Why You Need to Worry About the End of Third-Party Cookies

What the “cookiepocalypse” means for creators 🍪

Nita Jain
6 min readJun 30, 2022
Image created by author

If you’re an online content creator, solopreneur, or business owner, the planned phasing out of third-party cookies by Google and other tech giants by 2023 (sometimes referred to as the “cookiepocalypse”) will require some adjustments in marketing strategy.

What Are Third-Party Cookies? 🍪

Cookies first came onto the scene in 1994 and have played a crucial role in digital marketing ever since.

First-party cookies are pieces of code that have a home base; they’re used to enhance user experience on a particular website by remembering site-specific user preferences. These cookies don’t follow you across the web.

Third party-cookies, on the other hand, are used to track your activity as you navigate from one site to the next.

Third-party cookies are the reason you receive weirdly specific targeted ads for products and services you recently searched for.

For advertisers, third-party cookies are a boon, as they allow businesses to target specific demographics for the purpose of pushing products.

Want to sell baby formula to a group of expectant parents? Thanks to third-party cookies, you can aim your ads with ease.

But this kind of solicitation undeniably prompts concerns about privacy, and the lines between advertising and user privacy have grown increasingly blurred.

Nearly 86% of Americans cite data privacy as a growing concern, and 68% are concerned about how much data businesses collect.

A couple years ago, Mozilla’s Firefox and Apple’s Safari browsers disabled third-party tracking.

But Google’s decision to follow suit with its Chrome browser has been met with much more trepidation since Chrome holds 65% of the global browser market share!

How Third-Party Cookies Benefit Online Creators

The power of third-party cookies lies in their ability to create highly specialized ads in order to help you reach your target audience.

Consider a few real-world examples, some of which may apply to you:

  • If you’re an author, third-party cookies help you reach people who are interested in books similar to the ones you’ve published
  • If you’re a blogger, third-party cookies drive more traffic to your posts, resulting in more ad revenue
  • If you’re a coach or consultant, third-party cookies help create ads promoting your services to prospective clients
  • If you’re a freelancer, third-party cookies allow you to target business owners who require your unique skill set
  • If you’re a musician, third-party cookies help distribute your tracks to listeners with relevant artist and genre preferences
  • If you’re a YouTuber, third-party cookies enable you to get more eyeballs on your videos, increasing your revenue per mille (RPM)

How to Adjust Your Digital Marketing Strategy

The consequences of the cookiepocalypse mean that creators will have to adapt and get a little creative with their digital marketing strategies. The following tips can help you get a head start.

Image created by author in Canva

Add tracking pixels to your site

Tracking pixels are snippets of code that collect user data in a privacy-centric way when someone visits your website.

You can leverage this data to build customized audience communities and create content that specifically addresses what users want.

The following popular pixel tags can help you get started:

Build your email list

Maintaining an email list is the ideal way to collect first-party data and establish a direct relationship with your audience.

Success on social media depends on ever-changing algorithms, but an email list allows you direct access to your biggest supporters.

Create attractive landing pages and opt-in forms using Carrd or ConvertKit to help encourage people to sign up for your list.

Craft your message carefully

Values associated with mom-and-pop businesses stand to take center stage. Creators known for originality, innovation, and community will gain more popularity.

The attention-grabbing characteristics of viral clickbait content will likely give way to more authentic, creative, nuanced storytelling.

Gather survey data and grow your community

Conduct surveys to get to know your audience better. You can ask questions about demographics like age or geographic location, interests and hobbies, or anything else that is pertinent to your brand.

Ask and you shall receive.

Finding out more about your audience can help you prepare for the launch of Google’s Topics, a proposed replacement for third-party cookies that groups people into cohorts based on interests.

Advertisers will be able to use these interests to target groups of people rather than specific individuals.

Set up your own private Facebook group, Discord server, Slack channel, or Circle community to engage with your audience, fuel growth, foster connections, and help funnel members to your other platforms.

Photo by geralt on Pixabay

Optimize SEO with topic clusters

A topic cluster is a group of multiple pieces of content created around a shared topic “pillar” and connected through hyperlinks.

  • The pillar content page consists of a broad overview, comprehensive guide, or deep dive on a particular topic.
  • A pillar page links out to more specialized cluster content pages that answer a particular question or address a specific concern.
  • Hyperlinks between the pillar and cluster content pages signal to search engines that the pillar page is the most important of the group.
Image created by author in Canva

A well-constructed topic cluster provides numerous benefits, including:

  • More organized content: Pillar pages neatly organize your blog around cluster content categories for improved accessibility and navigation
  • Optimizing content production speed: Once you’ve done the bulk of the work creating a pillar page, fleshing out cluster pages will be a more seamless task since you can refer to the same body of research
  • Keeping your audience on your site longer: Having more content increases user retention time, allowing you to collect more data from tracking pixels
  • Improving your SEO and increasing your blog’s domain authority: Creating clustered content around a specific topic can result in ownership of multiple search engine results page (SERP) positions for a single keyword

Higher search engine rankings will attract more visitors, who will stick around longer due to the abundance of content, driving more traffic and conversions in a positive feedback loop.

You can check your website’s domain authority using Moz or Ahrefs.

According to SEO expert Thakur Rahul Singh, what constitutes a good domain authority score depends on your particular niche, but you can use these general cutoffs to get an idea about where you stand:

  • 1–10 (very low)
  • 11–30 (low)
  • 31–40 (low-medium)
  • 41–50 (medium)
  • 51–60 (medium-high)
  • 60–70 (high)
  • 70+ (very high)

If Google search engine competitor Yep, founded by Dmytro Gerasymenko of SEO software suite Ahrefs, succeeds in its mission to distribute 90% of ad revenue to content creators, quality content will be primed to reap the benefits!

Looking Ahead

While it’s hard to predict with 100% accuracy what the internet will look like after the end of third-party cookies, remember that you can always pivot as needed and figure out which strategies work best for your unique business model.

The opportunity to redraft your digital marketing strategy might even improve your relationship with your audience and make your enterprise more resilient.

May the odds be ever in your favor!



Nita Jain

I share health and science insights to improve your quality of life | nitajain.substack.com