Data & Performance

The future of privacy: how brands can thrive in a cookieless world with creativity

Written by Pim van Helten on 12, Math 2024

The future is coming, and third-party cookies are not in it. As marketers, we’re on the brink of a groundbreaking shift. What we once relied upon is becoming obsolete, giving rise to a new era of innovation and creativity.

After a series of delays, Google’s long-expected phaseout of third-party cookies has begun. From January 4th, 2024, Chrome has restricted third-party cookies for 1% of its users globally, totaling around 30 million users. Google plans to roll out restrictions to 100% of users from Q3 2024, which is just around the corner. 

Without a doubt, privacy has become the cornerstone of our industry. It has emerged as a pivotal turning point that’s reshaping the digital landscape and demanding a fundamental shift in how marketers and brands approach data privacy. Today’s customers demand greater privacy and meaningful connections with the brands close to their hearts.

But, how can marketers strike a balance between respecting their customers’ wishes for privacy and still delivering the relevant and personalized experiences they want?

One thing’s for certain: sticking to the same old cookie-cutter strategies won’t cut it anymore. As the walls of data collection become higher, marketers need to get creative and innovate to truly connect with their customers and find that sweet spot.

The privacy era is already here

Whether you like it or not, the shift is already underway. While Google's announcement in 2020 about phasing out third-party cookies has caused quite a stir, it’s just the latest in a series of privacy-focused tech developments, dating back to Apple and Mozilla's first taking the initiative to integrate Enhanced Tracking Protection (ETP) in 2017. 

With browser changes and regulations like the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), the ad ecosystem has already undergone a major transformation, and there’s more to come on the horizon. Which is why, it's essential to make smart investments to future-proof your brand

The future of marketing guide for 2024 and beyond


Cookies 102

Third-party cookies have helped marketers track online activity, better understand customers’ interests, and increase reach for digital advertising. As a result, targeted advertising became much easier. But this is all about to change. 

Marketers are understandably nervous and concerned about the impact the death of third-party cookies will have on their digital marketing strategy and activities. While challenging, I see it as a positive change that will push us to make better use of the data we have and assess what we still need. 

The future is creative

For years, we’ve been using data-driven (re)targeting at scale without thinking twice. Somewhere along the way we started to place more importance on how to distribute and increase the reach of our content than the content itself. 

This was easy and pushed the need to be creative to the back seat. But what is the world without creativity

A world without cookies requires a fundamental shift in how you approach digital advertising. This change presents an opportunity for the entire industry to come together and create a new system that is transparent, simplified, and better catered to customer needs. That’s where creativity comes in.

Creativity and customer engagement need to be your driving force. It won’t be easy, but it’s certainly not impossible:

1. Find out where you’re using third-party cookies

Before being able to adapt to this new world, you need to understand where your third-party cookies are currently being used. Communicate with your paid media partners to evaluate your third-party cookie performance and determine how to convert it into first-party data collection.

2. Focus on collecting first-party data

High-quality, first-party data is key to building new direct customer relationships and meeting customer needs efficiently. Make sure your tech stack allows you to keep the data. Owning the data means you own the customer relationship.

3. Audit your current technology stack

Only by understanding what your technology is capable of, and how to make the most of it, will you be able to navigate this cookieless environment successfully. Consider new tools to grow and deepen customer relationships.

4. Integrate your data sources

Contrary to what you might think, data can improve your creativity. By integrating your data sources, you will unlock a full view of insights that will spark your creativity, enhance your messaging, and build deeper connections with your customers.

5. Test, experiment, learn

While the path ahead is not clear, there is no excuse to sit on the sidelines. Your ads, content, and communications need to engage and attract attention. It’s time to get to work. Let’s bring creativity back to the center stage and make your brand’s uniqueness shine through.

Rethinking CX as the Creative Experience

Read on

Privacy-focused future

Creating privacy features from the get-go and having a robust customer relationship management (CRM) system in place is one of the best way to fully prepare for any changes. Having built-in features on your website is going to allow you to control when, where, and how you get information from your customers, in the most organic, ethical, and consensual way possible. 

The importance of data-driven creativity and what it means for marketers


The transformative journey is ahead, and we’re being asked to adapt and innovate how we choose to understand our customers while respecting their privacy. With the looming death of third-party cookies, integrating data and creativity won’t be optional – it will be crucial to building long-lasting customer relationships and distinguishing brands from one another. A data-driven creative strategy could be just the game-changer you need.

Pim van Helten

Pim van Helten


Achieve success in a cookieless world.

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