How to prepare your ecommerce site for a Cookieless internet

How to prepare your ecommerce site for a Cookieless internet

Jun 3, 2021 | Ecommerce, Tips

Cookies, or more importantly Third-party cookies have been vital to the success of many ecommerce businesses. They are a crucial component of digital advertising and analytics, but it is ending. In 2022 Third-party cookies will be gone.

Ad targeting, measurement, and cross-channel attribution will all be made increasingly difficult over the next 12 months.

In this article we will look at the implications of these changes on ecommerce and some steps businesses can start to implement.

It’s all about Privacy

Major technology companies like Google and Facebook and been built around collecting user data and allowing businesses a level of ad targeting that we have never seen before. The ability to pinpoint your exact customer and have your ads show up in front of them.

Being able to deliver relevant ads to consumers has, however produced an erosion of trust. 76% of consumers stated that they are more concerned than ever about privacy when browsing the web. This has seen browsers such as Brave gain traction due to their privacy and anti-tracking abilities.

If is because of the consumer sentiment that Google has confirmed that they will not be planning a workaround and major browsers will depreciate cookies. That will be the end of third-party cookies from 2022.

How will this impact ecommerce?

Digital Identity

Digital Identity of Digital Personas are fundamental in the world of ecommerce. Without cookies simple questions will become hard to answer making it tough to measure ad impressions, frequency and classify new vs. returning website visitors.

There are potential solutions in the making by Industry giants however none yet have been able to gather enough momentum and they all fall short in their ability to service the demands of ecommerce measurability.

Ad Targeting

With user identification challenges, the most notable issue will be ad targeting. For years ecommerce advertisers have been able to target product ads against audiences based on data aggregated from third-party cookies.

This hyper-specific targeting has been the driving force behind ad spend in the digital world.

The ads that site outside the major platforms of Google and Facebook for example will be most impacted.

So, while you will still be able to run ads based on specific information within the Facebook platform being able to remarket/retarget to those people who have visited or performed an action on your website will be impacted.


Attribution is the name given to the process of matching effectiveness of marketing activities. Without third-party cookies it will be impossible to track the customer journey enough to make attribution dependable.

What should I be doing to prepare?

Develop a First-Party Data Strategy

Third-party data is out. You can continue to use it this year however at the same time you need to start thinking about what is next.

Ecommerce is predominantly a direct-to-consumer model meaning collection of first-party data happens organically.

However, there is value in building an audience before the value exchange has happened.
The most common way to do this is by offering Exclusivity.

  • Early access to new products
  • Exclusive pricing or promotions
  • Exclusive Products
  • Competitions

With the right first-party data strategy you should be able to follow the consumer journey through post of sale, support, website behaviour etc…

Audience segmentation is already hugely successful in terms of ROI, but as we move into 2022 effective audience segmentation will become the most valuable marketing data you have.

So, what are the benefits of building first-party data.

First-part data can be used to synchronise with platforms like Facebook and Google allowing you to match and accurately target ads. The more first-party data you have the better chances you have of third-party data matching.

The known and unknown

Most issues in a cookieless world will be the ability to identify customer online, creating a huge gap between known and unknown audiences.

To reach potential new audiences at scale, ecommerce will have to adapt and must turn contextual.

Collecting first-party data before the value transaction is of the up most importance but without the right audience this is near impossible.

Keyword targeting via paid search is an example of contextual targeting as well as using display networks. When run and optimised correctly you will be reaching the right people at the right time with your advertising.

As businesses move to contextual over the coming month, strong creative will become crucial to cut noise as we move from a 1:1 to a 1-to-many targeting approach.


Third-party cookies are out, we know this. Sometime in 2022 our ability to go from no data to highly targeted in with a matter of clicks will be over. Anyone who has tried to build up first-party data knows it takes time so with that in mind you cannot afford to not start immediately.