Posted on Apr 22, 2024

How Cookieless Advertising is Reshaping Industry

5 reviews

What does it mean to be cookieless? Believe it or not, the cookieless world is almost here, and the main reason for this is growing concerns about data privacy. For instance, almost 70% of Americans are concerned regarding the amount of data collected by businesses, while over 80% of users state that potential data-related risks are more important to them than the benefits they may get from a company. Additionally, more than 90% of businesses claim that customers won’t purchase their products if their personal data isn’t protected properly. 

Many things have changed along the way, including the programmatic monetization strategies. For this reason, it is important to know what the advertising technology ecosystem has in store for now.

Even though Chrome delayed Cookie shutdown (again) until the second half of 2024, cookieless advertising remains the top programmatic advertising trend of 2024. Therefore, it’s important to start preparing for cookieless marketing now, and this guide is here to help. 

Maintain The Highest Revenues in Media Trading With SmartHub!
Get a Consultation For Free
Contact us

Advertising and Marketing in a Cookieless World: a New Call for Data Privacy

So, what are cookies in the first place? Just to refresh our memory a bit – cookies are pieces of data created by a web server. Cookies are used to ‘memorize’ user preferences. Let`s look closer at first party vs third party cookies:

  • First-party cookies are set by the website you are visiting. They are used to remember data specific to that website, like your login or items in your shopping cart.
  • Third-party cookies are set by domains other than the website you are visiting. They are often used by advertisers to track consumer behavior online so that they can capture the data and use it for advertising purposes. For instance, a website may include ads from an ad network, and that network may set cookies to track your browsing habits across different sites.

Cookies eventually became the most valuable tool in the hands of digital advertisers who utilize them to deliver targeted ads. Supply partners apply those for web analytics and other purposes.

When Did the Need For Cookie-Free Advertising Appear?

Unfortunately, some entities found a way to unethically leverage the cookie’s mechanism to compile user profiles for monetary gains. They obtained non-consensual access to users’ demographic data, interests, lifestyle, and financial data; this led to massive privacy breaches.

  • Google and Safari Cookie Controversy (2012): Google was found to have bypassed privacy settings in Apple’s Safari browser to place tracking cookies on users’ devices without their knowledge or consent.
  • Vizio Smart TV Tracking (2017): Vizio, a smart TV manufacturer, was fined by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) for secret online tracking of consumer behavior without their consent.
  • Facebook-Cambridge Analytica Scandal (2018): In this widely publicized case, Cambridge Analytica, a political consulting firm, harvested personal data from millions of Facebook users without their consent.

Some brands see cookie free targeting as a single alternative to the one applying data from online mechanisms for tracking, while Safari and Firefox are already blocking cookies by default. As for Google, it currently collaborates with advertisers to ensure that the transition has minimal impact on the advertising ecosystem.

This is understandable since Chrome has a market share of over 64%. Therefore, going cookieless will impact the marketing industry, the revenues of a typical publisher, and the way we know technologies.

Impact of Cookieless Future on Advertising

The digital advertising industry, including programmatic, has heavily relied on cookies to gain insights and run cross-site targeting, retargeting, and marketing attribution. Even now, when the world is steadily switching to marketing without cookies and targeted ads without cookies, they are in use. In 2023, 75% of marketers still employed third-party cookies. 

Evolving into cookie free advertising, attribution without cookies, and cookieless web analytics won’t happen without some temporary challenges and setbacks. Transparency has a cost. According to a Google study on the influence of cookieless targeting, the most renowned 500 global ad publishers saw a 52% drop in ad revenue.

However, the end of cookies doesn’t mean the end of digital advertising. 

What is Cookieless Tracking?

That’s all about adopting ad tracking and cookie free targeting solutions that don’t require third-party cookies.

Yes, third-party cookies are being discarded, but it doesn’t indicate that data gathering is becoming purposeless and eliminated. There are many other options for collecting and analyzing data for customized advertising, and proactive advertisers and AdTech companies are already adopting cookieless tracking solutions and marketing practices.

What’s in Cookieless Advertising For 2024?

Advertising in a cookieless world will boom in 2024 and will keep evolving in the future. Therefore, it’s essential for advertisers and publishers to start implementing cookieless practices before Google completely eliminates trackers. This is a way to remain competitive and maintain customer trust. 

SmartHub's Features Have No Limits!
Book Your Free Consultation Spot
Request a Callback

Leveraging First-Party Data

Instead of using cookies, advertisers can collect first-party data. Such information (email addresses, purchase history, etc.) is more credible since it’s provided by users willingly or can be simply monitored without trackers. 

To enhance the first-party database, marketers can offer a newsletter subscription, launch loyalty programs, analyze customer feedback, create polls and quizzes, analyze user behavior and purchase history, and so on. Additionally, they may establish partnerships with reputable publishers to gain access to their data as well. 

Adopting Consensual Information Gathering

Privacy data is important, and marketers need to adjust. How? By making a direct request, informing users that you require their data for marketing purposes.

They may politely ask users to share their information in exchange for a reward to acquire consensual data. For example, this can be a discount or a free ebook for people who disclose their email addresses. Doing this helps marketers get data ethically and with consent.

Getting Back to Contextual Targeting

Actually, it never really went away. Contextual targeting works with keywords and web content. So, rather than targeting people based on their private info and preferences, advertisers target them according to their preferred content sources.

With contextual targeting, a smartphone ad goes to a phone review website, and a shoe ad goes to a fashion website. This method will be a major programmatic ad trend in cookieless cookieless marketingadvertising.

Advertisers can programmatically serve ads to publishers that have content relevant to their ads. Users will be targeted based on the content they view.

Preferring Direct Deals Over Auctions

While advertisers need to deliver their ads to relevant audiences, publishers want to monetize their inventory. Therefore, marketers can go for guaranteed programmatic deals with website and app owners who have already shown the most effective performance. 

Diversifying Advertising Channels

To reach their audiences effectively, advertisers must go omnichannel. For instance, new approaches may include influencer marketing, content partnerships, digital-out-of-home advertising (that can be launched programmatically), etc. This is a way to maximize reach, although it’s important to remember that the performance of every channel should be analyzed continuously — regular analysis enables marketers to refine their strategies on time.

Collaborating With AdTech Companies

Gathering first-party data and consensual data tracking may be difficult and expensive for small marketers; this is where AdTech companies with relevant resources can help. Advertisers can engage the services of AdTech companies and programmatic advertising to reach a large audience without infringing any privacy laws or regulations.

SmartHub's Features Have No Limits!
Book Your Free Consultation Spot
Request a Callback

3 Cookieless Advertising Solutions

Now, let’s review some of the solutions that can help answer the question “how to combat a cookieless future”.

Apple’s SkadNetwork

SkadNetwork was initiated in 2018 by tech giant Apple to promote cookieless attribution. SKAdNetwork is a privacy-friendly cookieless advertising solution for the attribution of mobile app installations. Its goal is to measure app download conversion rates (CPI) without violating users’ privacy.

Unified Identity

AdTech firms are coming together to develop the Unified Identity — as a replacement for cookie trackers but with stringent standards and procedures.

It will obtain authorization via a cookieless authentication. A user is going to provide a single approval for getting personalized ads.

Unified Identity

Alphabet Inc. introduced the Privacy Sandbox as a robust initiative that will make Google cookieless. Google is arguably the biggest beneficiary if we talk about third-party cookies, so it needs to be their initiative to provide an efficient cookieless advertising solution.

Google Privacy Sandbox is a collection of different projects aimed at facilitating user targeting without cookies or cross-site targeting. Proposed solutions from Sandbox were initiated not only by Google but also by other partners. Some popular initiatives from Sandbox include FLEDGE and Topics API.

According to Google, the FLEDGE is aimed at retargeting in a cookieless world and creating an audience. Topics API will enable interest-based advertising without tracing a user’s web activity.

Both initiatives are being discussed.

Specifics of Cookie Syncing on SmartHub

AdTech platforms still largely rely on cookies — ad networks, ad exchanges, DSPs, SSPs, and DMPs. As the world hasn’t completed the shift to the cookieless targeting and attribution mechanisms, cookie syncing still plays an important role in the entire advertising infrastructure — it makes it possible to exchange data between platforms so that targeting remains relevant and effective. 

SmartHub also uses cookie syncing technology that enables better targeting of audiences with online advertising. Right now, we are also in the process of preparing the cookie sync mechanism that will keep your SmartHub even more flexible and efficient.

What is Cookie Syncing and its Specifics on SmartHub?

Cookie syncing is a marketing technology that ensures that all the parties involved in an ad transaction have a common insight regarding who gets targeted. Cookie synchronization allows SSPs, DMPs, DSPs, and all other AdTech partners to match up the users in their databases, allowing for the delivery of tailored ads to each user.

SmartHub owners can enable syncing functionality on web traffic for demand and supply partners. This can be done just in a few clicks, but you have to remember that both the demand and supply sides must be synced. Otherwise, it won’t work. 

Start Your Profitable White Label Ad Exchange With Us!
Receive Free Custom Deployment Calculation

Benefits of Cookie Syncing

Cookie syncing is essential for online marketing, as it optimizes the advertising process and promotes faster and better outputs. Here are some highlighted benefits.

Targeting and Retargeting

Cookie syncing is useful for targeting and retargeting campaigns since it allows advertisers to track a user’s location across the Internet. When a person visits a website and interacts with an ad, the advertiser places a cookie on the user’s browser. If the same user visits other websites or apps that use cookie syncing, the advertiser may easily recognize them and target them with tailor-made ads.

Detailed Targeting

Cookie syncing makes it simple to target users based on key criteria such as interests, demography, and so on. Publishers can curate part of their users’ info based on their preferences and search queries. Cookie syncing is then used to transmit this information to the advertising ecosystem.

Where Do We Go From Here?

Business owners involved in advertising and online marketing must take proactive steps to prepare for changes that will happen to third-party cookies.

Publishers should implement consent-giving mechanisms and monetize with contextual ads, while advertisers must move to different targeting and attribution practices.

Ensuring user privacy while serving ads is the main request of the coming cookieless world.

The SmartHub team is currently elaborating on a cookie synchronization mechanism that will make your advertising ecosystem more flexible and efficient. Start your programmatic advertising journey with SmartHub!

Start Your Profitable White Label Ad Exchange With Us!
Receive Free Custom Deployment Calculation

Consider SmartHub Your Trusted Partner

SmartHub white-label ad exchange enables companies of different sizes and budgets to launch their own marketplaces and enter the programmatic market ASAP (up to 7 days or just a bit more in case you have specific requirements). Thanks to the rapid launch, companies can achieve payback and revenue growth much earlier than is possible with platforms built from scratch. Explore our guide about how to get started with programmatic advertising.

Our unique model involves proactive customer care and support from a dedicated team of experts who go the extra mile to ensure exceptional business outcomes. With attentive support, expert guidance, and cost-cutting innovative technology, SmartHub delivers a powerful combination that propels your business toward spectacular results.

Explore the case studies of SmartHub with a detailed description of our partners` programmatic business journey and impressive results.


What is cookieless advertising and why is it important in today’s digital marketing landscape?
Marketers utilize cookies to deliver targeted ads. The cookieless world means that the traditional way of user targeting through cookies will no longer be viable. Therefore, advertisers need to adapt to a new environment in which they have limited access to user data and have to rely on alternative targeting methods.
Will cookieless advertising impact the effectiveness of digital ad campaigns?
Without cookies, monitoring consumer behavior and targeting specific audiences will be difficult for advertisers. This may lead to less precise ad targeting and a decrease in campaign performance. According to Google study on the impact of cookieless targeting, the advertising revenue of the top 500 global ad publishers decreased by 52%.
How can businesses transition to cookieless advertising?
In a cookieless world, there are multiple methods to target users. One of the most popular methods is contextual targeting, where ads are displayed based on the content of the website or app that the user is currently viewing. Moreover, advertisers can reach a large audience without violating any privacy laws or regulations by utilizing the services of adtech companies and programmatic advertising. These include cookieless advertising solutions like Apple’s SkadNetwork, Sandbox, etc.
Enjoyed the article?
Here you can rate it or share via your favourite social media!

5/5 (5 reviews)

You May Also Like

Want to Learn More?