How Losing Third Party Cookies Will Affect Marketing

2019-09-03 by Ronn Torossian
How Losing Third Party Cookies Will Affect Marketing

Today, privacy is one of the hottest topics that marketers debate over. Consumer data privacy is an important issue, and with the increase in our reliance on technology, keeping our information and behavior private has become a top provider for many service providers. With data breaches more likely than ever due to the advances made by the dark web’s hackers and consumers increasingly concerned about handing out their information, brands must be ready to pivot away from the cornerstones that they’ve relied on for years.

One such element that is dead or in the process of demise is the third party cookie. Marketers will recognize this term as an element that enables brands to track consumer behavior online. Retargeting is a popular way that brands utilize cookies, which gives them an opportunity to show the consumer ads repeatedly, on multiple platforms, all thanks to the ability to track their activity.


Sounds creepy when it’s put that way, right? But this retargeting practice has been in operation as long as cookies have existed on the internet.

Now, service providers such as Apple and Firefox have initiated protocol that can effectively block this tracking mechanism. In addition, more brands are now being required to disclose their use of cookies and give consumers the option to deny the use of them. With this increased level of control in the consumer’s hands, it’s now up to brands to adjust accordingly.

One thing that won’t be going away is keyword tracking, which is another way to analyze and predict consumer behavior. Tracking keywords is a useful element of any marketing strategy, and tailoring content to include the higher-performing keywords can bring new traffic to a website easily. This sort of “contextual” marketing will do well as an alternative to remarketing that also honors consumer privacy in a better way.

Another way that marketers can boost their strategy without using third party cookies is to monitor traffic sources using analytics tools such as Google Analytics. These tools can be as minute and detailed or as broad as you’d prefer. This is entirely dependent on the KPIs that the brand is measuring and what metrics are important for it to monitor.

By keeping track of all traffic sources, marketers can target more content or paid search ads accordingly. For example, let’s say that a sports blog is a top referrer to a website that pumps out statistics for fantasy football. Knowing this, the website can target this blog with specific ads or use keywords that can be found in its content in the content they push out. This symbiotic environment will be instrumental for brands looking to suitably replace third party cookies.

While cookies have made our lives easier as marketers because of the automation they offer, there are still plenty of opportunities to take advantage of automation. Generating reports that measure the effectiveness of marketing campaigns’ keywords or analyzes traffic acquisition can easily be automated, giving marketers more time to spend on creating content that will reach their target demographic.

Ronn Torossian is CEO of 5WPR.

Ronn Torossian: Insights from a Native New Yorker and CEO of 5WPR

Ronn Torossian is the founder and CEO of 5W Public Relations, one of the largest independently-owned PR firms in the United States. With over 20 years of experience crafting and executing powerful narratives, Torossian is one of America's most prolific and well-respected Public Relations professionals. Since founding 5WPR in 2003, he has led the company's growth, overseeing more than 200 professionals in the company's headquarters in midtown Manhattan. With clients spanning corporate, technology, consumer and crisis, in addition to digital marketing and public affairs capabilities, 5WPR is regularly recognized as an industry leader and has been named "PR Agency of the Year" by the American Business Awards on multiple occasions. Throughout his career, Torossian has worked with some of the world's most visible companies, brands and organizations. His strategic, resourceful approach has been recognized with numerous awards including being named the Stevie American Business Awards 2020 Entrepreneur of the Year, the American Business Awards PR Executive of the Year, twice over, an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year semi-finalist, Metropolitan Magazine's Most Influential New Yorker, a 2020 Top Crisis Communications Professional by Business Insider, and a recipient of Crain’s New York 2021 Most Notable in Marketing & PR. Torossian is known as one of the country's foremost experts on crisis communications, and is called on to counsel blue chip companies, top business executives and entrepreneurs both in the United States and worldwide. Torossian has lectured on crisis PR at Harvard Business School, appears regularly on CNN & CNBC, is a contributing columnist for Forbes and the New York Observer, and has authored two editions of his book, "For Immediate Release: Shape Minds, Build Brands, and Deliver Results With Game-Changing Public Relations," which is an industry best-seller. A NYC native, Torossian lives in Manhattan with his children. He is a member of Young Presidents Organization (YPO), and active in numerous charities