Cookie-based tracking has been the go-to method for third party systems to perform user tracking and targeted marketing.

With recent changes in regulation (GDPR) and the rise in volume of targeted marketing, there is an increased user demand for privacy protection and for control of the information that is stored and shared to third party systems.

Technology providers have raised to the occasion by adding features to their products that allow users to set and manage their preference in regards to third party tracking. A few examples are:

Apple’s Intelligent Tracking Prevention 2.0 initiative for Safari, where third party cookies are automatically blocked and first party cookies are only available for 24 hours after the user clicked on an ad, which means that unless a consumer converts within 24 hours of last visiting the advertiser’s website after clicking on an ad, the conversion attribution will be lost.

Firefox Advanced Tracking Protection feature which sets the Tracking Protection feature on by default.

Chrome has followed suit with its ‘Do not Track’ feature as well.

The first third party tracking system to respond to these changes was Google, as Ads would be the most impacted by users that block third party tracking and Safari’s users account for an average of 20 – 25% of browser users.

Although there is no statement from Google about the introduction of the Global Site Tag (gtag.js) as a response to Apple’s ITP initiatives, the timing does not look like a coincidence as having a global tag allows Google not only to centralize the tracking for all their platforms but also to introduce a different method of tracking that does not involve the user’s permissions settings on a browser.

So what is next for the Future of Cookies in Digital Marketing?

Our take is that cookie-based tracking is becoming less and less relevant as users expect to be in more control of their information and that Server-side-tracking is the answer for third-party tracking to be accurate and reliable. Server side tracking, although contains more limited user information than client side tracking, sends tracking information directly to the third-party’s web server while diminishing the reliance on cookies to collect such information for each event.

Our suggestion is that when you join an affiliate program, you double check what type of tracking method they use and specifically find out if they have server-side-tracking in place.

At sweet Conversions, we are able to help you ensure that your tracking is implemented correctly and to ensure that the affiliate programs that you join, use the appropriate technology to track your advertising activity.

If you wish to know more information, please contact us at sales @