Peloton's Vision In a World Without Third-Party Cookies

By Alizeh Rasool

Third-party cookies have been predominantly in use since 1990s and have done wonders in the online marketing ecosystem by enabling advertisers to gather enormous user data for better ad targeting. Every technology, however good it may be, has its own lifespan, making it outdated with the advancement of time. This is the case with Google Chrome as it prepares to phase out third-party cookies by 2022, following the moves by Apple’s Safari and Mozilla Firefox browsers. Google has introduced its own substitute called the trust token to prevent data loss and subsequently ensure the stability of its own advertising revenues. It is designed to authenticate a user without needing to know his or her identity. Since trust tokens are all identical and cryptographically signed, they will preserve user identity across the web and minimize fraud like individual tracking. Tokens also have the capability to identify the difference between a bot and the real user who visits a website. They are a part of the Privacy Sandbox (launched by Google last year), that will ensure advertisers are using their advertising platforms in a safer manner in the future.

Why this move?

Talks on data security have been widely in the news for some time now. Users today have become much more aware of the importance of their personal data and potential effects of misuse on their private lives. They are concerned about their privacy being compromised using third-party cookies. Therefore, over the years more people have been using ad blockers to feel safe while online. This ultimately threatens both the users as well as advertisers whose revenue depends directly upon ads.

It is important for brand marketers and their agency partners to understand that consumer data should be used and not abused. Since May 2018, many Governments across the globe have stepped in to actively bring in effect strict privacy regulations with hefty fines for non-compliance. The most vocal and active have been GDPR in Europe and CCPA in California.

What is First Party Data?

First party data or cookies comprises of the information a company collects about their customers from its own sources be it their own website, app, social media channels, customer feedback surveys or CRM. This data plays a significant role in a marketer’s communications strategies because it identifies existing information about a user’s demography, interests, purchase history, likes and dislikes etc. It is also important to note that this data is generally free and can be used for better personalization of ads. First-party data can be relatively easy to collect and manage, especially if the company has a Data Management System (DMS). It also complies with the current privacy norms and has the required consent of users.

We would be remiss if we did not mention the impact COVID has played in the gathering of first party data for many businesses. The COVID crisis caused many companies to significantly improve their online presence. For pure survival reasons many companies had to transform themselves into online businesses literally overnight! Some also either quickly built or significantly improved their ecommerce sites. Many sports, entertainment and charity fund raising events went 100% virtual. This sea change has enabled marketers to extract better data about their own customers. It has created an incredible opportunity for them to harness this first party data to develop stronger marcom programs and advertising campaigns.


First-party data, the future?

First-party cookie data from browsers like Google’s trust tokens, combined with a marketer’s own data, is the best way forward. It will undoubtedly be the most suitable alternative for third-party data. This is the data collected by the host websites themselves when users sign up or log on to them. Stating that the world for marketers and advertisers will be a better place without third party cookies will not be wrong. The reasons being -

  • First-party cookies collect the most organic data which is pure and highly sorted.

  • As mentioned earlier, the most important concern of fraud and privacy issues of users is addressed through first-party cookies.

  • Most importantly the first-party data gets saved in the user computer by default and does not violate any security norms.

  • It puts the onus on all partied involved (marketers, publishers, browsers) to comply with data norms, improve their analytics and serve their clients better.

  • These first-party cookies will help advertisers and clients learn about user activities on a website more precisely. Using this information, basic analytics can be devised to create better strategies for effective marketing.

Peloton’s Vision in a World without Third-Party Cookies

The name for Google’s solution being called “trust tokens” couldn’t be more comforting, could it? Afterall, how can you NOT feel warm and fuzzy about a solution that has the word “trust” in it?

At Peloton, we will adjust, along with our clients, to whatever industry solutions become acceptable alternatives to third-party cookie audience tracking. Trust or no trust of alternatives like Google trust tokens, we are convinced that the time has come for marketers to get on board and improve their own websites and customer data management systems.

Consumers will have 20+ devices per household next year including mobile phones, wearables, tablets, and smart speakers, creating even greater mobility and connectivity of their devices. The data we capture will be overwhelming. Our clients will need data and technology roadmaps to navigate this terrain. Peloton can help marketers get there.

Our vision is simple, sustainable, and future proof. There is no arguing that with better data comes better results. We have developed a 3-tiered system called “GEARS” to move our clients from advertising campaign results based on basic media metrics (low gear), to their most desirable KPI’s (high gear). As we all improve available data sources, successful outcomes will be via better campaign optimizations and advanced strategies for future campaigns.

Peloton Media is a "best-in-class" digital media advertising agency that will interpret available data sources and develop insightful media strategies that drive real business results for clients. Trust us!