A future without cookies

A future without cookies: how to comply?

Third-party cookies will gradually disappear from the Web. The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) has imposed the collection of users’ consent to collect their data. 1er April 2021, the National Commission for Computing and Liberties (CNIL) has tightened the requirements set out in said European regulation in order to better protect Internet users by imposing better control on online trackers. All these constraints are forcing Google to change its advertising techniques anticipating the death of third-party cookies and their deletion from 2023 . All these new rules aim above all to improve respect for the privacy of Internet users but, in return, have a heavy impact on the marketing practices implemented in retail for more than 10 years. Therefore, how to organize its compliance, what are the changes to be expected and how to maintain a sufficiently personalized customer experience ? Answers!

Reminder: the role of the cookie

A cookie is a small file that websites place on users’ computers to collect certain site usage data. Thanks to cookies, a company can have access to a lot of information such as:

  • users’ browsing habits;
  • the sites visited;
  • or even the pseudonyms they use.

Cookies are used for marketing purposes. They make it possible to better target the advertisements to be promoted and to offer a better online experience.

A cookie-free future 3There are two types of cookies:

  • Proprietary cookies: they are placed with the Internet user, directly by the sites he visits;
  • Third-party cookies: they are deposited via an advertising agency.

In both cases, information is collected on Internet users. The use of cookies has been singled out by the CNIL. Considered an abusive practice, close to espionage, cookies and other tracers will disappear. The deletion of third-party cookies is scheduled and should take place in 2023. Some companies have anticipated this development. Thus, third-party cookies have already been blocked on Safari, Apple’s search engine, and on Firefox (Mozilla). They will disappear from Chrome (Google) in 2023.

Article 82 of the Data Protection Act transposes into French law Article 5.3 of Directive 2002/58/EC “privacy and electronic communications” (or “ePrivacy”). It provides in particular the obligation, with some exceptions, to obtain the consent of Internet users before any operation of writing or reading cookies and other tracers.

The new rules governing cookies

The GDPR entered into force on May 25, 2018. It has put in place obligations in terms of obtaining consent. This European standard concerns personal data. Subsequently, the CNIL issued directives and recommendations on cookies and other tracers on September 17, 2020. The new measures mainly concern the collection of user consent, which is necessary on sites as well as on mobile applications. Indeed, it is forbidden to deposit a cookie without first obtaining the consent of the Internet user.

Some numbers: According to a study conducted by the Reuters Institute of approximately 200 sites and a total of 10,168 page loads, nearly 1 million content requests and 2.7 million cookies were captured and analyzed between April and July 2018.

What are the solutions thought up by advertisers?

To collect data, advertisers will have to find other solutions . Several avenues are under study. Artificial intelligence, mass individualization, first party data (or proprietary cookies), contextual and semantic targeting, a new era is emerging with the need for optimized tools for future advertising campaigns.

First-party data or proprietary cookies

The use of first party cookies is always allowed. These make it possible to collect data related to the different channels of a company. For example, for an e-commerce site, this may be information related to:

A cookie-free future 2

  • the creation of a loyalty account;
  • abandonment of cart;
  • navigation on the website such as the frequency of visits.


Companies can continue to use this data collected directly from Internet users. However, the collection of consent remains essential.

Cohort analysis

A cohort is a group of people targeted according to their interests. These show similar consumption habits: channels visited and products purchased. The study of cohorts is of interest for websites in terms of the cost of acquiring a customer. It allows you to enter what are the recurring revenue or continuous. This method is also a trend analysis tool.

The SSO authentication system

The SSO authentication system, or Single Sign-on, is a solution that allows an Internet user to connect to access a set of sites and applications. The SSO makes it possible to share personal data between several media with the agreement of the Internet user. The practice is legal, but carries security risks. In the event of hacking, a large volume of data can be stolen. The interest for the company is to constitute and list all of its customers.

Contextual and semantic targeting

Unlike the exploitation of data concerning the Internet user, contextual and semantic targeting relate to the relevance of the content present on the pages of a website. This method then makes it possible to broadcast a relevant advertising message. For example, on the page of a blog related to the consumption of second-hand clothes, advertisements can be broadcast to redirect the user to marketplaces offering this type of product for sale.

Good to know: what is the difference between contextual targeting and semantic targeting? Contextual targeting allows ads to be served based on searches performed by users. The analyzed data is linked to the keywords and to the different category pages. Semantic targeting is part of this logic. However, it relies on a more detailed analysis of the content to deliver a relevant advertising message linked to the context.

Why is it essential for sites to offer targeted advertising?

Advertising is essential to ensure the good health of a website and to maximize the conversion rate. It is imperative that these advertisements are targeted and of high quality.

Some numbers : According to a study conducted by Qwarry, nearly 3 out of 4 Internet users appreciate advertisements in line with the content of a page. This content can be text, videos or even audio content.

Data protection and understanding consumer habits are two major challenges of digital transformation. On the one hand, compliance with the new CNIL rules is an obligation applicable to the various channels such as sites, tablets, smartphones. On the other hand, even if this legal framework is more restrictive for advertisers, it can be a real opportunity for professionals in the sector . Therefore, some marketing methods can be used by advertisers as an alternative to cookies and other tracers. These can have many advantages by offering a more relevant analysis of the data . They can also allow users to benefit from a better customer experience .

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