Sep 8, 2023

Our Cookie-less Future: First-Party Data or Bust

Third-party cookies are about to go extinct, and progressive digital agencies and organizations need to be ready. A world where ad platforms cannot anonymously track everyone without their consent is probably an improvement from the status quo, but there’s no question it will disrupt the digital advocacy landscape. 

Let’s talk about how we adapt. 

Our cookie-less future may seem unclear and perhaps foreboding. That’s a natural reaction. But we propose that a return to the basics of digital engagement will go a long way in easing the transition. In short, cultivate trusting relationships with your audience, donors, and supporters.

First-party data is your friend here. Anything you collect directly from your users bypasses the issues with third-party data, and is more valuable to boot. More information about who you’re talking to means more opportunities to deliver tailored and specific messages. Which in turn leads to more people caring about what you have to say and taking action.

We beat this particular drum quite often, because it’s the single-biggest issue we see with unsuccessful digital outreach programs: you cannot treat people like fungible ATMs. More than ever, subscribers, donors, and advocates demand honesty, transparency, and authenticity. That is the real cost to building a sustained, successful digital engagement program, whether you’re raising money for disaster relief or running for President. 

The new cookie-less future is a natural evolution of people’s demand for data privacy. This is not a trend that’s slowing down, so best to get ahead of it now.

As a byproduct of the work we do, we see a lot of organizations and agencies mapping out this new future. They’re breaking down organizational silos, and providing aggressive training and professional development opportunities to their strategists. This isn’t about simply adjusting tactics; a lot of the strategies we’ll need in the cookie-less future haven’t been invented yet. 

(Of course, you’ll need a top-notch data partner if you want to shape the future. I’d recommend us!)

It’s up to you whether you see these changes as disruptions or as an opportunity for growth and innovation. But if you focus on building and leveraging your first-party data, you will be set up for success, however things shake out. As we’ve said before, 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’d love to show you what we can offer. Reach out to us at

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