Following the data crumbs in a cookieless world

With the start of 2024, we are moving toward a world without third-party cookies to track consumer behavior across the internet. Throughout the year, Google, the largest search engine and web browser, will phase out third-party cookies, starting with 1% of its users this quarter and building to 100% by the end of the third quarter. With this change, Google will join the ranks of other web browsers, such as Firefox, Safari and Edge, creating a cookieless future. 

While cookies have been widely used for audience targeting and media attribution, many industry analysts believe this change could lead to more nuanced targeting with better outcomes, you just need a plan for following the digital crumbs that provide the right morsels of data.

The ingredients for baking up the right target audience

Analysts have suggested a simple recipe for overcoming the cookieless future:1, 2

  • Step 1: Gather your first-party data - For the life sciences industry, first-party or enterprise or proprietary data includes patients who participated in clinical trials, are enrolled in your patient support programs, or provide their information by filling out forms on your website for additional information and resources.

  • Step 2: Combine with second and third-party data - To add context and reach beyond your current audience, you need to combine second and third-party data from partners. Second-party data is the proprietary data of a partner company, such as a specialty pharmacy who can share data on patients filling prescriptions for your product. Third-party data can represent a variety of data sources from a vendor. As an example, pharmaceutical companies can incorporate real-world healthcare data from a third-party to determine if consumers actually have the condition they’re targeting, if there are any comorbidities, specific genetic biomarkers, what treatments they have been taking or other insights.

    With the nation’s largest healthcare and consumer data ecosystem, HealthVerity offers a delectable array of open and closed medical and pharmacy claims, lab results, electronic medical records, hospital chargemaster, and social determinants of health data (providing insights on demographics, consumer behavior, online activity, socio-economic profiles, lifestyle and digital media preferences), all in a fully interoperable, HIPAA-compliant and normalized format.  

  • Step 3: Mix it all together until you reach a lookalike audience - To appropriately combine these ingredients and achieve your desired results, you need the right tools. HealthVerity Audience Manager empowers data scientists with a self-directed analytics environment where you can synchronize your first, second and third-party data, from HealthVerity or other partners, in a HIPAA-compliant manner. Audience Manager provides the ability to perform analytics, run algorithms, leverage machine learning capabilities and create hundreds of decision trees in minutes until you reach the desired target audience.

This recipe can help you gain a deeper understanding of patient behavior and more precisely target optimal audience segments than cookies of the past.       

Can you know who took the bite without cookies?

Third-party cookies also helped with media attribution, showing you not just how many people clicked on a link or viewed an ad, but who it was that took the bite and was actually engaged. This helps you know if your advertising investment is reaching the right target audience and optimize your campaign. 

For the life sciences industry, the real insight is in determining the impact on a patient’s behavior: Did they go to the doctor, did the patient actually fill the prescription, etc. Even with cookies, this had been a challenge with HIPAA privacy laws, but HealthVerity Media Measurement went beyond clicks and views, synchronizing the digital ad data provided by cookies with our vast data ecosystem in a privacy-protected manner for a comprehensive, HIPAA-compliant view of the patient journey. But how will you continue to get these insightful treats without cookies?

Since its inception, the Media Measurement solution has worked with activation platform partners who deliver log-level exposure data in a privacy-protected manner that allows HealthVerity Identity Manager, the industry’s most accurate patient matching and identity resolution technology, to synchronize digital media ad data with individual patient journeys. We will continue this approach, with the flexibility to integrate with multiple partners who have developed solutions to provide data inline with what cookies offered.   

With our transformational technologies and the nation’s largest healthcare and consumer data ecosystem, HealthVerity has the solutions to help you follow the data crumbs in a cookieless world so you can ensure you’re targeting the right audience at the right time.

Discover how you can follow the data crumbs in a cookieless world:

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1Dun & Bradstreet. How Companies Can Thrive in a Cookieless Future.

2Ahuja, Kabir; Bauer, Thomas; Meder, Caroline; and Gediehn, Oliver. McKinsey & Company. As the cookie crumbles, three strategies for advertisers to thrive.

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