All About Cookieless Ads in 2024: Concepts And Practical Examples

It's hard to argue that ad-targeting solutions are evolving. However, where are you in this development? The use of cookies is becoming increasingly difficult for advertisers and publishers.

This article examines how the digital advertising market can respond to this situation, given the legislation and the gradual exclusion of cookieless ads and third-party cookies by major browsers, while maintaining highly effective targeting. Stay up to date.

Use of first-party cookies

First-party cookies are used to save session and personalization data for each user, provided they have given their consent. They are deposited by the server on the user's browser but are limited to a single domain name, making them particularly suitable for sites with large audiences.

One for all... towards a unique identifier?

Another alternative to first-party cookies is the creation of unique, encrypted identifiers derived from CRM data. This ID will serve as common data for analyzing user browsing behavior, even in environments other than the Web (e.g., mobile in-app, connected TV).

In October 2022, Publicis Media France launched a data platform called Epsilon Discovery. This platform relies on a repository of nearly 40 million unique profiles, and socio-demographic, contextual, and behavioral data. It uses Epsilon's CORE ID solution - a cookieless identification and cross-device matching solution.

epsilon core id

 In the telecoms sector, four major market players (Vodafone, Deutsche Telekom, Orange, and Telefónica) have just obtained the green light from the European Commission to launch a joint venture for a unique identifier or "token" called TrustPid for Internet users, based on the Opt-in principle, on a European scale.

Third-party cookies marketing impacts

Third-party cookies don't weigh much on advertisers' media budgets.

While for publishers nowadays, replacing third-party cookies is almost a matter of course, the same cannot be said for those at the other end of the chain: advertisers. Actors for whom it would be almost an adjustment variable.

Also, third-party cookies can sometimes be used in these environments to retarget searches or measure conversions, but their role is minor. The same goes for email and comparators. 

Let's look at an example.

For example, the media market accounts for X million euros. Among them, it is the sites with the "publications and news" categories that are most affected by third-party cookies. Why do we need this data? Studies prove that the ratio of investments in television, print, and outdoor advertising will significantly decrease, and this is already happening, given the indicators of huge amounts of investment in online media portals.

In turn, third-party cookies make up a small percentage of the media plan of most advertisers. Buyers usually think that this is a drop in the ocean. What solution do advertisers find?

Many advertisers say that when the time comes, they'll simply have to redirect those budgets to environments that are "protected from third-party cookies”.

What is "cookieless"?

When we talk about "cookieless", we're talking about an environment without third-party cookies. These are created, stored, and managed by a partner other than the site you're on.


For example, a Google cookie is placed on your browser: this is a third-party cookie. Browsers such as Safari and Mozilla have already eliminated third-party cookies, and Google will make this effective in 2023.

How does the elimination of third-party cookies impact the advertising sector?

We at SmartHub would like to highlight two ones:

1. These cookies can be used to measure the number of ad impressions on a web surfer, to prevent the same message from being pushed too many times. 

2. We can also track certain levels of performance, such as campaign conversations, so we know whether or not the ad is of interest to the people we're targeting. 

As a result, targeting and measurement possibilities are limited. That's why we're using a new technology in our cookieless future advertising network.

What is the difference between "cookieless" and "consentless"?  

In our industry, we'll call "cookieless" everything related to third-party cookies. When we say "cookieless", it's sometimes a misuse of language, since there are other cookies, such as proprietary cookies, that are created, stored, and managed by the site on which the surfer is visiting.

  • Consentlessness is more of a legal issue: users must now give their consent for their data to be used when they visit a site (including proprietary cookies). They can accept, personalize, or refuse everything. 

  • Consentless means refusing all tracking on the site or app where they are. We find ourselves in a world without any cookies, whose purpose is to track advertising users, for example.

The root of the cause: Summary of the question

At SmartHub, we can also go a little deeper into philosophy and argue that a world without cookies will be very heterogeneous, as it will be a digital world with many layers, such as

  • deterministic, hypergranular activation methods, and real-time activation methods (shared advertising identifiers)

  • probabilistic, aggregated activation methods, and deferred activation methods (privacy sandbox)

But these two examples are only the tip of the iceberg, as they are the basis for the following cookieless advertising solutions:

  • contextual targeting

  • custom identifier

  • special audience through a clean data room

  • and so on

Another rhetorical question or challenge is whether marketers will take responsibility for this, whether they will consider it their direct responsibility, or whether they will rather shift it to advertising companies.

cookieless future

As of now, this is all rhetorical, but we can say that for the smooth operation and distribution of cookieless ads, everyone should be involved: from the advertiser to the publisher, including DSPs and SSPs. On the seller's side, it is rarely difficult. On the buy side, it's a different story, and proactive advertisers who test almost everything, such as Renault or Intermarché, can be counted on one hand.

Finally, we urge you not to be afraid of technical aspects, as they have always been an obstacle for our sector. Ask for help from specialists and saturate your marketing strategies with new, effective solutions, and it will pay off.

About the Author Peter K.

Peter K. is an experienced digital marketer with a decade of expertise in driving business growth through innovative strategies. His data-driven approach and deep understanding of SEO, PPC, social media, and content marketing have propelled brands to new heights. With a client-centric mindset, Peter builds strong relationships and aligns strategies with business goals. A sought-after thought leader and speaker, his insights have helped professionals navigate the digital landscape. Trust Peter to elevate your brand and achieve success in the digital era.

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