Rodney Perry

Rodney Perry

Head of Data & Analytics UK

Third-party cookie deprecation is not the end of third-party data

With the deprecation of third-party cookies, there will be less third-party data available, but first-party data is also getting worse – meaning quality third-party data is more important than ever for the success of data strategies in the future.

Google’s Privacy Sandbox is starting to be tested on 1% of users. Third-party cookies are now destined to disappear, but whether Google can maintain the timelines remains to be seen.

With the deprecation, the importance of first-party data strategies continues to be the most crucial aspect of a measurement strategy. However, the limiting factor has always been effort, meaning the use of vast amounts of third-party data collected by the tech giants was easier to collect than doing it yourself.

Times are changing, third-party cookies are slowly being deprecated across all browsers, and greater privacy and technological restrictions are being enforced, restricting what data can be collected. Furthermore, this final point has a major impact on first-party data – not only is the volume of third-party data greatly reduced, but the quality is also decreasing. To overcome this problem, modelling and aggregated bidding strategies are being used.

This limitation of first-party data is more pronounced on upper funnel activities and sites where logging in and identification are not essential. Third-party data is even more important in these cases as we are looking for contextual data that may have influenced a customer’s purchase decision. For example, knowing the ideal time to sell an umbrella is when it starts to rain. Good first-party data is not needed to optimise bidding in this case, but accurate and timely third-party weather data is.

When it comes to looking for good third-party data sources, it is important to consider what influences the decisions of users in each case – are you a retailer or travel agent influenced by rainy days, or a financial service affected by interest rates and exchange rates? 

There are so many good third-party data sources available that it is worth taking the time to determine which can efficiently and effectively be incorporated into your measurement strategy. To name a few useful third-party data sources:

  • Weather data
  • Location data (e.g. store locations, proximity to services, etc.)
  • Events data (e.g. a concert, a football match, etc.)
  • Search data (e.g. Google Search Console or Google Trends)
  • Financial data (e.g. interest rates)

Incorporating these data sources into a measurement strategy is only the first step. The second is integrating it into data collection and activation. During upper funnel and display activity, solutions such as BrandMax can optimise your custom bidding algorithms to improve CPM.

In 2024, a blended data strategy will remain crucial for businesses. A company that focuses solely on a first-party data strategy is limiting themselves compared to organisations with a diverse approach are able to activate their first-party data effectively as well as find and use relevant third-party data in data-sparse environments.