The Complete Guide To Cookieless Advertising

The digital marketing and advertising industry are now facing the cookieless future. Although the cookieless world is not entirely cookieless, the eradication of third-party cookies changes the way how marketers gather user data. Therefore, marketers should prepare and adapt cookieless strategies, including focusing on first-party, second-party, and zero-party data, rather than third-party data, and choosing contextual targeting instead of behavioural targeting.

Cookies have been long used in digital marketing and advertising, but as the cookieless future approaches, marketers are now capitalising on the cookieless advertising.


Cookies are text files created by the website you visited. Cookies contain your computer’s data, such as your ip address and on-site behaviour on websites like the scrolling speed, dwell time, product you purchased or  viewed.


Cookies improve the user’s experience through identifying the user’s on-site behaviour and provide insights to improve the website for the user. But many find collecting data intrusive. This situation opened a leeway to the cookieless world, and now digital marketers are heading to cookieless advertising.



All You Need To Know About Cookieless Advertising


What Is Cookieless Advertising


Since cookies contain bits of information and track the user’s behaviour on the internet, cookies have become a critical tool in marketing. It helps brands and marketers market their products and services by producing much more targeted content based on the user’s internet activities.


Cookieless advertising means marketers becoming less reliant on third-party cookies. Third-party cookies are cookies set on a website the user is currently on by a third-party who is not the website owner. This third-party cookie will track the user across the internet. 


For example, when a user searches for a dog cage on an e-commerce website, third-party cookies on that site track the user’s activity. When the user leaves the e-commerce website and visits a completely different website, dog cage ads from the e-commerce website the user previously visited or similar brands will appear. The purpose of a third-party cookie is to create a more personalised ad that will be retargeted to the user across the internet to get them back to purchase the product.


Third-party cookies have caused dissatisfaction amongst users after the relentless use of these cookies for marketing and compromising users’ privacy. It resulted in Google and Apple limiting the use of third-party cookies to improve user data security and privacy.


ALSO READ: Cookieless Advertising: What Is It and How to Prepare for a Cookieless Future?


Myth or Fact: Does ‘Cookieless’ Mean No More Cookies?

Does 'cookieless' mean no more cookies


Cookieless does not mean entirely cookieless. Digital marketing companies in Singapore and web browsers, such as Google and Safari, can still track cookies; however, it now comes with the user’s consent. Therefore, the user has control over their internet data privacy.


How Will Cookieless Affect Marketers?

Cookieless future benefits internet users, but it has few challenges.


Here are the impacts of the cookieless world on marketers:


  • Challenge in cross-site tracking

Digital marketing agencies in Singapore can still track users’ browsing activities on various websites even without third-party cookies through cookieless methods and strategies.


  • Challenge in retargeting

Digital marketers can still retarget visual and text ads to users who have not provided their contact information through ethical and cookieless methods and strategies of gathering user information.


LEARN MORE: The Role of Cookies In Digital Marketing


Digital marketing companies in SG have found ways to fill in these gaps through other solutions, such as:


  • Authenticated Targeting

Authenticated targeting is a cookieless marketing and advertising solution where digital marketers obtain data from users by asking for their consent. Cookie consent banners and pop-ups will ask users if they would allow data collection.


  • Contextual Targeting

In anonymous targeting, digital marketers use other strategies, including contextual targeting, to target users.


Digital marketers have already withstood massive technological shifts and changes that impact digital marketing practices. But adapting to a cookieless future will not be a walk in the park. A digital marketing and advertising agency should prepare well for a cookieless world. Learn more about contextual targeting in the following section of this article.



How To Prepare For A Cookieless Future


Now that the use of third-party cookies are limited, how are marketers going to do cookieless advertising and marketing? Marketers can still target users without using third-party data.


Here are some tips on how marketers can thrive in a cookieless world:


1. Become less dependent on third-party data


As Google, Apple, and other web browsers begin to limit the use of third-party cookies, marketers should find tools other than third-party data to track the user’s internet activity.


The key is to let go of third-party data and focus on zero, first(1st), and second(2nd) party data. Here are the differences and similarities between the types of data:


Data Types Comparison


First-Party Data


The first-party data is the information marketers gain directly from the users that can be used for retargeting. Examples of first-party data are usernames, contact information, email engagement, website activity, social media data profiles, and customer engagement.


Instead of cookies, marketers use pixels to collect first-party data, a perfect tool for cookieless targeting. Marketers set a pixel on the website, apps, or social media channels to track the visitor’s activity on the platform. The details collected can be used to improve customer relationship management.


Benefits of first-party data


  • Personalisation

Marketers can accurately keep tabs on browsing activity and users’ interests. Using this data, marketers can create much more personalised and targeted content according to the user’s interest.


  • Cookieless

This method uses pixels to collect data instead of cookies, therefore eligible for the cookieless world.


  • Data privacy

In this cookieless advertising solution, no one can collect the user’s data other than the website they are visiting.


Second-Party Data


The second-party data is the information collected from the other website and shared with you. It happens between trusted partners agreeing to share data in a mutually beneficial way.


For example, when website A obtains the first-party data, it can share it with its trusted partner, website B. The entities should comply with strict regulations to protect data privacy. But, since it is hard to find a trustworthy partner, a digital agency in Singapore may prefer first-party and zero-party data instead.


Benefits of second-party data


  • New audience reach

Shared user data increases the reach of marketers. They also gain access to users that are not previously connected to them.


  • Better audience insight

A digital marketing company can combine and analyse the details of their first-party and second-party data and design new and more effective cookieless targeting strategies to reach a new audience or market.


  • Cookieless

Second-party data is shared first-party data, collected using pixels instead of cookies; therefore, eligible for the cookieless world.


Third-Party Data


The first-party data is purchased information from organisations that are not the original data collector. The data come from various sources.


Benefits of third-party data


  • Data Enrichment

Besides the first-party data you have collected, you can get details about users you have not connected or interacted with.


  • Demographics data

Third-party data is extremely detailed; thanks to the demographics data, marketers can design more accurate and targeted ads.


 Zero-party data


First-party data discreetly collects the user’s data using pixels. Zero-party data also gathers the user’s details; the only difference is the users voluntarily give their data. 


Zero-party data collects information by asking users to provide their names, contact numbers, email addresses, preferred language, and user experience level. The users can also provide information about their preferences and interests.


Benefits of zero-party data


  • Data Privacy

Since zero-party data asks for the user’s consent when collecting data, users feel much safer around them.


  • Accuracy

The user details come from the users themselves, so data is more accurate, which can be beneficial when designing targeted cookieless marketing and advertising strategies.


  • Engagement

Getting consent or asking the users for their preferences boosts customer engagement, which enhances user experience and encourages loyalty.


2. Focus on cookieless targeting


Instead of using cookies, cookieless targeting uses algorithms to determine the best ad placements. Rather than using the user’s browser behaviour as a basis for targeted ads, cookieless targeting analyses the content context the user consumes through the keywords used and metadata. Cookieless targeting heavily relies on contextual targeting.


Contextual targeting works by analysing the central theme of the content and the users’ search intent. When the website content keywords and topics match the ad group’s keywords and topics against the users’ search intent, the ad will then be shown.


Behavioural Targeting VS Contextual Targeting


Contextual Targeting

In contextual targeting, digital marketers determine the placement of contextual ads based on the type of content their target users are possibly consuming.


Moreover, contextual marketing can also segment the traffic depending on the users’ interests and intent. For example, people consuming content about coffee can be coffee lovers, people planning on establishing a coffee business, or tourists looking for the best cafe in town. These different types of people consume more specific content about coffee, and contextual marketing can determine these differences by analysing the central theme of each content.


Behavioural Targeting 

In behavioural targeting, digital marketers collect the user’s browsing behaviour and activity details from various sources and use this information to design targeting ads relevant to the users. Behavioural targeting and advertising use cookies and pixels to collect these user details.


For example, in behavioural marketing, marketers assume the user is a coffee lover based on their previous web activity, such as the websites they visited and searched.


Benefits of Cookieless Targeting


Benefits Of Cookieless Targeting


  • Real-time targeting

People consuming content, such as blogs and articles, have intent at the moment. Therefore placing an ad on content people with intent are reading at the moment allows real-time targeting.


  • Real-time metrics

Programmatic contextual targeting allows marketers to use programmatic platforms where they can collect data and insights, optimise, analyse, and review marketing campaign metrics in real-time. 


Because data collection is real-time, marketers can make immediate changes on the strategies based on the data. For example, they can update the keywords or topics if they think the campaign is underperforming. Through the insights that have been collected, marketers can determine more relevant keywords and topics that target a larger niche or audience and use them to boost the campaign’s performance.


  • Niche targeting

Marketers can target a particular context by indicating keywords and topics. For example, if a marketer wants to promote an air conditioning unit that consumes less electricity, they may indicate keywords, such as eco-friendly AC or energy-efficient air conditioning unit. By doing so, the ad would target homeowners or accommodation service owners looking for cost-efficient and environmentally-friendly air conditioning units.


  • Brand trust and safety

Since cookieless targeting uses context rather than the user’s browsing behaviour data to launch contextual advertising, they will feel their privacy is protected and safe. Hence, it creates trust and loyalty to the brand.


Content marketing and cookieless targeting


Since cookieless targeting relies heavily on the content, it is crucial for marketers to find the right content for the contextual ad.


As mentioned, cookieless targeting has the advantage of real-time and niche targeting. Combining these benefits with trustworthy, credible, and authoritative content that is more visible on search engines, the digital marketing and SEM vendor is able to send the right message to the right audience at the right time.


Creating high-quality content is not a walk in the park. Firstly, it should answer people to the search intent. The audience finds content helpful and educational if it addresses their questions and concerns.


Secondly, it should be data-backed. It is helpful to include useful data from credible and reputable resources. Citing these content as sources makes the content trustworthy even if the article includes the writer’s perspective. Inaccurate information breaks the audience’s trust.


Lastly, keyword research plays a crucial role in producing high-quality content. A digital marketing company in Singapore may analyse the competition’s keywords. The data helps them assess content competition for the same sets of keywords. They can also determine the keywords with less competition, which provides them with content opportunities. Learn more about keyword research from this blog: Keyword Research Guide: Identify The Right Keywords To Optimise Your Digital Marketing Campaigns


Content is not blogs or articles alone. Images, infographics, videos, and podcasts are content as well. Marketers can take advantage of these mediums for their contextual advertising, especially since more people prefer images and videos as content formats.


With the help of content marketing, marketers can optimise the website for the readers and give a more personalised message or ad that resonates with the audience more. It meets their immediate needs in a customised and less cluttered or annoying way. It increases the chances of users engaging with the brand and eventually leads to a sale.


RELATED ARTICLE: Content Marketing: How To Combine SEO And Social Media?





The cookieless world is the future of digital marketing and advertising. In the fast-paced digital marketing industry, brands and digital marketing agencies in Singapore must be prepared and adapt quickly to this significant technology shift. Otherwise, your marketing campaigns will fall short in the future.


OOm is committed to helping your website adapt to the cookieless future. Visit OOm to find out how.