What Is Cookieless Marketing & Why Is It Important

In the wake of new privacy laws, many platforms are moving away from third-party cookies. This means that businesses will need to find new ways to target their audience after many years of becoming over-reliant on them…

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So what does this mean for marketing?

And how can businesses adjust to this new landscape? Read on to find out.

What Does Cookieless Marketing Mean? 

Since third-party cookies first came on the scene, marketers and ad platforms have been spoiled with a vast array of data that they can use to target their audience more effectively. 

However, one of the downsides of this increased data collection is the risk of violating user privacy. 

This pressure from the public has been building over the past few years and really hit advertisers hard when Apple announced how it would be handling third-party cookies in their notorious ios 14.5 update.

This resulted in major tracking and targeting issues on Facebook and the platform has struggled to recover since.

Whilst new tools are popping up every day to aid with tracking reliability. We may be fighting a losing battle here, as things are only likely to get worse with privacy and data laws only getting tighter.

This has led to the rise of cookieless marketing, which is a way of targeting users without relying on cookies or other tracking methods.

There are mixed feelings about this, but the truth is, advertisers have had it easy for too long, and marketers have gotten lazy. Most marketers spend their time, just mindlessly pressing buttons and using tools, instead of actually finding creative solutions to growth

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Removing third-party cookies means we need to become smarter and begin focusing on the core principles of advertising the right way.

This creates a HUGE opportunity for the businesses and marketers willing to put the work in and do things differently.

How will the absence of third-party cookies affect marketing attribution?

Now, let’s just get this out of the way…it doesn’t matter how many tech start-ups try to plug this gap…

Marketing attribution is going to become harder and harder in the cookieless future we’re moving toward.

However, it’s important to bear in mind that CRM-reported attribution or even specific attribution tracking software has never been a fool-proof solution.

For example, if somebody saw your company mentioned in a Reddit comment (with no links) or heard your brand mentioned on a podcast and then decides to Google you, no software can track that.

That’s why relying on first party customer data like simply putting a “where did you hear about us” form field on your high-intent forms is going to become essential.

I cover this more in my latest video here:

Another obvious benefit of cookieless marketing is that it is more privacy-friendly and consumer-focused. 

Since there is no need to track users’ online activities, there is less risk of violating their privacy. This can be especially important for businesses that are handling sensitive user data, such as health information or financial records. 

Additionally, cookieless marketing strategies can be more effective than traditional cookie-based approaches, since it avoids the potential for ad blockers to block cookies and prevent ads from being served.

How To Use Cookieless Marketing In Your Business?

Cookieless marketing means that marketers will have to find other ways to target and personalize their ads. So, how can this be done?

First Party Data & Building An Email List

One example is through the use of first-party data. This is data that is collected directly from the user with their explicit intent, such as through sign-ups, lead magnet downloads, webinar registrations, surveys, or loyalty programs. By collecting this data, marketers can gain insights into the user’s preferences and interests. They can then use this information to create more targeted and personalized ads. First-party data also puts the emphasis back on creating great content the user actually WANTS to see or sign up for, which in turn leads to leads with a higher level of intent.

Using Platform level first-party data for retargeting.

A good example of this would be running top-of-funnel video ads on a platform like Facebook or Instagram. You can then retarget the most engaged views of those videos (say 50% or more) with traffic/conversion campaigns later down the line, since this video engagement is classed as first-party data because it happens on the platform. This method ensures that you’re not wasting your budget on people who aren’t interested. We’ve seen this performing extremely well across both LinkedIn and Facebook Ads over the past year often results in a dramatic reduction in both cost-per-click AND cost-per-acquisitions.

Device Fingerprinting

Another way to target users without cookies is through the use of device fingerprinting. This technology uses information about a user’s device, such as the operating system, browser type, and IP address, to create a unique “fingerprint.” This fingerprint can then be used to track the user across different websites and devices. While this technology is not perfect, it can be used to give marketers a general idea of a user’s interests and habits.

Contextual Marketing

Contextual marketing is also a great way to approach marketing without relying on cookies. By targeting users based on the content they are consuming at any given moment, great marketing teams can personalise their offers and create a more succinct user journey that leads to more conversions. 

Strategic Partnerships

Strategic partnerships can be a great way of amplifying this, by finding businesses offering complementary products or services and maybe offering affiliate commissions of referral pay-outs.

The Benefits of Brand Marketing Over Cookie-Based Marketing

Brand marketing and cookie-based marketing are two terms that are often used interchangeably, but they actually refer to two very different types of marketing. Brand marketing is all about building awareness and loyalty for a specific brand, while cookie-based marketing relies on cookies to track user behaviour and provide targeted ads. 

While the cookie-based type of targeted advertising can be effective, it also has its limitations. Perhaps the biggest limitation is that it is based on what a person has done in the past, rather than who they are or what they might be interested in. This is where brand marketing comes in. Brand marketing is all about building a relationship with a customer based on shared values and interests, rather than just trying to sell them a product. 

It’s about creating an emotional connection that will lead to customer loyalty and repeat business. While brand marketing may not always be as immediately effective as cookie-based marketing, it is a far more sustainable approach that will ultimately lead to greater success for businesses.

Brand Marketing Vs Cookie Based Marketing

There are a few key reasons why brand marketing is superior to cookie-based marketing. First, brand marketing is more effective in building long-term loyalty and customer relationships. Second, brand marketing is less likely to be intrusive or annoying to users than cookie-based advertising.

And third, brands have more control over their message when they engage in brand marketing, as opposed to relying on cookies, which can be blocked or deleted by users. For these reasons, businesses and advertisers should shift from an overreliance on cookies to a focus on brand-building and using first party platforms like their CRM to enrich data over time.

Brand building involves creating an emotional connection with customers that goes beyond targeting and conversion rates. It could involve creating engaging content that tells a story or delivers a message that resonates with customers. It could also involve developing a strong brand identity that customers can connect with on an emotional level. By focusing on brand building, businesses can create long-term relationships with their customers that do not rely on cookies.

What Does The IOS 14 Update Means For Third-Party Cookies And Advertising?

The newly released iOS 14 update includes a number of features that are designed to protect user privacy, including a new setting that allows users to control whether or not they allow third-party cookies to be placed on their devices. 

This is a significant change, as third-party cookies have been used for years by advertising companies to track users across the web and serve them targeted ads. The new setting will make it more difficult for advertisers to track users and serve them targeted ads, but it is not yet clear how big of an impact this will have on the online advertising ecosystem. 

Some believe that this could lead to a more privacy-conscious internet, while others believe that it could simply lead to more web browsing being done in private mode. Only time will tell how this change will affect the way we use the internet.

Impact Of IOS 14 Update On Facebook Ads

iOS 14 changes the way Facebook delivers ads to people using iPhones. The new operating system gives users more control over the data that apps can collect on them. 

As a result, Facebook says it will no longer be able to show targeted ads to iPhone users based on their interests or activity on other apps and websites. This could have a major impact on the social media giant’s business model, which relies heavily on targeted advertising.

Whilst many of our clients are still seeing highly profitable campaigns on Facebook even after the update, we’ve seen CPA’s (cost per acquisition) rising across the board due to a loss in tracking and targeting reliability.

There are ways to navigate this to an extent such as using first-party facebook data like “video views” campaigns combined with retargeting viewers of those videos. This can have a similar positive impact to regular retargeting but isn’t affected by cookies as people don’t leave the Facebook platform to watch the video 

We’re also having to rely more on server side event data combined with CRM data in order to effectively track results.

Some experts believe that the changes could lead to a drop in revenue for Facebook. Others, however, say that the impact may not be as significant as some think. It’s still too early to tell how iOS 14 will affect Facebook’s bottom line. However, the company is already working on ways to adapt to the new operating system. 

For example, it is testing a new feature that would allow businesses to target ads based on customer lists, rather than data collected from third-party sources. Only time will tell how well these methods work. In the meantime, the impact of iOS 14 on Facebook’s Ads business remains to be seen.


So, what does this all mean for businesses and advertisers? It means that we need to be smarter with our marketing. Rather than relying on cookies (which are becoming less and less reliable), we need to focus on brand-building and using first party platforms like our CRM to enrich data over time. This will allow us to better target potential customers and create more personalised experiences for them. Are you ready for the shift away from cookieless marketing? 

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Tom Peyton
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