Aug 23, 2023
It’s Time to Move On From Third-Party Cookies
Third-party cookies have long been the backbone of digital marketing and targeted advertising, and also at the center of a robust debate over consumer privacy for the last decade. Though rumors of the death of the third-party cookie have been around for the last few years, it does appear that the end is nigh.
In other words, the “Cookiepocalypse” is coming in 2024 whether we’re ready for it or not. And a lot of us aren’t ready for it!
According to a March 2023 study from Adobe, 75% of digital marketers still rely heavily on third-party cookies. Roughly 72% of respondents said the loss of the third-party cookie poses a major challenge for their businesses, and another 55% said they were at risk of losing valuable data in the near future.
And while the transition may be challenging or disrupting, there is a real opportunity for digital fundraising practitioners to prioritize consumer privacy and build more transparent relationships with their audiences.
Digital advertising is going to change, but there’s no need to panic. In fact, we should celebrate the opportunity to ditch outdated tactics and explore a new privacy-focused and audience-driven paradigm.
Get back to basics
Prioritize building your own first-party data assets. Encourage users to create accounts and focus on consent-based data collection (yes, that’s right, focus on the opt-ins instead of churn and burn!) You need to put more focus on traditional methods of reaching out to donors and supporters to gain a better understanding of what motivates them – spend some time focused early on in the engagement process, and you will have a lot of success converting those clicks over time.
If you’re struggling with how to approach this, start with authenticity. Ask genuine questions of your audience, record the answers, and use them to personalize your targeting and content. If your “personalization” starts and stops with a first_name insert, you’re going to have to step up your game.
Training and preparation
Making sure there is room in the budget for employee training will be vital. Third-party cookies have been the dominant tool in digital advertising, your junior staffers–and even some of your mid-level staff– won’t be prepared for the change unless you help bring them up to speed quickly.
Investing in staff training and professional development, in addition to helping improve staff morale and retention, will have another side effect: new ideas. Your team will be exposed to new ideas - and generate some of their own. You should embrace them. Nobody, neither us nor the big brains in Big Tech, knows exactly what the future will look like. In fact, you’ll be helping to invent it, so please take that responsibility seriously.
Attitude change and proper data management
Ultimately, navigating this demise of third-party cookies requires an attitude change. For small agencies and organizations, trust-building will be paramount. You need to win supporters and potential donors over by running programs that people find relevant and trustworthy.
Mid-sized and larger agencies and nonprofits, you will likely have the resources to weather the disruption with technology and good data management. But you will also need to be serious about running digital campaigns that build trust and influence.
And NOW is the time to get your data in shape, good data management will rule the day in a post third-party cookies world. So get organized and master the best practices of data collection and data management.
The future is here
As we’ve said from the start, it’s time to move away from third-party cookies, whether you want to or not. Change is coming. And it’s worth remembering that this particular change is probably for the better.
The agencies and organizations who accept and adapt to the change will be the most successful in the long term. So start planning now, shift your strategy, and prepare for alternatives to third-parties cookies sooner rather than later.
If you’d like to know more about best practices for organizing and managing your data, we’re always happy to have a conversation or give you a demo of the Frakture data console. Reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.