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At the end of 2024 (or in early 2025), in a move that will reshape the face of digital advertising, Google will phase out third-party cookies in Chrome. Why? Because Google is remaining compliant with a growing body of global online privacy laws. 

Being prepared — and adaptable — for this change is critical to maintaining effective paid advertising strategies. Below, we’ve compiled a checklist of the top four things to prepare for with privacy regulations and third-party cookies depreciating.

Understanding the Basics of Third Party Cookie Deprecation

Third-party cookies are little programs that are installed on web users’ browsers so external sources can collect and use data, often to re-market products and services based on what folks have shown an interest in. On the other hand, first-party data is collected directly by a website, and so this data is owned and controlled by the website owner for marketing purposes. 

The industry is shifting towards this first-party approach to comply with data privacy laws and prioritize user consent.

Why It Matters

With third-party cookies going away, first-party data is more important than ever. First-party data is collected directly from your audience, providing more reliable insight on what website users are actually looking for while remaining compliant with privacy laws. However, third-party cookies are how advertising has been run for decades, so this is a bit of a shift in how we need to approach paid media. 

A few key points: 

Reduction in Targeting Capabilities: Previously available targeting tactics that used highly personalized ads will no longer be accessible.

Data Tracking and Attribution: The removal of third-party cookies results in a loss of data, creating a need to reconfigure our conversion tracking methods to maintain insight into campaign performance.

Increased Dependence on First-Party Data: First-party data is essential for creating accurate audience segments and for supplying AI algorithms with the most useful data to optimize performance.

Enhanced Privacy Restrictions & Laws: With changing privacy regulations, there is an increased likelihood that certain types of advertising content will be disapproved due to targeting methods that are no longer allowed.

Graphic in Logical Media Group colors of green, dark blue, and pink, in a checklist format

What We Need to Do

Paid Search

Set up Enhanced Conversions for the US

Enhanced conversions improve the accuracy of conversion measurement. They allow conversion tags to capture hashed customer data advertisers collect on their conversion page (e.g., email addresses) and then match that against Google users’ logged-in data. 

There are 3 ways to implement:  

  • Automatic: Eligible for select advertisers using gtag.js or Google Tag Manager
  • Manual, Tag-Based: For advertisers who want some customization in their implementation approach
  • API: For clients who prefer to send data from their server

Implement Consent Mode for the European Union and the UK

Consent mode adjusts how Google tags behave based on the consent status of users.

  • Basic Implementation: Google tags are blocked until consent is granted via the consent banner
  • Advanced Implementation: Google tags are loaded before the consent dialog appears; tags send cookieless pings when consent is declined. Add these scripts to your website through GTM or code.

Paid Social

Set up Conversion APIs

Conversion APIs — or “CAPI” — allow for direct communication between your marketing data and the social media platform, improving data accuracy and conversion tracking. 

There are 3 ways to set this up:

1.Partner Integrations (easiest way)

2. The Conversions API Gateway: A self-service setup option that enables you to set up the Conversions API (CAPI) via a Cloud Storage Service; data is then hosted on the client’s cloud and sent to social advertising channel

3. Manual Implementation: Directly integrate into the client’s web server with heavy coding usage provided by the social advertising channel

Google Analytics

Migrate UA to a Data Warehousing Platform: While Universal Analytics (UA) data will disappear on  July 1, 2024, keep in mind that Google Analytics 4 (GA4) only retains data for 14 months.  Rather than lose one of your most valuable resources — your data — it is essential to take action to “save your marketing map.”

To preserve your UA data as a source of truth, you will need a customer data platform (CDP) that includes visualization to analyze your information and gain marketing performance insight. Here at Logical Media Group, we use BigQuery, Airbyte, and Tableau to provide clients with their CDP. 

We can help when you are met with needing assistance with the setup. Ensure you fill out our form before June 21, 2024, to complete the migration on time.

Website Compliance

Implement a Cookie Consent Banner: A cookie banner is displayed on websites and apps during a user’s first visit. It provides information to users about the cookies used on the site, their rights with regard to the cookies, and requests their consent before any cookies are activated. An accurate consent banner, a clear cookie policy, and blocking cookies until consent is given are all required under the ePrivacy Law (Cookie Law) and GDPR.

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What This All Means For You

Adapting to the post-cookie era is extremely important for maintaining effective marketing strategies, in the paid media world, but also as a digital marketer. By focusing on first-party data, enhancing conversions, implementing conversion APIs, migrating analytics data, and guaranteeing website compliance, marketers can smoothly navigate this transition and continue to evolve in the evolving digital marketing landscape.