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Key Takeaways: How to Combat Cookie Retirement

Live Session Replay | Tuesday 10th August 2021

How to build, utilise and combat cookie retirement: The importance of first-party data.

Get ready for a cookieless world. Cookies are being finally phased out over the next 2 years – we are already starting to feel the impact from Firefox, Safari, In app usage and Facebook IOS 14 Update. So then .. How do we remain engaged with our audience when cookie based marketing disappears?

(Scroll to the bottom to watch the Replay)

Key Takeaways from the Live Session:

The First Issue: The Phase Out of 3rd Party Cookies

  • Google announced Chrome will no longer support 3rd party cookies by Jan 2022 – these are generally cookies used for advertising purposes.
  • Now delayed until mid-2023
  • It won’t impact 1st party cookies

Why it matters

3rd party cookies are the way ad platforms learned a user’s preferences, which enabled personalized ads across the entire ad network.

Previously, we have been able to store 3rd party cookies for up to 540 days and create lots of types of retargeting, lookalikes and similar audiences based on these cookies. Now we’ll be able to keep anything with username and password, but the 3rd party cookies will be phased out.


  1. Alternatives:

There are some tech alternatives you can use:

  • Data onboarding platform (eg Liveramp, Signal, Oracle OnRamp) to enrich your data
  • FLoC (anonymous interest behaviours by Google) “this innovation can deliver results nearly as effective as cookie-based approaches” – used as part of Google advertising
  • Unified ID 2.0 (open source using encrypted emails) – could be used for your programmatic advertising
  • SWAN (consent to the platform using email as stable identifier) – relies on users explicitly giving consent to the platform – please note we are seeing some resistance from users.

The likelihood is that event marketers will start to rely on all four of the above more heavily as cookies get phased out.

2. Invest elsewhere:

  • First party data with a 365 approach – build strong email addresses based on content and all information you are sending out, so you are not relying on cookies. This will allow you to remarket to these users.
  • Social & contextual advertising – this is going to get smarter and more intelligent. Spend more budget here so you are not worried about losing your share of your audience from your retargeting.

3. Don’t freak out

We are not going to see a large portion of advertising just disappear as the advertisers will not just let this revenue go! Google have created FLoC cohorts, Facebook have brought out new ad targeting so it is going to move into a bigger and better solution.

The Second Issue: The iOS 14 Update

  • Apps have the ability to track your usage within the app and on the mobile web
  • With iOS 14 all apps must ask for permission to track usage.

Why it matters

  • If iPhone users do not allow this tracking, ads will become less relevant which could drive up the price of advertising.
  • No longer support for breakdowns: delivery and action breakdowns, such as age, gender, region and placement will no longer be supported in reporting.
  • We will have less view on extended “view-through” & “click-through” attribution due to 28 day stats no longer being supported. We now have a much shorter attribution window.


Ultimately, these changes are being made to protect the privacy of users. There are ways to continue to advertise to users though:

  • Verify your domain on your Facebook accounts – this is to prevent SPAM and to make sure you are who you say you are!
  • Set up event within Aggregated Event Measurement (AEM) – Facebook have designed AEM, so we are able to measure campaign performance that is consistent with consumer decisions about their data. Now Facebook are not seeing your data, which has made people more comfortable but it is also still providing a good option to advertisers. Facebook have come up with new targeting ideas; special ad categories and integration with lots of different partners, including Lytics to make sure we are enriching the data.
  • Optimise for the event as normal – we can still track for up to 8 events

Keep in mind, Android takes up 85% of the mobile market and iOS is about 15%.

The Third Issue: Mail Privacy Protection

  • With iOS 15 coming (probably September time), Apple degrades email pixels
  • Mail app blocks IP addresses and we are not able to track the open pixel

Why it matters

  • Open Rate has long been a key ingredient for optimising email marketing.
  • With this change, Apple makes Open Rate even more unreliable.


  • …Are a work in progress, but don’t expect a silver bullet
  • Look at benchmarks: What is your current Open Rate & Current % audience using iOS, then look at what the differences are when this change actually comes into play probably later in the year
  • Lean on 1st party data
  • Click Rate over Open Rate

First Party Data

Data is more valuable than oil. There are around 5000 datapoints being picked up on all of us to share with advertisers and with companies to model ‘how would you reach that audience?’. The way to combat this is to provide a good user experience to people who want to engage with your brand. you want to be reaching your audience with strong content – e.g.g webinars, surveys, whitepapers.


  1. Invest your budget in creating strong content, amplify that content when you are going out to the marketplace, then take those email addresses to advertise to once they have said they want to engage with the brand.

2. Upload lists to your ad tech platforms.

3. Create new audiences based on that existing data.

Third Party Data

Whilst we are retiring third party cookies, third-party data is another way you can underpin your whole digital marketing strategy, how you can reach new users and how you can do that at relatively low cost.

These are the audiences available in Google’s programmatic network (DV360) – all of these lists are available for you to utilise so companies like Eyota or Live Ramp, as well as providing their data onboarding and enrichment services, they have also built all of these lists you are able to target for a price.

For Tag Digital, when we have clients in restaurant and food industries or nutrition, it means we’re able to still find these really targeted audience segments using third party data, pay between $1-3 CPM to target those lists. It means we can create top of the funnel, not too expensive, but a targeted portion of data that is allowing us to constantly be replacing anything we might have lost from remarketing for cookies.

This is a really effective strategy to keep building strong, targeted audiences based on data, but not necessarily cookie data.

Laura Davidson, Director, Tag Digital

For more information, watch the webinar replay below or message us on LiveChat.

Watch the Replay:

30 July 2021