It’s no secret that the advertising industry and brands alike find themselves at the forefront of a seismic shift in how to prepare and navigate the inevitable cookie-less and privacy-centric world that has been set in motion. For a long time, third-party cookies have been a fundamental element of digital advertising. Alongside regulatory changes that have already happened in 13 states in the US, there is a growing demand from consumers for more transparency and control over their personal data. The modern-day customer is educated and active; they are empowered and are pressuring tech companies to change the ways they collect and use consumer data. Google remains the final pin to drop as they’ve recently started to slowly phase out cookies and mobile IDs, which is scheduled to be completed at the end of this year.

While the playing field begins to shift, client objectives continue to rise, making it more important than ever for brands to maintain a competitive edge. If unprepared, advertisers will likely see a decrease in targeting precision, performance measurement, and efficiency in campaigns. However, this change will introduce new opportunities for more transparent, trust-based relationships with consumers, and encourage the adoption of enhanced targeting techniques. How? Well, at WHITE64, we emphasize the importance of not only leveraging data wherever possible but also understanding the various data types and their connections to a brand’s target audience and the overall impact on their objectives.


Redefined Data Strategies

As we look ahead to change and distance ourselves from relying on third-party cookies, we must focus on a resource that is as pivotal today as oil was in the 1900s. We’re talking about comprehensive, actionable, and privacy-compliant data. Brands that look to data to inform their marketing efforts will have a valuable resource to drive growth. By properly identifying the most relevant data types and understanding their relationship to consumers, marketers can activate this data for informed, intentional use.


First-party Data
Second-party Data
Zero-party Data
Third-party Data
Data is collected with consent
Data is collected with consent
Data is collected with consent
Consent is Unknown (depends on the provider)
Brand has a direct relationship with the customer
Brand does not have a direct relationship with the customer, but your trusted partner does
Brand has a direct relationship with the customer
Brand does not have a direct relationship with the customer
Data is owned by the brand
Data is owned by trusted partners, not the brand
Data is owned by the brand
Data is aggregated and not owned by the brand
Data is not distributed to others
Data is shared with only trusted partners
Data is not distributed to others
Data is widely distributed to many


First-Party Data

First-party data refers to the data collected directly from a customer using a brand’s owned channels such as demographics, purchase history, and website activity. Prioritizing this data is more critical than ever before. Each interaction with customers offers insights into consumer behavior, preferences, and trends, enabling brands to tailor their marketing efforts more precisely. This type of data is considered to be relevant and highly accurate because it is collected directly from the customer. The challenge with first-party data lies in effectively and efficiently capturing, analyzing, and activating this data to drive marketing decisions and personalized experiences.


Second-Party Data

Second-party data is gained through an agreement with a trusted partner who collects the data with consent from the customer base and not the brands. Like first-party data, this data is high quality, relevant, and safe because it comes from a partner who is already compliant with data privacy regulations. The collaboration between brands and a trusted partner’s customer base can enhance targeting strategies and more personalized and relevant advertising experiences. Furthermore, the insights generated from this combination can significantly enhance campaign performance, drive higher engagement rates, and ultimately lead to increased return on investment for marketers.


Zero-Party Data (Volunteer Data)

Zero-party data is collected voluntarily when customers provide personal information through quizzes, surveys, and preference centers, allowing the brand or marketer permission to use it. This is increasingly important as regulations and customer privacy preferences continue to limit what can be collected. WHITE64 believes there is meaningful potential in not only collecting zero-party data but then combining it with first-party data to enhance marketing efforts with precise targeting and tailored interactions with customers for a more engaging experience.


Third-Party Data (Post-Cookies)

Third-party data is collected and sold by data aggregators, companies who pull information from numerous sources and typically do not have a direct relationship with the individuals from whom the data is collected. These insights, though less specific than first or second-party data, can still be instrumental in understanding broader market trends and consumer segments. Looking forward, it will need to be sourced from more diverse and compliant data aggregator platforms that prioritize user privacy, and quality over quantity, emphasizing ethically sourced, and transparent data that can effectively supplement first-party data strategies.


Data Access Limitations

Navigating data in a cookie-less world presents unique challenges, especially for clients in sectors where sharing first-party data is restricted due to the sensitive nature of their business. Industries such as healthcare, government, and financial services often operate under stringent regulations that limit their ability to freely share customer data. For instances like these, forming alliances with trusted partners is essential to allow businesses to access relevant, privacy-compliant first-party data without direct collection. Simultaneously, integrating enhanced contextual targeting with carefully selected second-party and evolving third-party data sources enables effective navigation of the cookie-less landscape. This holistic approach not only aligns with privacy standards but also ensures meaningful and compliant audience engagement.


Data Protection Tools

In the face of these changes, the adoption of data protection tools becomes essential. Data Clean Rooms are emerging as a vital solution, allowing brands and their partners to share anonymized data in a secure, privacy-compliant environment. These platforms enable the analysis of combined datasets without exposing individual data points, thus maintaining consumer privacy. While “clean rooms” sounds daunting, it is a technology employed to keep first-person data private when being used for marketing and advertising efforts.


Contextual and AI Predictive Targeting

Now that we have a clear grasp on the types of data available to us as marketers, it is important to mention two additional strategies for leveraging the collected data to create more impactful experiences for our clients: contextual targeting and generative AI. Contextual targeting is a method of placing ads on websites or digital platforms based on the content of the page without relying on personal data. This is not a new technique, however, when paired with evolving technologies it will yield enhanced effectiveness with a focus on understanding and leveraging the environment where ads are placed.

AI has been used for targeting, programmatic advertising, customer insights, etc. for years – and is not stopping now. It is the expanded scale and accessibility that will drive its innovation and growth across each vertical including digital advertising. Advancements in Generative AI and Machine Learning are playing and will play a substantial role in Audience Modeling, Predictive Targeting, and Analytics. These technologies can analyze large datasets to identify patterns and predict consumer behavior, helping brands target their audiences more effectively. Interpreting content more deeply, ensuring that ads are not just relevant, but also resonate with the audience’s current interests and needs.



The state of third-party cookies as we know it will inevitably fade at the end of this year. Instead of hesitation towards change, we should take it as a call to action for innovation. At WHITE64, we believe this should all be accomplished with customer relationships in mind and an integrated approach when working with brands and leveraging data that aligns with business objectives. This approach should also provide room for testing and maintain a dynamic setup, allowing the implementation to evolve as market conditions change.

By identifying what data types are most relevant to these marketing efforts, with a trusted focus on relationships, connections, and a deeper understanding of the purpose of our message (and additional assistance from our AI counterparts), there is a new opportunity right in front of us and (cookie-less) success on 2024’s horizon.