Third-party cookie depreciation and why you don’t have to worry about it

In 2023, Google laid out its roadmap for phasing out third-party cookies. The planned approach – a testing period at the start of 2024 with a full rollout in the second half of the year >>

With Google as the last major browser to act against third-party cookies, it begs the question of where does this leave the future of affiliate marketing?

The general advice across the industry is that first-party cookies are and remains a viable method for tracking. Because of this, Tag Management Systems such as Tealium are recommending a complete shift to first-party cookies >>

This recommendation has been reinforced by other notable names, such as James Little (Group Commercial Director at TopCashback):

Here, James highlights both cookie consent and GDPR still remain a key focus for the affiliate industry, as both have a direct effect on being able to track via first-party cookies. An incorrect setup or overaggressive Consent Management Platform can severely affect not only affiliate tracking but also a client’s own analytics suite.

First-party cookie tracking at Tradedoubler

When it comes to first-party cookie tracking, Tradedoubler have been ahead of the curve, for over 15 years we have been the pioneers of first-party cookie scripts to reduce the reliance on third-party cookies. In fact, at the end of 2023, Tradedoubler made a change to simulate the phase out of third-party cookies and the results showed that less than 1% of sales were affected.

Our tracking Product Team, with Jaroslaw Marczyk at the helm, continually works tirelessly on updating our tracking script to work proactively. Our script (known as the “Tracking Library”) is the last script our clients will ever need, ensuring no more migrations and pushing updates dynamically for easy and stress-free integrations. This allows us to fight quickly against any major industry changes (such as improved adblocking, browser limitations, and new GDPR regulations).

The Tracking Library comes with additional features for tackling tracking challenges:

· Server-to-server fallback tracking that will activate if adblockers or errors prevent our central tracking from firing
· Cookie and tracking consent to ensure that tracking is limited if users have not granted consent
· Integrated “Container Tags”, designed to activate scripts from approved Tech Partners

Our tracking has been extended to include a wide range of cookieless tracking methods, these include:

· Cross-device tracking (using encrypted email data or predefined user IDs)
· Machine learning (in use since 2019)
· Fingerprinting (using a wide range of data to create a digital fingerprint of the user)
· IP Address/Browser data

While first-party cookie remains a very strong method for accurately tracking affiliate activity, our expanded range of tracking methods ensures no affiliate sale remains untracked (not to worry, all of our tracking technology is GDPR compliant).

These tracking methods are activated naturally through the Tracking Library and do not require additional setup. Deterministic methods, such as encrypted email addresses, provide a robust and reliable way to track users across different devices. This is an increasingly valuable metric with the evolution of smartphones and other internet ready devices.

With the above in mind, we remain confident that the changes this year will not adversely affect our tracking and that we can continue to provide accurate and reliable sales reports to our clients.

Tradedoubler Tracking Technology

Our continued investment in our tracking technology means that no matter what changes happen in the future regarding GDPR or Browser settings, we can react quickly and effectively to those changes.

Sean Morris

While the phasing out of third party cookies may cause concern the reliance on these cookies has diminished greatly. In over 10 years of experience I’ve seen numerous advancements in technologies that make third party cookies less and less relevant. With further developments in the future these new opportunities mean clients have nothing to fear in regards to Google’s privacy sandbox!

Sean Morris, Technical Client Director at Tradedoubler

Do you want to use the Tradedoubler Tracking Technology? Or would you like to discuss how this benefits your business and how to deal with it? Then please get in touch with our technical experts here >>

Here you will find some more information >>

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