Data Deprecation: Best Practices for Modern Advertisers

Phonexa
13 minute read
Phonexa
13 minute read

Once again, Google has postponed cookie deprecation in Chrome until 2025 without specifying exact dates. This event prompts further discussions, which we will explore in this article, including the reasons behind and consequences of data deprecation for advertisers and common strategies they may adopt. We’ll examine how businesses can shift their focus from third-party data to sustainable practices that adhere to data privacy regulations and offer top-notch solutions to enhance advertising and marketing efforts.

Before that, we will define deprecation and cookie advertising and outline the rise and fall of cookies.

What Is Data Deprecation?

Data deprecation is the process of decreasing data value due to some parts becoming unavailable or less useful. In marketing, data deprecation, or data depreciation, as sometimes spelled, can significantly affect how marketers retrieve information about users and form marketing campaigns. Hence, with less information about users, the advertisers are less likely to predict user behavior, tune precise targeting, and display personalized ads in the right places and at the right time.

Several instances of data deprecation are particularly significant during the current stage of technology and digital marketing evolution:

  • 3rd-party cookie deprecation: Phasing out third-party cookies by major browsers due to privacy concerns. This makes it more difficult for marketers to track user behavior across different sites for targeted advertising.
  • Walled gardens: Large platforms like Facebook, Google, and Amazon restrict access to user data within their ecosystems, making it challenging for external marketers to leverage this data for broad-scale analytics or advertising.
  • Platform-specific API limitations: Platforms may change their APIs or restrict access to them, limiting the data third-party applications can retrieve. For instance, social media platforms periodically update their API policies, often restricting the amount of data available to developers and marketers.

The most important data deprecation making the biggest impact on marketers is the deprecation of cookies.

Cookie Deprecation

Traditionally, online advertising relies on third-party cookies for cross-site user tracking. These cookies are code snippets created by third-party domains (not the domain visited by the user) and placed on the website through scripts or tags. The cookie data holds information about user behavior that can be used for advertising purposes and accessed by advertisers with the third-party’s server code.

For example, if a user visits a website with popups and banners from a third-party advertising network, that network can create a cookie and place it on the website. Now, the advertiser can track the user across other sites that contain advertising from the same network. This way, the user may see personalized ads on certain websites based on their actions on previous ones.

Third-party cookie deprecation is often discussed in contrast to first-party cookies. While the first ones are created and utilized by advertisers who do not necessarily own the website visited by the user, the later ones are set by the domain currently visited. An example of usage of first-party cookies is when a website remembers your login information or shopping cart content the next time you visit.

First-party cookies Third-party cookies
Source The domain the user is visiting The domain other than the one the user is visiting
Purpose Enhance site functionality and user experience Tracking users across multiple sites for targeted advertising
Access time Can be accessed only while the user is active on the site with the cookies Can be accessed when the user is active on any site with the advertising network content
Regulatory impact Less impacted by strict privacy regulations if proper consent mechanisms are in place Heavily impacted by privacy regulations, with increasing restrictions and requirements for user consent

The Third-Party Cookie Deprecation Timeline

The quest for a cookie-free worldwide network started a while ago. Since advertisers began widely using cookies to track users in the 2000s, awareness and concern over privacy issues have been rising. This culminated in 2014 when the European Union issued a “Cookie law” requiring websites to get consent from users before using cookies.

Now, with even more concerns raised, stricter data policy regulations have taken effect, with some of the major browsers, including Mozilla Firefox and Safari, blocking third-party cookies by default.

Cookie deprecation timeline

Since Google holds the largest share of the global web browser market through its Chrome browser, marketers need to follow updates specifically on the Google cookie deprecation timeline and follow the news on its decisions and innovations.

Factors Leading to Cookie Deprecation

The reduction of availability of certain data, especially when talking about cookie deprecation, is driven by several factors.

  • Strengthening privacy regulations: New and stringent privacy laws (like GDPR in Europe and CCPA in California) are being implemented globally. These regulations restrict how personal data can be collected, stored, and used. This regulatory shift forces marketers to reconsider their data strategies and often limits the scope of data they can freely use.
  • Consumer privacy expectations: There is a growing consumer awareness and concern regarding privacy, leading many to be more cautious about sharing their data. Users are more likely to opt out of tracking or choose platforms and services that prioritize privacy, further challenging marketers to find alternative ways to collect and leverage consumer data.
  • Technologies that don’t rely on third-party cookies: These partially arose as the result of digital advertising companies actively seeking solutions to avoid using third-party cookies. These technologies aim to balance advertisers’ goals with the rising concerns about user privacy and stricter laws. They represent a shift towards a more sustainable and ethically grounded digital ecosystem.

Perfect automation solutions are crucial for smooth marketing operations. Phonexa offers a single operating solution for partner and performance marketing to enhance your affiliate campaigns and improve results. 

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Impact of Cookie Deprecation on Businesses

The impact of data deprecation is closely connected with the role of third-party cookies, as these entities are at risk of extermination.

How companies use third-party cookies

Source: Capterra

Third-party cookies are extensively used in behavioral advertising to track users across multiple sites and gather data on their browsing habits and interests. This information allows advertisers to deliver highly targeted ads that are more likely to be relevant to the user. The general impact of cookie deprecation is the loss of traditional instruments that many marketers use to craft their marketing campaigns.

Data Quality

Data deprecation affects how well a company understands and interacts with its customers. If customer data is not regularly updated or maintained, businesses may fail to address changing needs or preferences, potentially damaging customer satisfaction and loyalty. This can result in a poor customer experience and decreased customer retention rates.

Business Decisions

Data drives decision-making in modern businesses. When data deprecates—whether due to it becoming outdated, less accessible, or less accurate—the quality of decisions based on this data can suffer. This can lead to strategies that are no longer effective or are misaligned with current market conditions, resulting in lost opportunities and revenue.

Increasing Marketing Costs

Relying on deprecated cookies can lead to inefficiencies in operations. For instance, inventory levels might be calculated based on past sales data that doesn’t accurately reflect current demand trends, leading to overstocking or stockouts. Similarly, marketing campaigns based on outdated customer preferences can result in higher costs with lower returns.

Market Competitiveness and Rise of New Technologies

Data deprecation will most likely hinder market competitiveness as outdated or insufficient data fails to inform current business strategies effectively. However, it also drives innovation, prompting the adoption of new technologies. These technologies can offer more advanced data processing and analytics solutions, leading to better insights and fostering a competitive edge in rapidly evolving markets while guarding user privacy, moral and ethical norms, and privacy laws and regulations.

Employing a comprehensive marketing automation solution that addresses the multiple concert businesses face in a cookie-free environment is ideal. 

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Why Did Google Delay Third-Party Cookie Deprecation?

Google originally scheduled the Privacy Sandbox to start operation in late 2023. At that point, Chrome would have joined other ranking browsers in implementing enhanced privacy measures. Afterward, the Privacy Sandbox launch was rescheduled to the second half of 2024 and later postponed until 2025 without specific dates.

We recognize that there are ongoing challenges related to reconciling divergent feedback from the industry, regulators, and developers, and we will continue to engage closely with the entire ecosystem,” the company said in the Privacy Sandbox blog on April 23, 2024.

The UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) stated in the April 26th report: “We have a role in supervising Google to ensure that the Privacy Sandbox is developed in a way that benefits consumers. As part of this role, we have continued to engage with Google on the design and development of the proposals.

Google’s decision to postpone the deprecation of Chrome third-party cookies is driven by its intentions to finalize the Privacy Sandbox design, requirements from regulators, and marketing companies’ needs:

  • Heightened regulatory scrutiny, particularly from the UK’s CMA, which demands further investigation into whether Google cookies deprecation will not provide an unfair advantage to its own advertising services.
  • In the late 2023 survey among American programmatic advertising teams, only 28% of respondents stated that they already have a tested marketing solution that doesn’t require Google Chrome third-party cookies. Most marketers require more time to become accustomed to third-party cookies deprecation.
  • It’s no secret that Google plans to implement its Privacy Sandbox functionality as an alternative to cookie advertising methods. However, Google is still testing it and presenting it to regulatory organizations.

Future of Data Management in Light of Data Deprecation

Is it possible to prepare for the loss of third-party cookies? The truth is that no technology can provide the same data cookies provide without breaking privacy and security regulations. However, employing various marketing strategies can result in positive results.

For many advertising firms, the deprecation of 3rd-party cookies might become an opportunity to compete with much larger companies that previously relied on traditional marketing methods.

What alternative forms of measuring digital marketing campaign effectiveness is your organization already using, or considering adopting?

Source: Econsultancy

Google’s third-party cookie deprecation means that much of the data about a user’s journey will be unavailable to advertisers. With a purchase completed on a site, it will be hard to track the customer’s source and explore user behavior for further optimization of campaigns. Moreover, marketers will have less data to evaluate the effectiveness of various marketing channels, and using certain payback methods, like affiliate pay-per-conversion, becomes problematic.

It is not yet clear which strategies will be able to replace the role of cookies fully. However, to effectively handle data deprecation, businesses can implement complex approaches.

Developing a Proactive Data Strategy

Preparing for the third-party cookie deprecation involves diversifying data sources. The key part of this strategy is relying on first-party cookies collected from the advertiser’s domain.

First-party cookies provide various insights that may be used to learn user behavior on the site and offer personalized recommendations. For example, just like storing the user’s sign-in credentials, browsers can remember the user’s browsing history, allowing them to predict what products will likely interest the user. Another application of first-party cookies is contextual advertising, which involves automatically matching the environment and circumstances where the ad is placed with specific user behavior patterns.

Zero-party data marketing is closely related to the first-party cookies method. This is a cookieless strategy where the data is also stored and used only locally; however, the users submit it voluntarily through forms and questionnaires. The information provided by this method is extremely valuable as it can be highly detailed, which means that the user is proactive and engaged.

Source: Databox

The first-party data can provide a wealth of information about users. Here are a few common methods to access it:

  • Creating user accounts on your platform that collect user data during the registration process
  • Building websites and landing pages with comprehensive navigation, search, and filtering tools that will allow studying user behavior and interests
  • Offering incentives for users to fill out forms
  • Using email marketing as a direct channel to reach out to the audience, prompt subscribers to complete their profiles, and analyze their interest in various products and services
  • Utilize social media platforms to access the user information locked within the limits of the walled garden
  • Establish customer service and chatbots to answer user questions and require their information

Comprehensive Data Integration and Analytics

It is crucial to exhaustively use available data processing and analytics services to compensate for the loss of third-party cookies data. Without them, leveraging the remaining first-party cookies and adopting cookieless marketing becomes overly difficult and requires excessive manual effort.

Studying user behavior on your platform is necessary for identifying patterns and audience preferences, so all-inclusive marketing automation platforms like Phonexa are paramount. Phonexa’s HitMetrix offers various ways to monitor user behavior on your domain and estimate the effectiveness of your on-site ads, product layouts, and forms.

 

 

  • By analyzing recordings of user actions on the website, you can determine which step in a form prevents submissions, which ad placements are most effective, and which page content fails to capture user attention.
  • Heatmaps enable click and mouse movement tracking to analyze audience behavior in bulk while automatically storing data on all events that you deem significant.
  • The powerful built-in analytics allow for comparing the actions across different user segments and using this data to build optimized funnels.

HitMetrix interface

Companies that harness advanced analytics tools can substantially enhance their on-site advertising effectiveness and digital marketing efforts and successfully compete with industry leaders previously dependent on Google third-party cookies. Moreover, such an approach will improve user experience and engagement by delivering more relevant content.

Data Deprecation — Not as Scary as Originally Perceived, or Is It?

Cookies and data privacy have been hot topics in recent years, particularly with Google Chrome cookie deprecation plans being postponed for the third time in 2024. It is safe to say that marketers are not panicking, as they started to prepare for the upcoming changes as soon as Safari and Firefox started blocking third-party cookies by default.

Overcoming the consequences of cookie deprecation requires using first-party cookie data and integration of cookieless marketing. It is best to use comprehensive automation platforms with diverse marketing functionalities to use these strategies effectively. Phonexa’s suite of tools offers several solutions using which will strengthen the effectiveness of advertising on your domains:

  • E-Delivery for exploring user preferences through direct engagement
  • Call Logic for automatic categorization and routing of calls based on keywords, area codes, and more
  • HitMetrix for user behavior analytics and optimization of product funnels
  • LMS Sync for tracking and analyzing leads across your various platforms to offer them the most suitable products

Build your plan to elevate your advertising campaigns to the next level, or explore Phonexa’s diverse solutions during a product tour to learn how they can enhance your marketing strategies.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is cookie deprecation?

Cookie deprecation, sometimes spelled cookie depreciation, refers to phasing out the usage of third-party cookies that allow users to be tracked across multiple websites for advertising purposes. The reason for third-party cookie deprecation mainly stems from privacy concerns, regulatory pressure, and technological innovations.

When is Google deprecating cookies?

Google has postponed the deprecation of third-party cookies in its Chrome browser several times. Initially, the world’s most popular browser planned to phase out third-party cookies in early 2022. However, with the latest revision of its schedule, Google announced the removal of third-party cookies in 2025. The platform stated that the reasons for the delay in cookie deprecation include additional agreements with regulatory organizations and more testing of their new privacy-preserving technologies within the Privacy Sandbox.

What are the best practices for advertisers and publishers to mitigate the impact of cookie deprecation?

To address the challenges imposed by third-party cookie deprecation, businesses should diversify data sources by focusing on first-party cookies and zero-cookie marketing. Companies should also embrace technologies that respect user privacy while still providing actionable insights.

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Phonexa
Phonexa is the leading all-in-one platform for call tracking, lead distribution, email, marketing, and digital marketing. The Phonexa staff is responsible for authorship of Phonexa blog posts.
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