Digital Compliance | Online Marketing

Two essential solutions for the Cookieless Future in Online Marketing

As you’ve probably heard, and as we described in this blog, we can’t depend solely on cookies anymore for online marketing or advertising. Browsers, like Safari and Firefox, have started to block the capture of cookies for the protection of personal data. So now the question is, how can we still show ads to a relevant audience and track their conversions? Today we look at the Facebook Conversions API and Google FLEDGE as potential solutions for Cookieless Online Marketing. 


What is the Facebook Conversions API?

Meta has developed the new to share data directly from their server, rather than through a browser.

In the past, tracking users was primarily accomplished through the Facebook Pixel. This is a snippet of code programmed into your website. The problem is this will be increasingly blocked by browsers who block third-party cookies. The Conversions API instead directly connects marketing data from your server to Meta. This marketing data powers ad personalization, optimization and measurement on Meta which means that your ads can continue being displayed to people who are likely to convert, i.e fill out a form or complete a purchase, without the need for third-party cookies.

How does it work? The API assigns an unidentifiable number to each user that converts on your website, for example a hashed e-mail address. This information cannot associate with any individual user and therefore is not infringing on anybody’s privacy. The API collects conversion data for this identification number.

Sounds like a good privacy-confirm solution to send data to Facebook? Unfortunately, the Facebook Conversion API doesn’t mean you can remove the Pixel from your site. The Conversion API does not track site clicks, pageviews, scroll events or other engagement data. Facebook also needs the Pixel to fill in the gaps for other data points that are important to analyze and build user experiences.

Although the API is a solution to receive conversion data in the case where cookies are blocked, we certainly advise to keep the Pixel active and set up the API on top. We are here to help you with the set-up! 


What is Google FLEDGE?

FLEDGE stands for “First Locally-Executed Decision over Groups Experiment.

It makes ad auction decisions in the user’s browser, rather than at the Google Ad server level. The idea is to help protect user privacy by limiting the amount of personalized data flowing from ad systems to advertisers.

With FLEDGE, the user’s browser saves their interests in advertiser-defined interest groups. When a user visits an advertiser’s website, the website can ask the user’s browser to associate the user with a specific interest group. With their consent, the user’s browser can receive information about which ads which could be shown as relevant to the user. The big difference with today’s third-party cookies is that user information is not collected and shared to other advertisers.

In short: 

  • Browsers may hold users’ behavioral data and allocate them interest groups
  • Advertisers can use this information but cannot combine it with other data collected while delivering ads to the user
  • Ad networks may not store users’ interest data
  • The ad auction is run in the browser based on interest groups.

This means that FLEDGE could be a good solution to serve personalized ads to users, without having personal data collected and shared with a lot of companies. Having said that, there are still some issues that need to be sorted out with Google FLEDGE and therefore we advise you to look into your own server side tracking as a solution.