Top 5 Alternatives to Third-Party Cookies for Publishers

Top 5 Alternatives to Third-Party Cookies for Publishers

As a publisher, you need to start preparing for the inevitable demise of third-party cookies.

Apple and Firefox already block third-party cookies by default, and Google is set to phase them out entirely by 2024.

Without the ability to serve targeted ads, advertisers will have less incentive to pay top dollar, which will impact revenue for publishers.

That’s why it’s critical to understand the various alternatives to cookies.

Why Are Cookies Being Phased Out?

Third-party cookies have been on the decline in recent years due to increasing concerns over user privacy, as cookies allow advertiser to collect user data.

In response to this, many users and advocacy groups have been calling for more transparency and control over how their data is collected and used. As a result, there have been concerted measures to block or restrict the use of cookies.


The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is one such measure. Adopted by the European Union in 2018, GDPR sets strict requirements on how companies can collect, use, and share personal data.

For cookies, GDPR mandates that companies must obtain a user’s explicit consent before they can set cookies on the user’s device. This means that companies must provide clear and transparent information about how cookies are used, and they must obtain the user’s consent before setting cookies on the user’s device.

GDPR also gives users the right to access, rectify, erase, or restrict the processing of their personal data. This means that users can request that companies delete any cookies that have been set on their device, or they can opt out of tracking by advertisers.


The California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) is a data privacy law that was put into effect in California in 2018, mirroring the principles outlined in GDPR. Although it only pertains to companies operating within California that gather personal data from California residents, it has played a critical role in developing privacy laws in other states.

Several states, such as Connecticut, Colorado, Virginia, and Utah, have introduced comparable privacy regulations.

Alternatives to Third-Party Cookies

  1. Privacy Sandbox
  2. Increased First-Party Data
  3. Utilizing Second Party-Data
  4. Alternative IDs
  5. Contextual Targeting

Privacy Sandbox

The Privacy Sandbox is Google’s alternative to cookies. It’s a comprehensive framework of open standards and technologies designed to offer users more control over their data while still enabling customized advertising without compromising their privacy.

The Privacy Sandbox incorporates advanced features such as Publisher Provided Identifiers (PPID), which use encrypted identifiers to ensure user anonymity. Additionally, it utilizes Trust Tokens API that enable websites and apps to authenticate users without gathering their personal data.

The Privacy Sandbox is still in development stages, and it’s a safe bet that Google won’t phase out cookies until the development is complete.

Alternative IDs

Alternative IDs are unique identifiers that replicate the same information provided by cookies, but in a secure way.

Unlike third-party cookies, alternative IDs are assigned by the websites or apps themselves and not the advertisers. The type of alternative ID used may vary based on the context and the specific requirements of the publisher.

One of the most prominent alternative IDs available is ID5 ID, which is an encrypted first-party data ID that enables tracking user activity across multiple devices and platforms, based on user consent. Furthermore, it is compliant with GDPR and CCPA regulations, and can be easily reset or deleted at any time.

Contextual Targeting

Contextual targeting, implemented by companies like Outbrain and Taboola, focuses on the content of the page or app that the user is currently viewing. This approach considers factors such as keywords on a page and article topic to present relevant ads to users, improving the overall effectiveness of advertising.

Furthermore, contextual targeting helps to reduce the number of irrelevant ads that users may encounter, which can improve their experience while browsing.

Increased First-Party Data Solutions

When it comes to gathering information about users, nothing is more valuable than first-party data. This type of data is collected directly from the user themselves, making it the most accurate and trustworthy source of information.

One way to gather first-party data is through a login system. By allowing users to create an account and log in, you can collect and store information about them directly on your server. This information can then be used to personalize the user experience, including the content and ads that are shown to them.

Another effective method of collecting first-party data is through interactive content such as surveys or polls. By asking users about their interests, preferences, and demographics, you can build detailed user profiles that can be used to provide more personalized ads and content.

By utilizing first-party data, you can better understand your users and deliver a more tailored experience, all while maintaining their trust and privacy.

Utilizing Second-Party Data

In the world of data collection, second-party data is data collected by one source and shared with another source.

For instance, an e-commerce website might collect first-party data about their customers’ purchase history, which they could then share with a partner website or third-party advertiser as second-party data.

By sharing data in this way, publishers can expand their reach and access to larger, more diverse data sets than they would be able to collect on their own. This can ultimately lead to more effective and relevant advertising for their target audience.

However, it’s crucial to ensure that data is shared only with trusted partners and in compliance with all relevant privacy regulations to avoid any misuse of personal information.

Which Alternative Approach Works Best?

The best approach is using a combination of the various alternatives.

In addition, it’s always important to have your ear to the ground because the ad tech world is pouring a significant amount of resources into developing more alternatives to third-party cookies. And you don’t want to be left behind.

It always helps to partner with a Google Certified Publishing Partner (GCPP) like Adnimation, which lives and breathes technology and will ensure that you are using all the available cookie alternatives.

If you’re interested in learning more about cookie alternatives, or just want a free consultation, feel free to contact us today.



Book a Discovery Call!

Learn how Adnimation can help improve your long-term growth

Our vision is simple: for creators to thrive doing what they love. That’s why we’re dedicated to helping you achieve lasting growth through innovative ad management and personalized support, allowing you to focus on what you do best — create amazing content.


Read More

Get Started Today

What would you like to monetize?

Join the Hundreds of Creators Who Trust Adnimation

As an experienced company with seasoned monetization experts, we blend advanced technology with human professionalism.

How does that manifest in reality? It means that our experts review the data on a daily basis, speak with advertisers and exchanges, and make improvements for publishers like you.

With us, you can soon be selling the same ad space for higher prices.