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No Cookies? No Problem!

In 2021, digital advertising in the United States grew to $139.8 billion with a lot of marketing dollars relying on a strategy upon which both Google and Apple have put a firm expiration date.

The bulk of digital ad spend still relies on third-party cookies for targeting. However, Google has announced the removal of third-party cookies by the end of 2022 when using the Chrome browser. Meanwhile Apple’s iOS is already allowing users to block cookie-based tracking. Therefore, it’s imperative for brands and digital marketers to have a plan for cookie-free digital advertising.  

What Are Third-Party Cookies? 

Two kinds of cookies are created by a web browser when someone visits a website: a first-party cookie and a third-party cookie.  

A first-party cookie is hosted and used by the visited website, but third-party cookies are hosted by third-party servers such as an ad server. These digital advertisers aggregate data from third-party cookies to create a profile for personalized ads. Third-party cookies give brands the ability to target potential customers, generate item-level data, and increase sales. 

However, because third-party cookies lack consumer consent, regulators in the US and elsewhere have enacted regulations to phase them out. In the EU, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) requires consent to place a cookie on a user’s device and California enacted the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) which is a state-wide data privacy law that regulates how businesses all over the world are allowed to handle the personal information (PI) of California residents. 

Consumer attitudes towards data privacy 

A 2020 Consumer Reports study found that 96% of Americans agree that more should be done to ensure that companies protect the privacy of consumers and 42% of consumers believe that companies should be the most responsible for user privacy. A better overall consumer experience is why Cardlytics uses only first-party purchase intelligence data from its bank partners to target and serve content within its advertising platform and does not require third-party information to operate.  

User privacy has always been a central part of the Cardlytics DNA.  

Beginning our journey as a partner to banks and financial institutions required an intense focus on protecting sensitive data and respecting the limits of usage as a trusted platform. As we’ve grown and expanded our offering, we’ve maintained that focus on user privacy and found unique and respectful ways to bring the insights from our expansive dataset into the hands of our brand partners. 

Cardlytics uses cookies when validating how well our advertising platform is performing. For example, cookies allow us to verify when a consumer makes a purchase after clicking on our ad so we can validate the program’s success to our bank and advertising partners. We only see a consumer as an ID number and never receive any of their Personally Identifiable Information (PII). Google’s announcement does not impact the way in which we measure, report, or use cookies for performance validation. 

Increasing consumer preference for online shopping, coupled with the disappearance of third-party online tracking data, means that marketers will need to rewrite their digital marketing playbook. 

Here’s a look at some comparable tools for digital advertisers to explore: 

Data Collection: Optimize first-party data at the item-level 

The main advantages of third-party cookie data for marketers are the ability to present personalized offers to new customers and provide item-level data for retailers. To continue access to this data, analyze SKU-level purchase data from past transactions to identify purchase trends by demographic, location, or income level. 

Web Traffic: Leverage first-party tools to generate sales and reach 

Third-party cookie data is useful in initiating online calls-to-action like driving traffic to a brand’s website or product pages. To augment the web traffic that was coming from digital ads, engage a card-linked platform to drive click-throughs to the website or app. 

Discovery: Explore marketing tools that engage customers’ emotions 

Third-party cookie data helped retailers and brands capture new customers by tracking web browser history. To identify new customers now, retailers should work with Cardlytics because we identify opportunity through Purchase Intelligence. Our powerful AI and dozens of analysts have insight into where and when customers buy both online and in-store, answering questions that inform business decisions.  

With the industry shift towards better user privacy and the move away from third-party cookies, our first-party purchase intelligence data remains reliable, actionable, and protected. Working with Cardlytics will help marketers better reach the right audience with more relevant offers in a third-party cookie free world.  

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