The impending deprecation of the third-party cookie is set to significantly impact the performance marketing industry–including partnership marketing. The IAB UK Affiliate and Partnerships Buyers Survey discovered that more than half of surveyed marketers are relying on third-party cookies as the primary mechanism for tracking with another 21% of affiliate and partnership marketers unsure of their tracking method. As a result, much of the industry is at an extreme risk for inconsistent, inaccurate tracking as a result of ongoing browser changes if upgrading to a future-proofed solution isn’t prioritized.
Let us help you better understand the changes by first breaking down what cookies are, how the changes impact partnership channel tracking, and what marketers can do to prioritize implementing future-proofed channel tracking.
What is a cookie?
For additional context, web cookies store information across browser sessions. There are two types of browser cookies:
- First-party cookies are stored by the website’s owner and are usually used to remember user settings and improve user experience.
- Third-party cookies are created by other websites and are used for targeting, retargeting, and ad-serving.
Understanding the purpose and benefits of each cookie type enables brands and partners to fully comprehend how ongoing browser updates will affect their performance marketing tracking going forward.
What changes have browsers implemented that impact partnership channel tracking?
Browsers like Firefox and Safari have implemented Total Cookie Protection, which limits cookies to first-party and blocks third-party. Google Chrome currently accepts first and third-party cookies, but plans to deprecate the latter sometime in 2024. Accurately tracking user activity is important to attribute sales to the affiliate channel. It is a transparent way to track digital behavior, unlike other channels such as TV and print.
Why must marketers prioritize implementation of a future-proofed tracking solution?
Smart marketers rely on data to guide their decisioning and garnering accurate data is impossible with legacy tracking solutions that rely on third-party cookies. And without accurate data, it’s impossible to optimize effectively for many reasons including:
- Accurate attribution of transactions. Marketers need accurate attribution of conversions in the partnership channel (or any channel) to gain a clear, truthful picture of channel performance in order to build strategy, allocate spend and create operating leverage.
- Equitable partner rewards. Inconsistent tracking makes appropriately rewarding partners for the value they provided impossible. For brands relying on third-party cookies for performance tracking, ongoing browser changes create risk that inhibit partners from getting paid for their contribution to outcomes.
- Precise data. Inaccurate partnership channel data won’t paint a true picture of performance results. Instead, reporting may portray a decline in revenue, which inaccurately devalues the channel as part of your digital mix.
How can marketers protect their partnership channel tracking from third-party cookie deprecation?
To ensure that reporting is accurate, and partners are equitably rewarded, brands must implement future-proofed tracking infrastructure–solutions made easily accessible by Partnerize. Learn more about Partnerize’s tracking solutions that protect your partner program from ongoing browser updates on our hub, Preparing for a Cookie-less Future.