24 Alternatives to Third Party Cookies: Thrive in a Cookieless 2024 (Part 3: For the Tech Savvy)

ADvendio
7 min readJan 10, 2024

If you’re in the media industry, you probably live and breathe your audience. How else would smart publications drive wildly successful content, products, and advertising partnerships?

But then Google comes up with its cookie deprecation announcement, and after a few delays on its part… how you’ve served your audience and management for years suddenly becomes potentially obsolete.

Moreover, everyone in the industry is looking for a solution and finding the same few alternatives to third-party cookies. No wonder that…

  • 38.7% of publishers are still moderately or very concerned about cookie deprecation’s impact on their business.
  • Audience targeting is the number one concern for advertisers.

… according to a 2023 DoubleVerify survey.

Source: DoubleVerify

Here at ADvendio, we wanted to give you more.

We want to make sure you have everything you need to thrive in this new world, where data privacy grows more critical, but so do your relationships with your audience.

Therefore, we’ve developed this three-part series that aims to keep you ahead of the game. After…

… we’re back with 7 technologically advanced solutions. That’s a total of 24 alternatives to third-party cookies that you can choose from and implement in 2024.

While the first two articles present lower-hanging fruit, which many marketers and advertisers will likely adopt (if they haven’t already), today’s article is a bit different. It gives you a bigger “unfair” advance, since these alternatives aren’t as easy to implement in marketing strategies.

You can absolutely thrive with the simpler options, but if you can, stand out of the crowd by going the extra mile.

Tech-Savvy Alternatives to Third-Party Cookies

Ready for next-level audience targeting in a more private world?

Here’s an overview to get you started. We’ve written it in actual English, instead of techie jargon. The intention is to help you figure out the existing alternatives to third-party cookies before you dive deeper into the most relevant ones for you.

18) Google’s Privacy Sandbox

We’re starting this list of tech-savvy alternatives to third-party cookies with Google’s own Privacy Sandbox. Hopefully, this will relieve some of the fears around cookie deprecation — since data tracking and analyzing isn’t actually going anywhere, it’s just changing.

After all, with so many billions of dollars hanging on the line, Google’s Privacy Sandbox will continue…

  • Collecting user and device data
  • Analyzing this data
  • Giving advertisers and publishers tools for success (so we can keep buying and selling ads)

However, in an attempt to balance our needs with the growing demands for data privacy, Google will now limit publishers’ and advertisers’ access to user and device profiles. Users will be indistinguishable from one another.

19) Data Management Platforms (DMPs)

Data management platforms have always been useful in combining information from a variety of sources. This way, they build identifiers that make audience targeting more accurate and impactful. According to the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) and Ipsos, it’s the most used technology among US marketers. But with cookie deprecation around the corner, some face shutting down, as DMPs rely significantly on third-party cookies.

Source: IAB and Ipsos

That said, the smart ones will leverage and strengthen the first-party data they already collect and make it their focus. Those that do will establish themselves as reliable alternatives to third-party cookies for the media industry and beyond.

20) Universal ID Solutions

Universal ID solutions give you pretty accurate user identifiers across…

  • Devices, from desktops to mobile, and
  • Platforms, including online and offline.

While some use third-party cookies, they don’t rely solely on them, and can definitely work without them. And unlike third-party cookies, universal ID solutions tend to anonymize user data, to provide everyone with much better data privacy.

21) Publisher Provided Identifier (PPID)

Publisher Provided Identifier is a powerful Google feature, which has been celebrated as one of the top alternatives to third-party cookies. “Early adopters of PPIDs are seeing significant revenue uplift from their experiments,” declared Google.

It shared an example from the media industry:

  • A Spanish-language media conglomerate that saw a 15% increase in RPM (revenue per mille, AKA how much revenue you make for every 1,000 impressions).

PPIDs allow you to recognize users across devices and platforms. You can build cross-device or cross-platform data about each reader, then segment your entire audience based on mutual identifiers for more efficient audience targeting.

22) Identity Graphs

Group segmentation is great, but deeper personalization makes your marketing strategies even better. An identity graph is a way to do it post-cookie deprecation. Yes, you can still target specific individuals with messages for their unique needs.

It’s basically a database that, like other alternatives to third-party cookies we’re covering today, builds identifiers by connecting data sets of online activities across devices into one unified persona.

It, too, anonymizes the personas, so that marketers and advertisers can benefit from the data while ensuring as much data privacy as possible.

23) Permission-Based Panels

Many of the above solutions for overcoming cookie deprecation replace third-party cookies with new identifiers. Permission-based panels take data privacy protections to another level. The idea is you only track people who’ve given you permission to do so. Yes, you’ll have smaller data sets, but if they’re representative of your audience, they could actually be more beneficial to audience targeting, reports Kantar.

That’s because permission-based panels allow you to track non-exposed audiences as well, which cookies and their direct replacements do not, it adds. Hence, it’s easier for you to compare it with audiences that have been exposed to your ads, and find the most accurate audience for your message — an audience that’s ready to convert.

24) AI-Generated Synthetic Data

Obviously, we can’t have a list of alternatives to third-party cookies in 2024 and beyond without mentioning AI. So here you go. But as you read forward, beware — AI is great, but this specific option might do more harm than good when it comes to data privacy. We’re including it here to ensure you understand both the opportunity and the risk, especially as AI is one of the hottest terms right now.

AI-generated synthetic data means you generate real-world-like data, that mimics actual reader or consumer behavior. You use it to test different audience targeting options in simulation, optimize it, and only then launch a real campaign. According to AiThority, you can use “internal data… open data, external studies and business knowledge… [to] create a synthetic data set of consumer behavior.”

But when you do that, it warns, you risk data leakage, which could hurt the data privacy of real people and companies. Additionally, you might accidentally find yourself using others’ leaked data and “propriety information,” which “can… be seen as plagiarism,” it emphasizes.

Make it Easy for People to Understand How You’re Protecting Their Data Privacy

The most important people in the media industry will always be its readers. They’re the ones who make the entire business model possible. Customers and advertisers, brought into the industry thanks to publications’ relationships with their readers, also matter.

All of them have at least one thing in common: They care about data privacy.

Therefore, whatever alternatives to third-party cookies work best for you — zero-party data, first-party data, second-party data — and whether you use simple or complex technology, make sure your people know you’ve got them.

Make it easy to understand. For example:

  • Create a short page that’s easy to find, in actual English, not tech-ish or legal-ish.
  • Create a quick popup — again, in actual English.
  • Include it on your home page or sidebar.

Not This Tech Savvy? 17 Low-Hanging Alternatives to Third-Party Cookies

Like we’ve said throughout this article series, there are many ways to run successful marketing strategies while protecting data privacy. Check out the other parts of this series:

As we wrap up our 24 alternatives to third-party cookies, we want to remind you that you don’t have to use them all. The idea is to choose a couple (or more, depending on your capacity) that are the best fit for your specific situation, and invest in them fully. Once you’ve mastered them, feel free to add more.

The media industry and its audience have the potential to thrive as a result. We’re talking happier, more loyal readers and customers, who trust you enough to keep coming back and recommend you to everyone they know.

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ADvendio

Publisher’s all-in-one business software solution for efficient ad sales management built on Salesforce with customers in 25+ countries. http://advendio.com/