Your Marketing Plans Can Still Survive Without Cookies


June 23, 2022

Google will begin Stage 1 of the Privacy Sandbox initiative in late-2022. This initiative is part of Chrome’s plan to phase out support for third-party cookies, which can begin raising red flags for any association who may be using programmatic efforts as part of their marketing plan.

“We believe the web community needs to come together to develop a set of open standards to fundamentally enhance privacy on the web, giving people more transparency and greater control over how their data is used,” Vinay Goel, Privacy Sandbox Product Director said.

The common misconception of this initiative is that it will be the death of cookies, but in reality, it’s already been occurring and phased out of other platforms. In fact, Apple’s Safari and Mozilla’s Firefox have already ditched third-party cookie tracking when they tightened privacy laws a couple years ago.

These tightened privacy laws and the MPP initiative have caused digital advertising rates to jump the highest since 2006. More specifically, “digital advertising soared 35% to $189 billion in 2021,” IAB stated.

That raises a question: With the influx of ad pricing and capabilities diminishing, how do associations stay competitive and still get targeted in their marketing plans?

Answer: By combining zero-party data with first-party data.

With this approach associations will have invaluable insights into their members and non-members and be able to focus on niche audiences to get targeted messages across.

So, what are these data types?

  • Zero-party data: Any data collection from a user who intentionally and proactively shares with an organization. As an example, think about your grocery runs and putting in your phone number during check out. It’s habit because you know it will save money, but it’s also an example of zero-party data because you intentionally shared your phone number with the grocery store.
  • First-party data: Any data collected from a user that an organization owns including demographics, purchase history, website activity, email engagement, etc. If your association sells books and continuing education, you’ll have first-party data when a member makes a purchase, and you learn what interests them to grow within the industry.

Your first-party data will perfect your ad targeting and your zero-party data will sculpt the ads through content, creative and messaging. Ultimately, you can create a one-to-one content experience for your members.

With this collection of data, you’ll be able to group it in the following ways:

  • Demographic/geographic: describing members with where they’re located, age, job titles, education, gender, etc.
  • Psychographic data: what your members are thinking, opinions, interests, values, etc.
  • Behavioral data: what are your members engaging with online, in your newsletter, or in your store?
  • Contextual data: when your members are doing an action, what’s around them?

Combining all your data types is crucial for understanding your current and prospective members. Without the groupings working together, you’re not able to get a full picture who those individuals are. This way, you’ll be able to target your audience effectively. For example, you can combine the behavioral data with contextual data to learn members’ buying habits and their journeys through online portals, websites, etc. It will show you the context of why they were looking or reading to make those purchases.

Associations typically have a well-defined audience, but with this information can become even more detailed with personas built through data and allow associations to break through the third-party cookie phase out. Now, it’s time to put it to good use.

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