Why the end of the 3rd party cookie may (almost) not matter to TraceParts advertisers

The rise and fall of cookies

It is now 25 years since Netscape introduced the HTTP cookie as a way to store user-related data in the web browser to ensure an optimized user experience.  

Within a period of 20 years, adtech providers developed the basis for user tracking and targeting on the basis of the possibilities created by cookies. To make a long story short: It was the HTTP cookie that provided the technical foundation for a cross-site online marketing ecosystem on the internet. 

However, nothing is as constant as change. Browser manufacturers are increasingly discovering data protection for themselves – thus indirectly also for their users – and in the course of this proactively block the use of 3rd party cookies, regardless of legal regulations. 

Not long ago, Mozilla created facts with Firefox version 69 after a one-year trial phase and blocked 3rd party cookies per se. With a market share of approx. 6.5 % in Europe, this is certainly not a big bang, but it is one of the first steps towards a web world without cookies.  

Safari under Mac OS X ushered in the era of the 3rd cookie ban a little over two years ago. With a current market share of about 20 % (Europe), the effects are already more noticeable.  

However, at the latest when Google’s Chrome, with its 65 % market share worldwide, throws the use of 3rd party cookies overboard in the current year 2022, they will no longer be available as a technical foundation for programmatic media buying, user tracking, targeting and user profiling. 

What are the alternatives? 

This inevitably leads to the question of how the recognition of an internet user is to be made possible in the future for the purpose of efficient playout of advertising content in the form of personalization, localization and performance measurement?  

A technical answer to this will certainly be advertising identities, whose goal is to create persistent and pseudonymous identities of internet users. The purpose of advertising identities is not to identify natural persons, but to adapt the advertising content precisely to the given profile identities and to have as little invasive or disturbing effect as possible.  

Until the creation of uniform AdTech standards with regard to advertising identities have reached market maturity, it is important for advertisers to look for already available alternatives to the discontinued 3rd party cookie – and as soon as possible. 

TraceParts and zero-party data – a strategy with foresight 

TraceParts, as a publisher that has been active in the B2B industry environment for decades, with its user profiling by means of zero-party data, which has been consistently implemented from the beginning, has already relied decades ago on a forward-looking form of collecting user data for later marketing and segmentation – entirely without the use of cookies. 

Brief explanation: zero-party data is information that a customer or user shares directly and proactively with a company.  

Thus, ad-addressable user profiles whose information is based on zero-party data are an alternative to cookie-based advertising technologies that is definitely worth considering, which should ease the pain of separation a little. 

The main advantages of zero-party data 

  • High data quality 
    TraceParts users use the CAD content platform in a professional environment and are therefore dependent on the correct entry of personal data to ensure smooth communication with parts suppliers at a later stage. 
  • Relevance 
    Since, in addition to personal data, behavior-related data, such as product data downloads, can be used in pseudonymized form to determine target groups, this results in a high degree of relevance through the preparation and playout of precisely tailored content. 
  • Data protection conformity
    Since the data collection and profiling is carried out solely by TraceParts – naturally in compliance with GDPR – there are no justiciable risks for advertisers. 

How and what zero-party data does TraceParts collect? 

TraceParts provides millions of engineers and designers with technical product information in the form of CAD data free of charge via its globally available CAD content platform.  

The immediate and centralized access to billions of freely available CAD data via the TraceParts platform provides designers and their companies with a significant time advantage and a shorter time-to-market, as it eliminates the need for tedious searches or even the time-consuming and often error-prone re-modelling of required industrial components for mechanical engineering. 

In order to gain access to this component library, which is equipped with over 1,500 manufacturer-certified component catalogues, all that is required is a free registration from the designers and developers. This registration, which is successfully completed over 30,000 times a month, is the source of the zero-party data generated via TraceParts, as it is proactively and intentionally shared with us. 

Specifically, the following data is collected via TraceParts registration: 

  • Email 
  • Company name 
  • Address 
  • Function 
  • Department 
  • Line of business 
  • Number of employees 
  • Fields of interest 
  • Opt-ins for TraceParts newsletters and standalone e-mailings from advertising partners  

How can I, as a marketer, take advantage of Zero Party data? 

In addition to the possibility of publishing a component catalogue for lead generation on TraceParts, and thus gaining full access to the data of engineers and designers, B2B marketers can make use of other proven online marketing tools.  

Email campaigns with TraceParts 

With over 15 years of experience in standalone email campaigns, TraceParts is one of the leaders in this B2B marketing channel – worldwide.  

TraceParts customers include small to medium-sized companies as well as corporate groups. On the industry side, they range from industrial component manufacturers, B2B advertising agencies, 3D printing and rapid prototyping providers, design software developers to hardware manufacturers. 

900,000 opt-in contacts + zero-party data = future-proofing and efficiency 

By linking the opt-ins of 900,000 engineers and designers, with their profile information available on a zero-party data basis, marketers and companies open up maximum exciting possibilities for customer targeting. Top target group definitions help to implement the campaigns with little wastage and thus efficiently and in a budget-friendly manner.  

Since all data is collected in compliance with the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the implementation of the e-mailings is also carried out in accordance with the currently valid industry standards, this form of customer approach also forms a supporting and future-proof pillar within a B2B marketing mix. Completely independent of technical crutches such as a cookie. 

Banner advertising on 

In addition to the direct and immediate approach to the TraceParts community via their e-mail inboxes, advertising banners on the CAD content platform represent a marketing channel with an equally wide reach and low wastage. 

Again, the possibility of pointed segmentation of the target group is what makes this medium so appealing. In addition to the usual possibilities of banner provision according to country, language, time of day, frequency cap, etc., the zero-party data obtained via the TraceParts user profiles can also be partially linked with the target group definitions of the individual banner campaigns. 

For example, banners can be displayed depending on the activity or interest areas of the platform visitors. It is also possible to provide banners based on real-time data. This makes it possible, for example, to address engineers and designers depending on the product groups they are currently visiting. 


Certainly – TraceParts’ zero-party data will of course not be able to compensate for the ban on 3rd-party cookies introduced by various browser manufacturers. We are not that presumptuous to think so. 

Nevertheless, TraceParts occupies an online marketing niche within its market segment that continues to offer marketers an almost unique opportunity to address B2B profile identities in the industrial construction environment with pinpoint accuracy – efficiently, with a high reach, low wastage and independent of cookies. Thus TraceParts is and remains one of the main players in the circle of B2B industry publishers. 

Of course, all industry players in digital advertising – including TraceParts – will continue to look at alternatives to a cookie-free future. Advertising identities, as already mentioned, will play the leading role here.  

Until the necessary new common standards are created in the ad tech ecosystem, we will continue to support B2B marketers with our decades of expertise, so that the end of the 3rd party cookie (almost) doesn’t matter to them. 

About the Author

Stefan Kolb
Stefan Kolb

Online Marketing Manager, TraceParts

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