What data options would marketers have in the post-cookie world?

What data options would marketers have in the post-cookie world?

Third-party cookies are small pieces of code that track users across websites and enable marketers to target them with relevant ads and offers. However, there are some serious privacy concerns among consumers and regulators, who want more control and transparency over how their data is collected and used subsequently.

Significant browsers like Safari and Firefox have already blocked third-party cookies by default, whereas Google Chrome had announced its plan to phase them out slowly by 2022. However, Google recently delayed its timeline until 2023, citing the need for more time to develop and test alternative solutions that prioritize user privacy while preserving the web ecosystem.

So, what are you, a marketer, planning to do in this climax before the final curtain drops on cookies?

Are you just going to sit idle, hoping to find alternatives in the post-cookie world?

Or, will you do the more sensible thing of proactively scouting out an alternative that matures by the time cookies leave the planet?

It’s an opportunity to rethink your personalization strategy and embrace new ways of collecting and using more transparent, consent-based, and customer-centric data.

Zero-party data can be your replacement for cookies and keep your identity alive as a customer-centric business.

Let’s understand zero-party data and learn how to implement it in your marketing strategy.

What Is Zero-party Data?

Get this—the end of cookies is not the end of personalization.

Zero-party data is an answer that shows a ray of hope.

Zero-party data refers to information users voluntarily share with brands through direct interactions such as polls, quizzes, surveys, or preferences settings. It’s a new beginning that requires a shift in mindset and approach.

Embracing zero-party data as a critical source of customer intelligence, you can create personalized experiences that are more relevant yet respect the privacy boundaries of the audience and are rewarding for both your brand and customers.

Here’s how you can use zero-party data to improve your marketing initiatives:

  • Segment your audience based on their preferences or opinions
  • Tailor your content or offers based on their goals or challenges
  • Recommend products or services based on their likes or dislikes
  • Send personalized messages or notifications based on their feedback or actions

How to Effectively Collect Zero-party Data?

But how can you ensure to collect zero-party data effectively since it’s something that rests in your customer’s hands?

There’s only one clear way out—providing value in exchange for information.

You need to create engaging experiences that motivate customers to share their data willingly. It’s best to be transparent about how you will use their data and respect their consent.

Some tactics that can help you collect zero-party data include:

  • Interactive content: You can use gamified elements such as quizzes, polls, trivia questions, etc., which can be embedded on your website or social media platforms.
  • Preference centers: You can allow customers to manage their communication preferences, such as frequency, channel, etc., as well as opt-in or opt-out of specific topics or categories.
  • Loyalty programs: You can reward customers for sharing their data with points, coupons, etc., which can be redeemed for products or services.
  • Customer feedback: You can solicit customer feedback through surveys, reviews, etc., which can help you improve your products or services.

Alternative Data Options for Advertising

When cookies are a thing of the past, alternative data-capture techniques will even help you track and target users online with your ads.

Some of these options are:

  • Probabilistic matching: This technique involves using statistical methods to infer the identity of a user based on multiple pieces of anonymous data (such as IP address, location, device type, etc.) and matching them with other users with similar profiles.
  • Contextual advertising: Here, you show ads based on the content and keywords of the website or page that the user is visiting rather than their personal preferences or behavior.
  • First-party data: You collect and use data directly obtained from users through interactions with a website or app (such as registration details, purchase history, feedback forms, etc.) rather than relying on third-party cookies or other sources.


Cookies, since their advent, have aided marketers with an inside look into their customers’ online behaviors. However, their annihilation is definitely not the end of personalization. The sooner marketers get over their dependence on cookies and adopt zero-party data and other available options, the better they will be able to fill the gap in the post-cookie world.



Harvard Business Review

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