The cookie has been a core part of the internet’s advertising ecosystem since its invention in 1994, enabling companies to track users across websites. Cookies have long been flawed from an advertising perspective: two-thirds of the devices used to connect to the internet do not support cookies in the traditional manner, meaning brands using cookie-based identification lose sight of potential customers as soon as they switch to non-desktop devices, including smartphones, tablets and smart speakers.

Now, in the wake of data privacy regulation such as the General Data Protection Regulation and the California Consumer Privacy Act, web browser providers including Apple (Safari), Mozilla (Firefox) and – most recently – Google (Chrome) have announced they will stop supporting third-party cookies. This means advertisers and media owners must find new ways in which to identify and target online audiences, as well as capping frequency to ensure users are not repeatedly exposed to the same creative. 

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