10 Best Alternatives to Third Party Cookies [2024]

Last updated: March 13, 2024 | by Aleesha Jacob

This post was most recently updated on March 13th, 2024

Google’s newly introduced feature, Tracking Protection, marks a significant shift in how third-party cookies operate. When activated, it restricts a site’s access to these cookies. In light of Google’s recent initiation to disable third-party cookies for a small percentage of Chrome users, third-party cookies are set to go away by the end of 2024. Google has been taking a gradual approach to this change, providing enough time for advertisers, publishers, and tech vendors to adapt to going cookieless. 

Learn about the best alternatives to third-party cookies that can help keep your website running smoothly. Whether you’re looking for more control over your data or want to meet rising consumer expectations and improve user experience, we’ve got the perfect solution for you. So read on and find out what are the best replacements for third party cookies!

What are the best alternatives to third-party cookies in 2024?

  1. Distributed ID Systems
  2. Google’s Privacy Sandbox
  3. First party data
  4. Publisher Provided Identifiers (PPIDs)
  5. Contextual advertising
  6. User Identity Graphs
  7. Private ID Matching
  8. Fingerprinting
  9. Zero Party Data
  10. PubGuru Header Bidding

1. Distributed ID Systems

Distributed ID Systems involve securely transmitting unique IDs of a user that aligns with their email address, hashed IDs, etc. They are also known as Identity Solutions. Then comes the more scalable probabilistic IDs that use browser data to produce a probability of the right match for user identification estimations. Probabilistic ID depends on the user’s IP address, user’s device, url, etc.

Behind the scenes, the user’s personal data is collected & shared with an ID provider during web sessions. To protect the user’s privacy, their personal information is encrypted or hashed by matching them with an existing ID or creating a new ID.

First-party cookies and permanent user identifiers like email, login id, etc are the core identifiers used to build universal IDs. IDs coming from email addresses are universal identifiers as it can be used across all channels & data management platforms. Third-party cookies and first-party cookies can only track users on the web, so identity solutions trump them with this benefit. ID solutions will become more popular over time once publishers start getting ahold of it.

To give publishers and advertisers enough information to identify users effectively, multiple ID solutions are necessary. Scale is therefore a limitation since it requires tonnes of publishers & media buyers to collect & share user data. Around 30% of publishers globally have implemented a  first-party ID solution.

Distributed ID systems are already generating results in Europe and its time for the US and other countries to incorporate this alternative before third party cookies fade away.

Pubguru Header Bidding utilizes the biggest ID systems in-market. Make sure you don’t miss out on this to access all ID solutions & start getting results.

2. Google’s Privacy Sandbox

Google’s Privacy Sandbox i.e a part of the Google Chrome cohort aims to replace & block third-party cookies with an API system via cohorts like:

FLEDGE: In-browser API that helps in retargeting known audiences.

TOPICS: In-browser API designed to find a broader user base.

These APIs can help you get metrics equivalent to third-party cookie data on conversions, ad targeting, remarketing, prevention of ad fraud and traffic bots, audience attribution, etc. After the flop of Google FLOC, TOPICS and FLEDGE are still being tested on web browsers to see if they can withstand the cookie apocalypse.


Google Fledge is a cookieless alternative for publishers and advertisers looking to retarget their audience. Fledge, which stands for First Locally Executed Decision Over Groups Experiment, mimics traditional digital advertising processes while removing any identifiers that could link people to their browsing history. This enhances privacy by targeting groups rather than individuals, with topics linked to users but providing fewer signals. The entire auction happens on the user’s browser, avoiding data storage by various firms and ensuring partial visibility to all parties. With Fledge, the match rate is higher than third-party cookies and 100% of the audience is addressable. This solution gives publishers an advantage against walled gardens and is a powerful tool for marketers. Although Fledge is still in the testing phase and is complex to implement, it maintains the status quo of ad tech without sacrificing privacy, offering a solution for publishers looking to enhance their ad targeting efforts.


Google’s Topics API is a tool for publishers and advertisers to target their audience. Although it was rejected by the W3C working group due to privacy concerns, Google believes that it will still be adopted by the industry. The API uses topics, rather than personal information, to target users and only authorized partners, with the publisher’s permission, will have access to the data linked to the Topics.

Related Readhttps://www.monetizemore.com/blog/helping-publishers-thrive-privacy-environment/

3. First-Party Data

The future for most of the third party cookies alternatives right now is hard to predict since they are still in testing mode and under development. This is why it is crucial for publishers to collect first party data in order to generate higher CPMs and session RPMs with hyper targeted ads. If you’re still lagging behind first party data strategies, it’s time to bring in value-packed content, newsletters, forums, and gated articles to generate more sign-ups & recurring engagement on your site.

Related Read: https://www.monetizemore.com/blog/new-ways-for-publishers-to-activate-first-party-data/

4. Publisher Provided IDs (PPIDs)

PPIDs are identifiers assigned by publishers to users allowing them broadcast user IDs to advertisers. In order to make the most out of PPIDs, publishers need to find ways on getting users to login and engage since each PPID is connected to a user that is logged in.

Since Q4 of 2021, Google’s new functionality enables publishers to share PPIDs with DSPs via Google Ad Manager. With this feature, publishers can deliver campaigns via programmatic guaranteed deals or reservations, build personalized audience segments, & boost their ad revenue through targeted advertising to the right users. Advertisers also benefit from the ability to deliver targeted marketing campaigns on customer data platforms within consumer privacy parameters.

Publishers have already witnessed an increase of at least 15% in ad revenue when they pass PPIDs in ad inventory sans extra identifiers.

5. Contextual Targeting

In contextual targeting, more relevant ads are served based on the webpage’s content, so it’s all about the keyword analysis here. It doesn’t rely on any cookies but utilizes the data shared by the publisher (information like timezone, device type, etc).

Contextual Advertising works best when the publisher has highly themed content that keeps bringing the users back because they are genuinely interested. This is why car blogs and gaming blogs have a loyal audience base as they focus only on one niche & target ads to gamers & car lovers.

Additionally, contextual advertising works as a solid backup when users don’t give tracking consent through a CMP or other registration strategies.

Contextual Advertising limitations;

  • Limited targeting options
  • Not effective enough on sites focused on multiple niches having broad audiences
  • Less accurate when it comes to identifying user demographics in general.

6. User Identity Graphs

Individuals can use this solution to combine Personal Identifiable Information (PII), such as email addresses, with non-PII, such as first-party cookies. User identity graphs come with robust features like cross-channel/ cross-platform targeting and tracking.

As of limitations, User identity graphs can be hard to design and deploy without compromising on user privacy concerns. When it comes to the security of user data, it is best to use a trusted vendor that specializes in this field.

7. Private ID Matching

Private ID Matching allows publishers and media buyers to match data while not losing control of the data at the same time. Data clean rooms serve as storage facilities for large amounts of user data ensuring user privacy is protected at all costs.

Both publishers & advertisers can upload or match first party data from their sides to get audience insights & activate targeted ads. Data pool entities need to be trusted, unbiased intermediaries that abide by privacy laws internationally and locally.

Data Clean Room Limitations:

  • Can’t work without scale
  • Requires thousands of entries in order to get a close match from a specific user.
  • User data sharing among groups of publishers & advertisers.

8. Fingerprints

With digital fingerprinting, users are identified by collecting their device information to create a unique “fingerprint”. They are classified into browser fingerprinting and device fingerprinting.

When a user navigates the web, browser fingerprinting collects information from the browser. Third-party apps installed on the users’ devices are used to gather device fingerprinting information. The fingerprinting process is usually handled by a third party, rather than by the website or app the user is interacting with.

The third-party fingerprint may be loaded onto many apps and websites so that the user can be tracked across a wide range of apps and websites. Information such as the user’s IP, OS, Browser, time zone, and plugins is recorded during digital fingerprinting.

Having the ability to collect data on the daily activities of the user is one of the major benefits of digital fingerprinting. The result gives advertisers precise information about a user’s interests and where they use their device.

The majority of browsers have announced they will limit websites’ ability to fingerprint users in the future. In the long run, browser fingerprinting will not be a sustainable solution for publishers as it revolves around tracking without user consent.

9. Zero Party Data

Unlike third-party data, zero-party data is intentionally shared by the user base. It doesn’t require tracking or observing user behavior to later target them.

So, what is counted as zero-party data? Customers voluntarily providing information through sign-ups for subscriptions, form filling, playing with site customizations, etc fall in this lot.

Zero party data is set to replace third party cookies since its less sneaky and more valuable than 3rd party or first party data since the source is 100% transparent & user consent is permitted by the customer themselves. Leveraging zero party data to customize content and ad campaigns is the best cookie alternative by far.

10. Pubguru Header Bidding

10 Best Alternatives to Third Party Cookies [2024] MonitizeMore

Publishers running pubguru header bidding, private marketplaces, and managed demand will not only have the benefit of TOPICS and FLEDGE audience segmentation or its successor, but all of the rest of the workarounds the advertising industry has been doing since 2020, including first party data identification protocols, fingerprinting, PPIDs, contextual targeting, and similar segmentation technologies.

What’s best is that while the above third party cookies come with limitations and are still under development, Pubguru allows you to automate everything and easily scale your bids to billions of requests per day.

So, what are you waiting for? Bypass the cookieapocalypse and get started with AI powered header bidding today.

Frequently Asked Questions

When will third party cookies disappear?

Third party cookie apocalypse already arrived in 2020 when Edge, Firefox and Safari started blocking third party cookies by default. However, it is set to disappear completely by 2024 and will be replaced by anonymous advertising segmentation.

What can I use instead of cookies?

If you are not planning to go for first party cookies after the death of third party cookies, its best to go for zero party data or Pubguru header bidding since they dont come with limitations like scale issues and user consent unlike other cookie alternatives.

How do you target users without cookies?

Without third party cookies, you can target users through AI based header bidding, Contextual Advertising, Google Analytics 4, and zero party data. For targeted advertising, focus on getting user consent before collecting their data.


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