10 February 2021 1462 words, 6 min. read

[Podcast] The end of third-party cookies is fast approaching

By Lorène Fauvelle PhD in marketing, director of IntoTheMinds
In this podcast, we interview Alban Peltier, CEO of AntVoice, about cookies, their evolution, and primarily suppressing third-party cookies by 2022. What will be the consequences for digital advertising, and what solutions are proposed so far? Summary The origin of […]

In this podcast, we interview Alban Peltier, CEO of AntVoice, about cookies, their evolution, and primarily suppressing third-party cookies by 2022. What will be the consequences for digital advertising, and what solutions are proposed so far?


  1. The origin of cookies
  2. The Cookie Revolution
  3. Future evolution of the ecosystem and end of third-party cookies
  4. IntoTheMinds Podcasts

The idea to be retained absolutely

Third-party cookies allow the collection of third-party data, in contrast to domain-specific cookies (first-party data). Third-party cookies will disappear by the end of 2021. Several solutions are already being considered, such as FLoCs, Federated Learning of Cohorts (by Google), universal IDs, and contextual and semantic analyses.
We advise you to read the white paper on cookies co-authored by Alban Peltier.

Cookies: origin and utility

What are cookies?

  • Cookies have been present on the web since its genesis (>20 years).
  • They are tracers that allow the behavior of individuals to be tracked online.
  • They enable the segmentation and qualification of audiences, as well as their aggregation.
  • They allow you to refine targeting and optimize the performance of digital marketing.

In particular, cookies make it possible to carry out more refined targeting than the contextual segmentations linked to traditional media such as television, press, radio, etc. We are moving from media planning (strategy relating to the advertising medium) to audience planning (strategy relating to the audience and the individuals that advertisers wish to target). Refining this audience allows advertisers to move towards 1-to-1 and personalized messages. As a result, the targeting and performance of digital marketing are optimized.

Behavioral analysis adapted to other media

This behavioral targeting is especially accurate for digital. Initiatives are tending towards the expansion of this targeting to other media. We have already talked about addressable TV, allowing individuals and households to be targeted according to their audio-visual consumption. The limits of this targeting are mainly related to the share of boxes present on the market.

The difference between third-party cookies and first-party cookies

  1. First-party cookies are used to track the behavior of visitors to your website.
  2. Third-party cookies are used to track the behavior of visitors to websites other than our own. They are used primarily for audience expansion and in-depth analysis.

Google has announced the disappearance of the third-party by 2022, and as Google has about 60% market share on browsers, when Google decides to delete the third-party cookie, it is the third-party cookie that disappears as a whole.

In May 2018, the introduction of the GDPR had shaken up practices in terms of the protection of personal data. We had analyzed this aspect at length in a previous post. Today, it is the browsers that decide to delete third-party cookies. Alban Peltier suggests that third-party cookies’ disappearance is mainly linked to the problem of personal data management and so-called “poor” advertising experiences. He gives us the example of redundant advertising, even considered abusive. For him, the disappearance of third-party cookies is intrinsically linked to the leakage of personal data. However, he points out that these leaks of personal data are mostly related to websites with SSO – Single Sign-On and for which cookies are of little importance, such as “Wall garden,” GAFA (Facebook, Google, Amazon, and so on). Be careful, however, with the integrity of the analyses proposed by these web giants: Facebook targeting here.

“I think the cookie, unfortunately, was collateral damage to these personal data management issues.”

Since the cookie is the basis of retargeting, it should be challenging to remove it. Other approaches are already being developed and implemented, such as segmentation by groups of individuals via Google’s proposed FLoCs.

“Retargeting as we know it today is bound to disappear. Instead, we will have another form of retargeting based on groups instead of individuals.”

We should note that digital represents, on average, 50% of advertising investments in the world. Therefore, retargeting operations will necessarily have to be rethought to meet the new requirements of browsers by 2022.
Trends related to eliminating third-party sources and the importance of first-party data have been visible for several years. We have been highlighting this aspect for several years. However, it is interesting to note that advertisers and agencies have not systematically begun to address the issue. The definition of an end date for third party cookies by Google, therefore, imposes a limit on the actors who will consequently have to find alternative solutions to third party cookies by then.

For Alban Peltier, companies have not yet reacted or conducted tests because they are too focused on the business aspect induced by the difficulties encountered in 2020. It will be a question of testing the solutions presented on the market during 2021.

The impact of the Covid-19 crisis on the digital sector

In 2019, digital grew by 12% compared to +3% in 2020, confirming the impact that the year 2020 has had on the digital market. A detailed analysis of the covid’s effect on the media is available here. The lockdown has significantly impacted branding. Many campaigns were suspended when the first lockdown was announced. In the second half of 2020, advertising actions were overhauled. The year 2020 was split into two parts with very distinct advertising behaviors and investments.

Alban Peltier highlights two typical behaviors following the first confinement:

  1. Brands that have overinvested and thus taken market share and “top of mind.”
  2. Brands that could not invest and lost market share

It depicts an improved situation since September 2020 with an industry-independent recovery in advertising investment.

The future evolution of the ecosystem and the end of third-party cookies

Solutions to overcome the end of third-party cookies:

  • Focus on first-party data (own data)
  • The SSO, Single-Sign-On, that we have already talked about together
  • Universal IDs allowing the reconciliation of audiences around a universal ID (cookie replacement)
  • Contextual/semantic targeting consists of targeting audiences via content. For example, a car brand wishing to highlight its electric range could target content around these topics and sub-categorize them. Content related to ecological aspects will undoubtedly have a different impact than content related to economic factors. Alban Peltier comments on this solution as involving a significant issue: that of performance tracking.
  • Google’s FLoCs: targeting via cohorts and groups of individuals defined by Google.

The GAFA will undoubtedly benefit even more from the deletion of third-party cookies since they are almost unimportant for those websites with an SSO. Targeting will go through these web giants. Also, they will provide data on the success of a campaign.

Globally, the disappearance of third-party cookies will benefit the Wall garden, the GAFA and will disadvantage the open web: media websites and commercial websites.

Indeed, the solution represented by the FLoCs will continue to benefit the giant Google, which replaces individual management with group management, allowing the absence of control of personal data.

This solution raises several questions:

  • How is group homogeneity created?
  • How are individuals assigned?
  • Are individuals present in a single cohort or several cohorts?
  • How can/should these cohorts be used?
  • What is the key to stimulating one group or another?

Alban foresees difficulty using FLoC for some companies, where contextualization and page rubbing seem more comfortable integrating. Besides, it is now possible to measure performance via external tools, which will be more complicated in the future.

“This ability to get out of the Google universe will disappear.”

What about groups with multiple domains?

Questions remain about the management of data from different domains belonging to the same group. For example, France Television has many websites dedicated to each channel (France Television, France 2, France 3, and so on). Discussions are underway about the possibility of aggregating domain names within the same entity. This point should be clarified by the end of 2021.

What Alban Peltier, CEO of AntVoice intends to use:

  • First-party cookies
  • FLoC for more precise targeting, close to 1-to-1: “one-to-few,” but first we will have to find the right algorithms to understand how Google creates FLoCs to target cohorts efficiently.

The interesting thing is that there are plenty of solutions. On the other hand, the problem is also that there are a lot of solutions.

Alban Peltier says that to date, FLoCs can be tested. Google will allow users to see the result of a FLoC. The goal for AntVoice is to understand how cohorts are created and to be able to perform the first tests by mid-2021.

A podcast to help you develop your start-up

In 2020 we are changing the format of our podcasts. The aim is to help you develop your start-up by providing you with relevant information on specific topics.

Our podcasts are now divided into chapters of +/- 3 minutes. Each chapter is dedicated to a specific theme or development phase. You can therefore listen to the entire podcast or choose to listen to only part of it by directly selecting the part that interests you the most.

Illustrations: shutterstock

Posted in Marketing.

Post your opinion

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *