Collecting Data in a Cookieless World: Strategies for Gathering Consumer Insights

Collecting Data in a Cookieless World: Strategies for Gathering Consumer Insights

By Sommer Burbank

The digital landscape has undergone a significant transformation in recent years, with privacy concerns and stricter regulations challenging the traditional methods of collecting consumer data for targeted advertising. As cookies gradually become less effective and face increasing restrictions, businesses must adapt and explore alternative strategies to gather valuable insights about their customers. In this blog post, we will delve into innovative approaches for collecting consumer data without relying on cookies, ensuring that marketers can still deliver personalized and relevant advertisements.

Leverage First-Party Data

One of the most effective methods of gathering consumer data without cookies is by tapping into first-party data. First-party data refers to information collected directly from users who have engaged with your website or application. Utilizing this data enables businesses to gain insights into user behavior, preferences, and demographics. Capturing first-party data can be achieved through user registration, newsletter subscriptions, loyalty programs, or surveys. By incentivizing users to provide this information voluntarily, you can build a comprehensive understanding of your audience while ensuring compliance with privacy regulations.

Implement User Account Systems

Implementing user account systems is a valuable strategy to collect consumer data while enhancing user experience. By encouraging visitors to create accounts, you can unlock opportunities to gather valuable information that users willingly provide during the registration process. This can include personal preferences, interests, location data, and purchase history. User accounts also allow customers to manage their preferences and control the information they share, which fosters transparency and builds trust.

Contextual Targeting

Contextual targeting is an effective alternative to cookie-based behavioral targeting. Instead of relying on past browsing history, contextual targeting focuses on the content and context of the webpage being viewed. By analyzing keywords, topics, and page context, businesses can deliver relevant advertisements to users based on the content they are currently engaging with. This approach respects user privacy while still delivering personalized ads based on real-time interests.

Collaborate with Trusted Partners

Partnering with trusted third-party data providers can be an effective way to gather valuable consumer insights without relying on cookies. These providers specialize in collecting and analyzing anonymized data from various sources, such as social media platforms, mobile applications, and other online channels. By working with reputable partners, you can access accurate and reliable consumer data that aligns with privacy regulations.

Optimize Social Media Advertising

Source: Brett Jordan

Social media platforms are an abundant source of consumer data that can be harnessed for targeted advertising. By utilizing the targeting capabilities provided by platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, businesses can reach specific audiences based on their demographic information, interests, and online behaviors. Social media platforms provide user-friendly interfaces for creating targeted ad campaigns, enabling businesses to effectively reach their desired audience without relying on cookies.

Embrace Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning

Leveraging the power of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) algorithms can enhance your ability to collect and analyze consumer data without relying on cookies. AI and ML can process vast amounts of data, identify patterns, and generate actionable insights. By analyzing user behavior, preferences, and interactions, these technologies can help businesses understand their audience better, predict user preferences, and deliver personalized ads based on real-time data.

Depending on brand goals and needs, AI technology can be applied to media planning, creative messaging and buying optimization, though the levers pulled for each of these use cases may vary. For media planning, AI lets us analyze a brand’s site visitation patterns and social media following before a campaign launches, allowing marketers to activate ‘pre-optimized’ media campaigns for faster learnings. With creative messaging, algorithmic AI can determine which combination of imagery and copy will be most effective for different audience segments. For buying optimization, AI allows brands to place efficiently-priced bids for each ad placement in the open market, and ensures they are served to the most highly qualified users and in brand-safe environments.

Without cookies, AI will become even more important to recognize patterns and audience trends, connecting the dots between individual consumers and their cross-channel online behavior. AI engines can stretch first-party data by activating it across channels and building lookalike audiences based on your best customers. In a post-cookie world, AI will allow brands to remain agile and data-driven, even with smaller budgets. Brands should make it a priority to understand the implications and capabilities of AI in their business sector, and be prepared to use these opportunities to increase marketing efficacy.


As the cookie-centric approach to collecting consumer data becomes less viable, businesses must adapt and explore alternative methods to ensure effective targeted advertising. By leveraging first-party data, implementing user account systems, employing contextual targeting, collaborating with trusted partners, optimizing social media advertising, and embracing AI and ML, businesses can collect valuable consumer insights while respecting privacy regulations. Adapting to these new strategies will allow marketers to maintain personalized and relevant advertising, fostering positive user experiences and ensuring long-term success in the evolving digital landscape.

The Drum
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