Dear World, the Cookieless Future is Already Here.

Why this matters

There is a lot of talk about how the future of tracking and analytics is cookieless, but that’s really not the case: the world has already gone cookieless, at least in part. Major browsers are blocking third party cookies already today, and marketers should not wait for Google Chrome to do the same before taking action. Cookieless tracking is the present, and it’s quickly becoming the new standard.

Embracing the Cookieless Future: A Win-Win for Privacy and Marketing Insights

In the digital analytics landscape, the cookieless future is not just a buzzword, but the new reality. As a business, it is imperative to understand the shift and adapt to the changes for continued success. In this article, we will dive into why the cookieless future is partially already here, why it’s beneficial for both users and marketers, and why there’s no time like the present to get on board.

The Cookieless Era is Here

Before we dive into the why, let’s address the what. The cookieless future refers to the phasing out of third-party cookies, which have been a staple in digital advertising for years. These cookies track users’ online behavior by storing small text files in your browsers, which marketers have used for years for a variety of purposes, from analytics to usability, from audience segmentation to ads targeting.

However, the winds of change have begun to blow. Major web browsers such as Safari and Firefox have already taken the lead by blocking third-party cookies by default. Together, these browsers account for over 24% of the market. This is a significant portion and a clear indicator that the cookieless era is not a distant future but a burgeoning reality.

Browsers by market share

Moreover, cookie acceptance rates have been estimated to be around 31% (source). In our experience, well optimized cookie banners can get to 45%-55% acceptance rate, but that still means that around half of the traffic is untracked. Even for businesses operating in regions with less strict privacy laws, it’s likely that a significant amount of data is lost when businesses rely solely on cookies for tracking user behavior.

So on one hand you have a quarter of the internet traffic blocking third-party cookies by default, and when it comes to the remaining 3 quarters data collection is subject to cookie acceptance rates that are often way below 50%. This is why companies need to think about they tracking and analytics setup already now.

No Need to Wait for Google Chrome

Google Chrome, which holds by far the largest share of the browser market, has announced plans to phase out third-party cookies starting from 2024. We can expect the complete phase out of cookies to take place between September and November 2024, with a minor rollout to 1% of web traffic taking place already in the first half of year (source).

Chrome third-party cookie phase out

While this is very close, that doesn’t mean businesses should be waiting for this to happen. The fact that a quarter of the market has already moved towards a cookieless environment is reason enough for companies to take action. Waiting on Chrome is akin to missing out on opportunities to adapt and thrive in the new landscape.

Benefits of a Cookieless World

Enhanced User Privacy

One of the most significant advantages of moving towards a cookieless future is the enhancement of user privacy. In an age where privacy concerns are rampant, both within the legislative world and the general public, the elimination of third-party cookies means less confusion on what tracking of user’s online activities involved. This is a step in the right direction for building trust and ensuring that users have more control over their data.

Improved Marketing Insights

Contrary to what some might believe, the phasing out of third-party cookies doesn’t spell doom for marketers. In fact, it opens the door to better, more accurate insights. Without cookies, marketers will be able to stop being dependant from browser settings and banner acceptance rates. Moreover, there will be less need to adapt to local privacy laws and have different approaches for different regions. Data collected via cookieless setups is often more reliable and can lead to more personalized and effective marketing strategies, so why would anyone not what that?

Future-Proofing Your Business

Adapting to a cookieless environment now is akin to future-proofing your business. As the industry moves away from third-party cookies, early adopters will have a competitive edge. They will have already navigated the learning curve and will be in a position to capitalize on the new avenues for data collection and analysis that a cookieless world presents. Just like it happened in the past with GDPR and other major events that transformed the industry, being late is usually not a good idea.

What marketers can do without third-party cookies

While below we’ll look at some challenges, let us be clear, there is no need to panic. This is an evolution, not a revolution. Here are some of the things marketers will still be able to do in a cookieless world.

Digital Analytics for User Journeys

Tools like Matomo and Simple Analytics (among many others) allow marketers to track user interactions and engagement on their websites without the need for third-party cookies. This enables marketers to map out user journeys, understand user behavior, and identify key touchpoints that influence decision-making.

Conversion Rate Optimization Analysis

Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) remains a crucial aspect of digital marketing. You can use cookieless tracking solutions to analyze user behavior, identify barriers to conversion, and implement strategies to improve conversion rates. By focusing on first-party data and user experience, marketers can optimize their websites and campaigns to drive conversions.

Identifying Companies Behind Website Visits

Solutions like Leadfeeder and Snitcher can help marketers identify the companies that visit their website, even without the use of cookies. These tools use IP address tracking and other techniques to provide insights into which companies are interested in your products or services, enabling more targeted and effective B2B marketing strategies.

These are some examples of what you’ll still be able to do, using tools available today and that often require little implementation efforts.

About first-party cookies

As you probably know, first-party cookies are created and stored by the website you are directly visiting and they are typically used to remember information about your visit, such as your preferred language or items in a shopping cart. For obvious reasons, they are generally considered more privacy-friendly as they mostly focus about the user experience rather than audience analysis or ads targeting.

How can you Invest in First-Party Data Collection?

You can maximise the collection of first-party data by focusing on strategies that encourage users to willingly share their information. Some examples include:

1. Enhance User Experience: By creating a more customized website or app experience, users are more likely to engage and share their information.

2. Offer Value in Exchange for Information: Users are more likely to provide their information if they receive something valuable in return. This could be access to exclusive content, personalized recommendations, discounts, or rewards.

3. Optimize Registration Forms: Make sure to be strategic when it comes to collecting of demographic, interest or behavioral data in your forms.

4. Host Events or Webinars: These can be great opportunities to collect first-party data. Attendees can register for the event, providing their contact information and other details.

5. Surveys and Feedback Forms: These can be used to collect valuable customer insights while also gathering first-party data.

6. Privacy Policy and Transparency: Users are more likely to share their information if they trust the company. Be transparent about how you collect, use, and protect user data.

“Sometimes people think about first-party data as ‘Okay, I have an email address and a phone number’. But behind that email address and phone number, there is an individual that has been engaging with your business and you probably have much more data around their behaviour”

Alessandro Battaglia Head of Paid Media at Wise

Sifted Talk, March 2023

Some challenges do exist though

While the new landscape represents an opportunity for marketers, there are indeed some challenges as well.

Tracking User Journeys

In a future without third-party cookies, tracking user behavior across multiple websites becomes a significant challenge. Cookies have traditionally been a fundamental tool in digital marketing, enabling user behavior tracking, personalized content delivery, and campaign effectiveness measurement. In the absence of third-party cookies, marketers will need to devise new strategies to gather and analyze user data.

Solution: The focus can shift towards first-party data, which is information directly collected from customers through methods like website registrations, newsletter sign-ups, or online purchases. First-party data is not only more reliable and accurate but also fosters trust with customers as they have willingly provided their information. On top of relying more on first-party data, marketers can still gain a great deal of user navigation insights with cookieless analytics solutions, which will become the only viable alternative in a cookieless world. We have collected some of the best software for you here.

Challenge 2: Effective Retargeting

The potential decrease in the effectiveness of retargeting campaigns is another challenge in a cookieless world. Tracking users across the web and serving them relevant ads becomes more difficult without third-party cookies.

Solution: This challenge can be addressed by developing more contextual advertising strategies. Instead of relying on past behavior, marketers can focus on the context of the web page to serve relevant ads, leading to more meaningful engagements with users. Moreover, retargeting is possible with frist-party cookies, which would require a change of strategy for companies in oder to implement it.

Challenge 3: Revenue Attribution Modeling

The loss of third-party cookies also poses a challenge for attribution modeling, the process of determining which marketing touch points a customer interacted with before a conversion event, like making a purchase or expressing interest in your product. Tracking these touch points becomes harder without third-party cookies.

Solution: This can be overcome by using deterministic attribution models, which rely on unique identifiers such as email addresses or user IDs, or probabilistic models, which use machine learning algorithms to assess attribution. There lots of solutions out there doing that (eg: HockeyStack) which marketers can use in parallel to their analytics tools.


The cookieless future is not just coming; it’s already here. With major browsers like Safari and Firefox leading the charge, now is the time for businesses to adapt. Not only does this transition protect user privacy, but it also offers marketers more accurate insights through first-party data. By embracing these changes, companies can position themselves for success in the new digital landscape. Don’t wait for the future to come knocking; step into it now with confidence and the knowledge that a cookieless world is a win-win for all.

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