January 28, 2022

Why the end of 3rd Party Cookies Makes Affiliate Marketing even more Valuable

Third-party cookies are dead.

Ok, to be fair, its more like they’re in the ICU with a terminal diagnosis, but the point is that in 2023, Google Chrome will join Safari and Firefox and end all support for them, which will effectively mark the end of a critical tool that advertisers have relied on for decades.

But maybe that’s not such a bad thing.

In an interview with, Anthony Capano, Managing Director, North America at Rakuten Advertising says that third-party cookies are ending because they exploited and abused the customers they were meant to reach.

“We’re losing access to third-party cookies because we used them irresponsibly. Instead of leveraging third-party cookies to create authentic, personalized advertising that enhances the consumer experience, we leaned into aggressive tactics that left them feeling like advertising is too annoying and intrusive.”

While the end of this type of invasive data collection represents a seismic shift for advertisers, it puts brands with strong affiliate marketing campaigns in a power position because all browsers will continue to support first-party cookies, which is information that you voluntarily give to a website.

Because affiliate marketing is built on this “opt-in” model, advertisers can use their affiliate networks to push traffic directly to their websites, where they’re free to collect and store customer data without making them feel like they’re being tracked or spied on.

In addition to data collection, affiliate marketing offers another distinct advantage for advertisers, and that’s the ability to create a more authentic buying experience.

We’ve all had the experience of searching for something like “boots” once and then spending the next few weeks having ads for boots chase us around to every website we visit, regardless of whether it has anything to do with footwear or not.

This is exactly the kind of mindless and aggressive tracking that turned off consumers and destroyed 3rd-party cookies in the first place.

On the other hand, affiliate marketing creates advertising that is complementary to the consumer’s online experience, rather than being invasive and out of place. Instead of chasing them with something they don’t really want, an affiliate helps them find something that they’re already looking for.

A customer who’s reading a fashion influencer’s boot review is already in a buying mindset, and the link that the influencer provides to your product will be seen as adding value, rather than a violation of their privacy.

In the same interview, Capano adds, “With the rise of privacy regulations over the past few years, consumers have demanded more control over their advertising experiences, with many opting out of the tracking that enables targeted advertising. But data shows that consumers actively seek out deals, influencer recommendations and even ads when they add value to their shopping experience.”

The end of 3rd-party cookies represents a massive change in how advertisers are able to connect with consumers, but it also represents something else: an opportunity.

Brands that are able to successfully adapt to collecting first-party data and creating authentic buying experiences will still be able to thrive, and those that can’t…well, the dinosaurs used to be a big deal too.


Are you getting started in affiliate marketing or looking to improve your current program?

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