, across countries, states, economic blocs.  These nuanced requirements can be tricky to navigate making it imperative to build a reactive privacy program.

It is not just the laws and regulations that are setting the tone but the tech industry itself that is setting a new standard. These technology changes force change within the industry. The most notable developments come from Facebook with their new LDU feature, Apple iOS 14 privacy changes, and of course, Chrome’s phasing out of third-party cookies.    

Consumer Expectations 

What are consumers expecting from you as a brand, publisher, or advertiser? Consumers are more connected now than ever before.  On the other hand, consumers are also more cautious and privacy-aware than ever before.  This can create a conflict where consumers expect privacy but also want a personalized user experience as well.  This pushes companies to find new ways to communicate with their audience. One major thing companies should explain is how they achieve personalization and how they protect that information.  

Looking Ahead: Why is it important to maintain your Cookie Banner?

Now that we understand why third-party cookies are going away let’s discuss the important question: Do you still need a cookie banner or CMP? The death of third-party cookies does not mean the end of data collection or sharing data with third-parties.  Depending on what regulations apply to you, you will still need to have a compliant cookie banner.  Cookie banners are still essential to provide notice and disclosure to the data subject and provide the user to opportunity to opt-out. However, companies will need to experiment with diverse strategies to figure out how to continue to deliver personalized experiences without relying on third-party cookies. 

Practical Solutions to the Removal of Third-Party Cookies 

We have one year left until third-party cookies are phased out on Chrome. Let’s look at some practices you can implement now to get ahead before third-party cookies go away for good:

  • Utilize IdentifiersIdentity is the foundation of all solutions.  Here are a few different types of ids you may be able to use to better understand your audience:
  • Probabilistic ID: An id used to not exactly identify the user but instead utilize anonymous data points to build user profiles with data from known users who exhibit similar behaviors.  
  • Deterministic ID: Based on some kind of identifiable data, this can include log-in data, offline customer data or IDs, or information the user and data collector have shared with each other.  

You want to establish the identifiers your business is using and progressively profile your visits.  Then implemented collection points across your website or mobile apps.  Once captured, activate this data to understand your audience and segment them better. 

  • First-Party Data: First-party data is information collected directly from your audience or customers. It includes data from behaviors, actions, or interests demonstrated across your website or app.  It differs from third-party data in the sense that first-party data is collected and owned by your company. This means your customer willingly provided you the data through a system you own. There is no middleman selling you the data.  
  • Paywalls: Digital subscriptions and paywalls have progressed over time as publishers have the flexibility over UX, the ability to sync subscription data, and manage it efficiently.  Additionally, and more importantly, now paywalls can offer choice and transparency.  With the influx of global regulations, more likely than not, when you visit a website, you’ll be prompted with a CMP to capture consent and preferences.  Now, when using the OneTrust CMP, publishers can consolidate their CMP and paywall UI into one modal.  This streamlines the user experience, helps generate revenue, and meets compliance requirements all at once. 

How OneTrust  Can Help You Transition from Third-Party Cookies and Prepare Your Cookie Banners

Ultimately your goal is to meet consumer expectations, comply with privacy regulations, and adapt to industry standards.  While this may seem daunting if you start this process sooner rather than later you will be ready for the degradation of third-party cookies in 2022. 

To learn more about third-party cookies and CMP banners Watch the Webinar: RIP Third-Party Cookies: How to Prepare, and Why You Still Need a Cookie Banner or request a 1:1 demo with one of our experts to learn how OneTrust can support this transition.

Further Cookie Banners and Third-Party Cookies reading: 

Next steps on Cookie Banners and Third-Party Cookies:

  • Download the eBook: The Ultimate Cookies Handbook for Privacy Professionals – Updated
  • Watch the Webinar: RIP Third-Party Cookies: How to Prepare, and Why You Still Need a Cookie Banner