As we look ahead to 2021, the advertising industry's attention is turning once again to a world without cookie-based measurement and targeting. How should the industry adapt, and what trends will come to the fore? We asked some experts in data and advertising for their predictions.

The steady crumbling of the third-party cookie dominated advertising headlines throughout 2019 and the beginning of 2020.

While it was by no means the first time the future of third-party tracking cookies had been called into question, in 2019 the death knell seemed to sound louder and louder with every development: from the release of Apple’s Intelligent Tracking Prevention (ITP) 2.1 for Safari in March, to the stringent new guidance on consent published by the ICO in July, to the EU Court of Justice ruling in October that pre-checked consent boxes for the use of cookies were not valid – and finally in January 2020, the announcement from Google that Chrome would begin blocking third-party cookies by default in 2022.

Going into 2020, the ad industry seemed poised on the brink of a major reckoning regarding its practices, use of data, and methods of measurement and attribution. Surely this would be what dominated the conversation over the course of the year?

Of course, after Covid-19 became a pandemic, a lot of higher-level concerns were shelved in favour of focusing on pure survival. However, as we come to the end of 2020, with a little more certainty on the horizon thanks to prospective vaccines and the better part of a year spent adapting to the current circumstances, advertisers and marketers are once again turning their attention to the future and what a 'post-cookie' world will mean for the industry.

Econsultancy spoke to numerous experts in the fields of advertising and data to get their thoughts and predictions on what lies ahead in 2021. Here’s what they had to say about how the industry might adapt to a world without cookies.

And if you want to hear more on 2021 trends, join us on January 26th at 3pm GMT as Econsultancy founder Ashley Friedlein will reveal his digital and marketing trends for the year. Register here.

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