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Third-party cookies are crumbling

The days of relying on third-party cookies to reach consumers are gone and have been replaced by first-party data trends and opportunities.

Delivering his keynote speech at PPW in Bangkok, Gil Sperling, co-Founder and CEO of data-driven adtech company, Flow, stressed the urgency for portals and marketplaces to get to grips with this shift and to capitalise on the massive revenue opportunities that it presents.

With Google’s announcement that it will phase out cookies in the third quarter of 2024, in response to increasingly strict regulations and growing concerns about data privacy, the era of third-party cookies is coming to an end. However, the necessity for user consent remains, and businesses are turning to first-party data as the solution for growth in a cookieless world. According to research by Deloitte, 61% of high-growth companies are already transitioning to a first-party data strategy, thereby accelerating marketplaces and portals to emerge as the new media giants.

For consumers, this heralds a new era of empowerment, offering heightened privacy, control, and more explicit consent. For marketers and media professionals, however, this seismic change demands a recalibration of strategies. “First-party data is the new oil of the digital landscape and has become the most valuable asset in a marketer’s arsenal,” Sperling said.

The value of directly acquired data cannot be overstated. “Marketers are pivoting to invest in new technologies, prioritise consumer trust, and leverage first-party data to navigate the evolving terrain of digital marketing.”

Marketing budgets are shifting toward first-party data strategies and that is where the opportunity lies.

Just look at retail giants, with thousands of brands on their shelves, who have been using their first-party data to target audiences off-site for years and have proved the value of the retail-media model. This paves the way for anyone with first-party data, such as portals and marketplaces, and/or their own insight on consumer behaviour to do the same.

“According to Retail Touchpoints’ research, every one of the top ten retailers in the US has a retail media network in place, while eMarketer reports that 58% of media decision-makers are already using retail media to inform their media strategies,” Sperling added.

“In 2024, retail media in the US could represent one in every five digital ad dollars, and according to AdExchange, global retail media revenue is forecast to grow 8.3% this year.”

Take Walmart for example, the well-known budget-friendly convenience store in the US that is now able to reach 150 million+ shoppers every week by utlising first-party data. Or Etsy, the online marketplace for crafts, fashion or any imaginable item for sale, that is able to connect off-site to users on Google, Facebook, Instagram, Bing and Pinterest, where user count is sizable and frequent, simply through targeted advertising.

“What this means is that anyone with first-party data can do the same, including portals and marketplaces,” said Sperling.

“Furthermore, portals and marketplaces can now unlock new revenue streams by leveraging their first-party data in two distinct ways. Firstly, they can enable their endemic clients, such as existing suppliers or agents, to utilise this data to effectively target their ideal audience on social media platforms. Secondly, they can package and sell segments of their first-party audience data to non-endemic clients, such as brands, thereby tapping into exponential revenue growth opportunities.”

“The time is now. Cookies have crumbled, and anyone with first-party data can unlock more revenue by being a data giant and creating their very own data ecosystem. Through data-powered adtech, Flow is enabling both of the revenue opportunities outlined above,” Sperling concluded.

For more on Flow, visit