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Harnessing the earning power of affiliates as we close out an era of third-party cookies

Insights 17 April 2024
Hands opening fortune cookies

Digital advertising is big business. In 2022, digital advertising spend exceeded $628 billion globally and is predicted to eclipse $1.2 trillion (yes, trillion) by 2027*.

In this fast and furious digital ecosystem, brands of all shapes and sizes are constantly looking for new ways to seize the attention of consumers and earn a share of their spend.  

What’s the undisputed currency in this competitive landscape? Data. And over the past 10 years, the business and marketing world has heavily relied on the third-party cookie to inform the lion’s share of its data-driven strategies and models. 

For brands, third-party cookies allow companies to collect and share valuable customer data. For consumers, however, third-party cookies can cause controversy and erode their trust in a brand, with consent often buried in the small print or not requested at all. 

Big change is on the horizon 

In response to growing data privacy concerns – largely driven by tougher regulation, shifting customer expectations, and huge growth in personal data – web giants like Google and Apple plan to completely phase out third-party cookies.  

When’s this happening? The timescale remains uncertain, but Google announced last summer that Chrome will be phasing out cookies during the second half of 2024. Despite the fluctuating timelines, the third-party cookie will be crumbling, sooner rather than later.  

What are first- and third-party cookies? 

Cookies are small pieces of data created by and stored on a website, domain, or server when someone browses a webpage. The two most common forms are first-party and third-party data (although zero- and second-party data also exists). 

  1. 1. First-party cookies… represent consented information collected directly from customers and prospects, with data owned exclusively by the company. Typically collected through a brand’s website or social media channels, first-party cookies are most often used to: 

  • - Collect analytics data  

  • - Remember a user’s language settings  

  • - Perform other functions, like recalling items added to shopping baskets 

  • - Enhance website performance 

 
First-party cookies don’t track users, and can only be read by the website that places them. In affiliate marketing, first-party is the primary cookie of choice, meaning the industry is unlikely to be affected by the pending depreciation of third-party data.  

  1. 2. Third-party cookies… are created by websites and domains other than the one you’re visiting, with data often sold, shared, and used to create personalized advertising. They’re also commonly used for:  

  • - Cross-site tracking  

  • - Retargeting  

  • - Delivering ads 
     

Unlike first-party data, third-party cookies are often used for profiling customers and tracking their online movements.  

No third-party cookies. No problem 

Although third-party cookies will soon be defunct, it’s important to remember this doesn’t spell the end of: 

  1. 1. Browser cookies in general 

  1. 2. Web-based affiliates or performance marketing 

  1. 3. User tracking on the web 

  2.  

In fact, many loyalty propositions use merchant-funded rewards programs to increase consumer engagement and boost earnings. One popular mechanic is the affiliate model, where consumer interaction is measured using permission based first-party cookies.  

The good news is this model isn’t changing, so consumers can continue to earn online with their favorite brands, including British Airways E-Store, Emirates Skywards Mileage Mall, and the Flying Blue program

Making the most of an evolving affiliate market 

The majority of Valuedynamx-powered programs exclusively use first-party cookies. This helps brands harness the power of reliable, consented customer data to deliver truly personalized experiences that people love. 

Users can choose to earn rewards by purchasing through our network of advertisers. The result is an equitable environment that delivers measurable success, maximizes value for consumers, merchants, and programs, while also delivering against the highest standards of transparency, privacy, and regulation. 

Valuedynamx strongly believes how cookies are utilized in the future represents a golden opportunity to reshape the market for the benefit of both brands and customers. After all, what better way to deliver authentic and relevant experiences, than with data that customers have willingly shared? 

Transparency and ownership are key in today’s data-driven world, and customer consent will always sit at the heart of everything we do. 

The emergence of the converged model 

Valuedynamx predicts the market will soon evolve into a converged performance-based model. This fusion of Affiliates (Browser Linked Offers) and Card Linked Offers (CLOs) will greatly expand earning opportunities and ROI through relevant customer experiences, meaning...

  • - Consumers get rewarded for spending, regardless of how and where they shop 

  • - Merchants reach more customers and drive higher ROAS (return on ad spend) 

  • - Programs enjoy increased customer engagement and revenue 


  • To drive incremental sales, Valuedynamx offers: 

    Browser-linked tracking and earning  

  • Affiliate based online or in-app: Valuedynamx tracks and controls the performance of every partner, driving incremental sales based on bespoke KPIs.  

    Card Linked-based tracking and earning  
    Linked cards online or in-store: Collecting and interpreting more card data than ever helps develop a deeper understanding of program performance and customer behavior, unlocking limitless opportunities for better personalization.  

    Standing out from the competition 

    Customer satisfaction and the loyalty it generates is more important than ever. Valuedynamx programs provide customers with personalized experiences and targeted offers that enrich their lives, helping your brand rise above your competitors.  

    Working with Valuedynamx means benefitting from: 

  • - Access to over 7000 merchants worldwide, funding attractive offers 

  • - Browser-linked and card-linked mechanics unified in a single user interface (UI) 

  • - A network of recommenders, providing the opportunity for more relevant offers and increased engagement  

  • - A commitment to maximizing value for stakeholders, meaning customers, merchants, and program partners all win 

  •  

  • Which is better, Browser or Card Linked Offers? 

    With their subtle differences and specific benefits, many brands may question which approach is best, Browser or Card Linked Offers. Our answer, why not both? 

    Used creatively, both Browser and Card Linked Offers can provide your brand with the best of both worlds, meaning customers benefit from reliable and relevant rewards programs in-store and online across your entire loyalty portfolio. 

    With Valuedynamx, you can seamlessly combine both approaches to increase engagement and maximize the effectiveness of your loyalty program, helping your brand thrive in the future. 

    Sources: 
    * BCC Research, April 2023