We’re preparing for a post-third-party cookie world as privacy concerns and new policies change the digital marketing industry. In case you missed the memo, third-party cookies on Google’s Chrome browser will be blocked as of 2023. 

While the ban was initially planned for 2022, Google has since announced a delay. In a statement, Google shared the decision to phase out third-party cookies over a “three-month period” in mid-2023. With Chrome dominating the share of total browser usage as the preferred choice for 63% of internet users, marketers urgently rethink their strategies to collect data after the phase-out. 

In this blog, we’re looking at the impact of the third-party cookie ban, and sharing how affiliate marketing can provide solutions. 

The crumble of third-party cookies 

As the upcoming cookie ban has the potential to affect digital marketing across the board, brands will experience direct and indirect consequences. These include;

A need for new campaigns and tactics 

With today’s campaigns primarily relying on third-party tracking and technologies such as cookies and pixels, marketing as we know it is about to change. Marketing activities such as retargeting will become less useful in the future, creating a need for new campaigns and tactics. 

Challenging forecasting 

As marketers face limited data, assessing campaign performance will become more challenging. As a result, forecasting and budgeting for 2023 will be difficult. 

A shift in customer mindset 

With changes to iOS tracking and third-party cookies, consumers are more aware than ever of monitoring. In response, brands will need to rethink their data collection strategy to be as tactile as possible. 

A need for transparency

As consumers are savvier than ever, brands will need to be transparent about what data they’re collecting and why

Increased responsibility  

As first-party data collection will replace third-party, brands will become solely responsible for the data. As a result, ensuring you follow ethical practices is vital. 

Third-party Cookies vs First-party Cookies 

It’s not all doom and gloom. Thankfully, affiliate marketing is an effective way to futureproof campaigns and data collection. In addition, in comparison to other marketing channels, affiliate marketing is less reliant on personal consumer data. So, while the phase-out of third-party cookies will impact the affiliate space, it will have less of an impact.

Thankfully, many affiliate technology providers have created their proprietary tracking methods that utilise first-party cookies in place of third-party data. 

In a nutshell, first-party cookies are created and used on a single domain. As a result, this information isn’t shared with other websites and advertising. For example, affiliate tracking can turn affiliate traffic and data into a first-party cookie. This information is then paired with the data collected on a brand’s website to provide accurate monitoring and insight. The best bit? This all happens without the need for third-party cookies. 

Preparing for the Third-party Cookie Ban

If you don’t already have an affiliate strategy in place, it’s an excellent place to start. In addition, here are three things you can do to prepare for the ban:

Update your strategy now 

If you’re not already utilising first-party data, start now. To offset the loss of data that is to come, collecting first-party data is a must. 

Ready your tags for migration

While you cannot migrate all tags to a first-party system right away, you should plan a phased migration. By doing so, you’ll have plenty of time to optimise first-party tracking ahead of the 2023 ban. 

Get consent 

As we mentioned, brands will experience increased responsibility in the future. One of those responsibilities is getting consent for first-party data collection. In addition, ensuring you have an ethical and responsible data collection process will help you gather valuable insights. 

If you’d like to discuss affiliate program set-up or management with Conversion, get in touch. Lastly, click here if you’re keen to read more on attribution & tracking in affiliate marketing.