Episode #2: The Cookie Crumbles

How the Death of Third-Party Cookies Will Impact Your Online Experience

Episode #2: The Cookie Crumbles

For the past 30 years the cookie has been the backbone of the internet—enabling personalization, monetization and giving birth to digital advertising as we know it.

Fast forward to 2024, and major changes are on the horizon with Google announcing the end of third-party cookies. In this very first episode of Blind Data, Kelly Nyland, Founder & CEO of Whym and Ryan Hornberger, VP of Engineering at Whym, dive deep into the shift that's about to transform the foundation of the internet, affecting everyone’s online experiences.

Join as we break down:

  • The birth of the third-party cookie, its rise to fame, and its imminent demise
  • The next version of the internet: What specific changes are underway with third-party cookies, data privacy & consent
  • How will the loss of cookies affect both the user experience AND digital advertising
  • The future of cookieless commerce and how brands can adapt

Listen 🎧 to the episode on SpotifyApple, Google, Amazon or iHeart—or watch Kelly and Ryan below for highlights and key takeaways below.

Watch Now ▶️

  • 3:30 - Third-party cookies explained in simple terms
  • 5:46 - The history of the third-party cookie
  • 7:55 - Apple’s privacy evolution with the rise of third-party cookies
  • 8:22 - The Impact of new changes on apps & browsers
  • 11:20 - The current pitfalls of consumer data collection
  • 12:54 - The status quo of the internet: what’s changing when we lose cookies
  • 14:10 - A visual breakdown of data tracking with third-party cookies
  • 17:09 - A visual breakdown of what is changing to data tracking with the loss of cookies
  • 21:20 - The data brands had access to before the loss of cookies
  • 26:46 - How can brands rebuild shopper identity without cookies
  • 29:16 - What organizations will be hit hardest when cookies disappear
  • 29:55 - The power advertisers will lose to target without cookies
  • 30:02 - What are pixels and how do they track users?
  • 34:50 -  What are some top concerns around data sharing?
  • 43:19 - The impact of changes on brand's tech stack
  • 44:41 - What questions should brands ask when evaluating new tech?

Video Highlights & Key Takeaways

1. Can You Explain Third-Party Cookies in Simple Terms?

Key Takeaway #1. Cookies have been instrumental in creating the memory of the internet. Consumers, brands & advertisers will ALL feel the loss of third-party cookies.

The internet cookie will be 30 years old next year! As cookies have evolved, they have become essential in fueling growth for the entire internet—impacting brands, consumers and advertisers in different ways. With the loss of third-party cookies, there will be major implications among all groups.

"Cookies help browsers store pieces of information that can be used later to re-identify you and build a unique experience."

For Brands & Advertisings the changes will be felt most significantly in the following areas:

  • Tracking, Targeting & Personalization: The loss of these cookies will make it more challenging to deliver tailored ads.
  • Measurement & Attribution: The absence of these cookies will require a shift to new attribution methodologies, making it harder to measure the direct impact of advertising efforts.
  • Monetization & Conversion: The loss of these cookies might lead to a shift in monetization strategies, potentially focusing more on subscriptions or other revenue streams.

For shoppers, the loss of cookies presents somewhat of a double-edged sword. While on one hand, they will gain more privacy-centric online experiences, but at the loss of personalization:

  • Privacy Improvement: The loss of third-party cookies enhances shopper's online privacy. It prevents advertisers from extensively tracking their behavior across the web without explicit consent.
  • Less Intrusive Advertising: With fewer personalized ads, users will be less bombarded with content or ads as they browse.
  • Reduced Personalization: On the flip side, shoppers might encounter less relevant advertisements, as advertisers will have a harder time understanding their preferences without third-party cookies.

2. What Impact will Third-Party Cookies Changes have on Brand's Tech Stacks?

Key Takeaway #2. First-party data capture is the #1 tool to mitigate the loss of third-party cookies.

First-party data collection tools are poised to become essential in overcoming the challenges posed by the loss of third-party cookies. Third-party cookies, which track users' online behavior across different websites, are becoming less effective due to increasing privacy regulations and browser updates that restrict their usage.

First-party data refers to information collected directly from users by a website or platform they interact with. This data is highly valuable because it is willingly shared by users and is typically more accurate and reliable than third-party data.

"Remember when every website added the “accept cookies” button to their site? Now think about something like that, but demanding your email or phone number."

To overcome the limitations of third-party cookies, organizations are focusing on harnessing their own first-party data to improve their audience targeting and tracking.

3. The Shopping Experience WITHOUT Third-Party Cookies: What Will Change?

Key Takeaway #3. Without third-party cookies—wishlists, abandoned cart data, browsing history & more will become obsolete.

The loss of third-party cookies will have significant implications for various aspects of online retail and user tracking.

As discussed, cookies help give the internet and browsers memory about their users to serve up more personalized and engaging online experiences.

In this chart, we break down how user's tracking data will be impacted with the deprecation of cookies:

4. How Does Tracking Work for First-Party Data vs. Third-Party Data?

Key Takeaway #4. Data tracking, transparency & data ownership will be the MOST impacted by third-party cookie changes.

Until recent changes were forced from Apple and Google, the vast majority of the internet relied on third-party data for targeting and tracking.

What is third-party data? Here's a simple explanation. Imagine you're trying to keep track of how many miles you walk every day. Instead of using your own pedometer, you ask a friend to count your steps and tell you the total each day. In this scenario, your friend's data is the "third party data." You're relying on their information to know how much you've walked.

Similarly, in the digital world, companies and websites often rely on data collected by other companies to understand things like how many people visit their websites, what pages they look at, and what they click on. This data is collected by third-party services or tools that specialize in tracking online activity. Just like the example with the pedometer, the data collected by these third parties helps businesses understand what's happening on their websites, even though they're not collecting the data themselves.

Think of first-party data like information you gather directly from your own experiences. For instance, if you keep a journal of how far you walk every day using your own pedometer, that's your "first-party data" on your walking habits.

In the digital world, first-party data is similar. It's the information that a company collects directly from its own interactions with customers.

5. The Evolution of Third-Party Cookies—What's Changed & What's Next?

Key Takeaway #5. The loss of third-party cookies will change the foundational DNA of the internet as we know it.

The impending loss of third-party cookies marks a significant turning point that will reshape the fundamental structure of the internet. These cookies, which have long been a cornerstone of online advertising and user tracking, have enabled personalized experiences and targeted marketing.

Without them, the internet ecosystem will need to adapt and innovate, likely leading to a shift towards more privacy-conscious practices and a reimagining of how user data is collected and utilized. This transformation could bring about a new era of digital engagement that prioritizes user privacy while challenging businesses to find innovative ways to deliver tailored online experiences.

No Cookies? No Problem. 🍪

Whym's powerful first-party data tools helps you rebuild shopper identity on site so you can deliver private, personalized shopping experiences.

Designed to impress shoppers & boost your conversion rates, Whym is packed with incredible features to enhance your customers' experience, including:

🛒 Abandoned Cart Recovery

👍 Favorites / Likes

🚨 Discount Alerts

📝 Build SMS & Email Lists

🌐 Shop in separate Browser Tab

🗣 Low Stock Alerts

👀 Recently Browsed Items

📍 Save for Later

Fast-growing brands like Siete Family Foods, Doe Lashes and Sok-It trust Whym's first-party tools to capture future demand and turn browsers into buyers.

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