B2B Data

Google Chrome is Bidding Farewell to 3rd Party Cookies. Are You Ready for Cookieless Tracking? We Are.

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March 6, 2024

7 mins read

I'm Thinking of a cookieless world with Gareth Noonan

Google Chrome is Bidding Farewell to 3rd Party Cookies. Are You Ready for Cookieless Tracking? We Are.

The year was 2008.

On September 2nd of that year, Google introduced its Chrome browser to the world. In just 4+ short years, Google Chrome became the dominant browser, overtaking Microsoft’s Internet Explorer (IE) and Mozilla’s Firefox.

As of January 2024, according to W3Counter, Chrome remains the #1 most used browser with 70.2% market share. The others in the top 4 include Safari (13.4%), Internet Explorer & Edge (4.1%), Firefox (2.7%), and Opera (1.2%).

Suffice it to say Google Chrome is the de facto browser of choice.

So when the developers at Chrome announce something big, the world listens.

Uh oh. What did Google do?

The “big” in this case is the deprecation of 3rd party cookies, small pieces of data stored on a user’s web browser that allow websites and advertisers to see how a user behaved on other websites and what ads they may have seen and interacted with.

Historically, these 3rd party cookies have been used for advertising, analytics, and social media integration, and as the topic of user choice around data sharing has become more prevalent, so has evaluation of the part played by cookies.

As a result, we’ve seen a rise in regulatory responses — passing of specific measures to (a) restrict the use of third-party cookies and (b) ensure users have more privacy online. The EU’s GDPR and the CCPA are two such examples.

As far back as August of 2019, Google began publicly alluding to this 3rd party cookie phase-out. The momentum and rhetoric around cookies started to gain steam in January 2020.

Note: Safari and Firefox started blocking third-party cookies in 2013.

So what happens next?

Once Google Chrome pulls the plug on third-party cookies, both consumers and businesses will live in a cookieless tracking time … a cookieless world, if you will.

In December 2023, Google announced Tracking Protection — its answer to cookieless tracking. Once fully rolled out, Chrome users can restrict the data they share when visiting a website.

Read more about Google’s Tracking Protection

This same post — the “cookie countdown” as the URL showcases — states, “From the start of 2024, you can expect to see an increased portion of Chrome users on your site with third-party cookies disabled even if you are not actively participating in the Chrome-facilitated testing.”

There is even an entire section titled, “Prepare for the third-party cookie phase out.” It’s pretty detailed and highly technical. We definitely encourage you to read it (memorize?!) and implement what’s suggested.

However, it’s also essential to understand how vendors (cough cough Demandbase) will adapt to this new world.

How Demandbase is preparing for a cookieless world

First, and most importantly, we’ve been preparing for this moment for 3+ years. We’ve even worked directly with the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) — specifically the Improving Web Advertising Business Group, participating in best practice conversations and future critical decisions — front and center to the action.

This presents an incredible opportunity for Demandbase and our customers.

Chrome is moving away from a world of individual-level targeting and measurement to a more cohort-based world where the browser will group users based on common browsing interests, hence the Topics API in the Privacy Sandbox. And what are accounts if not a cohort of individuals grouped by similar behaviour? So we already feel Demandbase (and B2B in general) is well prepared here.

Why else is Demandbase uniquely positioned to address this 3rd-party cookie deprecation?

We own our B2B demand-side platform (DSP) — a software platform used by advertisers and ad agencies to purchase advertising space in an automated manner.

As detailed here, Demandbase’s DSP is the most mature B2B ad tech built specifically around accounts and buying groups. As an intent provider and owner of our ad tech, we deeply understand content and context and how to activate those signals. Non-B2B DSPs will double down on signals and outcomes relevant to consumer-based purchases. Whereas, our B2B DSP will do the same for accounts, buying groups and the B2B buying cycles they manage. Therefore, using the right ad tech tool for the job has never been more important.

We also have built-in targeting and measurement protection as we leverage cookieless attributes such as IP addresses, first-party data activation and alternative IDs from partners like Liveramp to identify targets and boost campaign performance with precision. Furthermore, we’ve been actively working on the next generation of contextual advertising.

As a native intent provider (through our ABX platform and DSP), Demandbase has proven and mature tech to understand contextual signals — what is a page, article, etc really about. This AI-powered tech leverages natural language processing (NLP) to go beyond the URL, page title, and meta tags — to really understand the contextual relevance of website content being consumed and how that impacts the value of delivering an ad to a decision-maker from a target account while they’re on that page.

These intent signals are individually scored for every target account we see on a site in our network. We match this page-level context with the keyword and keyphrase combinations our customers are targeting within their campaigns, and account-specific signals like industry, firmographics and technographics of that account . By looking at previous performance of these combined contexts and account characteristics in our DSP, we have a historical bidding model to make decisions on the impression opportunity — In summary, Demandbase is incredibly picky on when and who we serve impressions to within accounts.

3 more ways Demandbase is ready for our customers

Account Identification.
B2B Advertising.
Intent Data.

Let’s break each one down, specifically as they relate to 3rd-party cookies:

1. Account Identification: Our ability to identify what company website visitors work for.

With the loss of 3rd-party cookies, visitors whose cookies are being used to identify their presence will no longer exist (cookie IDs).

But have no fear. We’ve never relied on cookies to power the majority of our account identification. Demandbase will continue to leverage our robust ID data that match billions of IP addresses to specific companies, incorporating additional third-party signals and developing new strategies involving email-based identifiers and consent-based measurement.

Note: A dramatic shift in account identification is not new. When COVID-19 hit in early 2020, Demandbase noticed an incredible shift in people working from home. Our AI-Powered account identification technology quickly adapted leading to an increase in signals – both with scale and accuracy. More information can be read on this blog.

2. Intent Collection: gathering and analyzing behaviors demonstrating a potential buyer’s interest or intent to purchase a particular product or service. Or, in Demandbase-speak, helping our customers understand which accounts are in-market before they raise their hand.

As we outline here, our B2B buyer intent data can be used “to trigger campaigns, personalize your messaging, avoid churn, and expand accounts.”

Will the loss of 3rd-party cookies lead to a decrease in the quantity and quality of intent signals on the accounts you care about?

Nope. Demandbase will continue using our robust IP-based data and additional third-party signals. We are also enhancing our Account Identification technology and AI-based modeling to ensure high-quality intent data in a cookieless future.

3. B2B Advertising: promoting products or services targeting other businesses or organizations rather than individual consumers.

Demandbase will focus on IP data, contextual information, and other available signals, including identity resolution tech and first-party cookie aggregation. We are also exploring options within the Privacy Sandbox, such as the Protected Audiences API.

Is Demandbase ready for a cookieless world?


A resounding yes.

We are well prepared to continue to support our customers with industry-leading data volume and quality, account intelligence, and highly targeted B2B impressions across multiple channels.

We will continue to lead with our billions of classified IPs, identity resolution data, contextual targeting, and other exciting soon-to-be-announced (wait for it … ) capabilities.

We are switching from a cookie-based individual user view of the world to more of an account profile and context view of the world, and how does a given account react and perform and show intent when they’re researching a specific topic versus how is an individual as measured by a cookie, doing that research and showing intent.

Demandbase is ready. We’ve got you.

To learn more, watch our recent webcast on Winning Target Accounts in the Cookieless Era.

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Gareth Noonan

GM, Advertising, Demandbase

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