Preparing For A Cookieless Browser Experience

For years, third-party cookies have been the backbone of digital advertising, enabling marketers to track user behavior across websites and serve personalized ads.

Over the past few months, however, Google has begun phasing out third-party cookies in Chrome, one of the most popular browsers in the world. The change promises to reshape the browsing and advertising experience for users and marketers alike.

Privacy Concerns

Third-party cookies have long been criticized for doing exactly what they were designed to do: track users across various websites without their explicit consent.

That’s what prompted governments and regulatory bodies to advocate for change, including stricter data protection laws. People are more educated these days. They know browsers and websites are collecting information, and they want to know how their data is being used.
cookieless browser icon

How will the lack of third-party cookies affect marketers?

The digital marketing world has relied heavily on third-party cookies as tracking mechanisms for targeted advertising. The industry as a whole has to adapt their strategies to account for the following changes:

  • Loss of cross-site tracking. No more tracking user journeys across multiple websites or platforms. That’ll inevitably create gaps in understanding exactly how these users travel from one place to the next.
  • Reduced targeting precision. If you can no longer track users across multiple sites, then it stands to reason it’ll become more challenging to target them with personalized ads based on their search history.

But as with any change, challenges are accompanied by opportunities. In this case, the browsing experience without third-party cookies offers businesses the chance to:

  • Rely more on first-party data. Businesses will need to invest in customer relationship management tools, and engage directly with customers to encourage data sharing. The data is essential to understanding the audience and delivering the personalized experience that’ll become crucial to the conversion process.
  • Level the playing field. Smaller businesses that do not have the same resources as larger companies may be better equipped, at least at the start, to leverage their personalized experiences and customer service skills to increase conversions.
  • Optimize organic content. SEO will be fundamental when it comes to browsing without third-party cookies. With personalized advertising off the table, websites will need to produce quality content that organically attracts users and encourages engagement.
  • Embrace transparency. Review your company’s mission and values. Use this cultural shift—because that’s what it is—to prioritize consent and ethical data practices. That will go a long way in earning trust from consumers and foster the kind of long-term relationships that make a real impact.

And speaking of making an impact, how will this change affect users?

First and foremost, users can expect a more secure browsing experience. Without those third-party cookies, they won’t be inundated with tracking and targeted advertising based on their search histories.

The downside of that lack of data means the actual browsing experience will be very different. Users will find all of it a bit more generic. They’ll no longer be served ads featuring products or services similar to the products and services they’ve previously viewed, or content tailored to their unique interests.

If you’re an expectant parent, for example, you’re likely conducting lots of searches to find the safest car seat for your child. Without third-party cookies, you’ll no longer be presented with ads for car seats any time you open your browser. You’ll have to start the search from scratch. For some users, that will be a nice change. For others, it’ll be extremely frustrating.

How should marketers prepare for the “cookieless” future?

It’s important to underscore that the future will not be completely cookie-free. Browsers are eliminating third-party cookies, but first-party cookies are here to stay (at least for now).

First-party cookies are a function of each individual website. They ensure you don’t have to log in each time you visit that website, and keep that blouse in your cart so you can come back and finish the check-out process later.

Unlike third-party cookies, the data collected by first-party cookies—your username and password for that specific site, the items in your shopping cart—enhances user experience on that site. They’re not designed to track behavior across the web.

So, as the phase-out of only third-party cookies continues to plug along, marketers can be proactive by:

  • Auditing current collection processes. Take a hard look at how you currently collect data. If you find you rely primarily on third-party cookies, consider reviewing privacy regulations and consent requirements to get ahead of the curve.
  • Strategizing how to use first-party data. Be transparent with users about the change, and how that’ll affect their experience with your website/service. Give them the opportunity to provide first-party data directly to you.
  • Exploring other solutions. Stay on top of emerging solutions like Google’s Privacy Sandbox to assess if they may be right for your business.
  • Building relationships with users. We cannot reiterate this enough: Establish trust with your consumers. Tell them how you’ll use their data so they know, without a doubt, that they have control over their personal information.
  • Collaborating as an industry. Engage with colleagues and stakeholders throughout the industry to stay informed. This is good practice in general, not just as it relates to phasing out third-party cookies.

Where exactly is Google in the phasing-out process?

Google began restricting data usage for 1% of users in early January 2024. At the outset, their plan was to phase out support completely by the end of this year; however, they recently acknowledged that deadline is unrealistic given criticism from regulatory bodies in the U.S. and the United Kingdom that Google’s replacement for cookies does not go far enough in enhancing user privacy.

Although it appears they’ve hit a roadblock, third-party cookies will be phased out in Google Chrome, as well as other browsers like Microsoft Edge and Safari. This new era of privacy-conscious browsing promises users will have more control over their data at the expense of personalized ads and content. For businesses, it means a complete restructuring of their current targeting and measurement practices in the interest of prioritizing transparency in how they use customer information.

Overall, the shift points toward a more ethical digital space. Businesses have the opportunity to build a different kind of trust with their customers, as well as the chance to innovate on how best to reach those customers in a meaningful way. Embracing the change now, in the early days, will give businesses a head start so they’ll be well-positioned to thrive.

If you’d like additional guidance on navigating this brand new world of cookieless browsing, our award-winning team at Mannix Marketing can help. Get in touch with our experts today.

About Sara Mannix

Sara Mannix founded Mannix in 1996 with a goal to get clients found on the web through organic search engine optimization (SEO). The company now serves over 1500 clients worldwide and employs a team of 30 specialists, operating under the tagline "Success Measured." The tagline reflects the company's focus on measurable results for every client. This multifaceted company is an industry leader, specializing in organic SEO, conversion rate optimization, SEO-friendly website design, paid advertising (PPC). Mannix Marketing has two divisions, one side is focused on lead generation for nationally competitive businesses. The other side is focused on local businesses. Mannix has one of the largest portfolios of tourism and city guides in Upstate New York. These guides, (,,, and etc), reach over 10 million visitors a year. Corresponding social media profiles for the region extend this reach to millions every month.