Cookie-less Optimizations: Audience Studio Recommended Actions

The following article provides best practices for optimizing reach and addressability through browser, mobile, and API data capture and people-identifier configuration. Below are suggested actions to deliver immediate usage benefits and take steps towards the cookie-less future.

Changing Landscape for Identity and Identifiers

  • Third-party cookies are no longer viable in Safari and Firefox
  • Third-party cookies will be removed from Chrome by 2022
  • Focus will shift even more rapidly to 1st-party data
  • Authenticated users and 1st-party identifiers will be vital
  • Consumer trust will continue to be crucial for building 1st-party data assets
  • There may be some new ID keys to collect and match to your consumer data

Browser-based data collection and activation
Safari and Firefox have implemented restrictions on both first- and third-party cookies, with Google pledging to block Cross Domain Tracking via 3rd Party Cookies by 2022 on Chrome.

Apple has applied its Internet Tracking Protocol (ITP), which is currently enabled in Safari, to all browsers running on iOS 14+ devices. The protocol includes limitations on cross-site trackers and imposes a seven-day max duration on first-party cookies.

Please note the current market share of browsers worldwide:


Mobile data collection and activation
With the release of iOS 14, Apple also introduced an App Tracking Transparency Framework (ATT). The framework will be required for all apps running on iOS devices by early 2021, and prohibits collection of the device ID — obfuscating the IDFA with a DNT-equivalent string of “00000000-0000-0000-0000-000000000000” -- without the user having expressly consented to tracking.

Audience Studio preparation

  • Added support for new IDs
  • Reduced barriers for usage of 1st party cookies across the platform
  • Preparing for new browser APIs
  • Expanding partner integrations around 1st-party activation
  • Host client webinars to address specific questions and assist in the transition.
    • Download the most recent webinar, here

Recommended Client Actions


  • Implement site-managed first-party cookies
  • Collect hashed email addresses when applicable and send them into Audience Studio using SHA-256 encryption
  • Adopt multi-key strategy by onboarding relevant first-party IDs, configured as bridge-keys. For targetable IDs, designate them as addressable.
  • Collect MAIDs (AAID and IDFAs) when available. Send them into Audience Studio via SDK, HTTP API, or import file
  • Collect and enable OTT devices for activation

Implement Site-Managed First Party Cookies

You can configure the Audience Studio Control Tag to read a 1p cookie and use its value as a device identifier. Site-Managed 1p Cookies will yield significant gains in accuracy and activation due to the longer expiry times associated with cookies configured server-side. For Safari, site-served cookies will persist uncapped, while cookies set with JavaScript from a “tracker” domain (such as Salesforce) expire in 7 days. 3rd-party cookies are effectively blocked or removed without any viable opportunity for targeting.

** Note: Audience Studio offers a DMP-Managed 1st-party cookie solution for both Safari and Firefox; however, due to recent browser- and device-level changes, the resulting ID will only persist for a maximum of 7 days in select environments. Switching the configuration in Audience Studio to read a site-managed 1st-party cookie instead will extend the window significantly.

Recommended Actions:

  • Implement site-served 1st-party cookies in Audience Studio
  • If utilizing DMP-Managed cookies, we recommend switching over to site-managed 1st-party cookies whenever possible

Related Links:

Hashed email addresses (HEMs)

Hashed email addresses are a foundational component of identity and activation. HEMs can be used to enrich audiences for activation, including Salesforce Marketing Cloud (SFMC) and Google Ads, onboard data into Audience Studio, and as a declarative people identifier (uber id) for which to map associated devices.

Key Benefits:

  • The ability to import HEMs as KUIDs from offline data will result in greater match rates between Audience Studio and SFMC.
  • HEM ingestion is beneficial for activating data to Marketing Cloud, Google Ads, and other HEM-based activation platforms
  • When combined with Identity solutions, you may enrich HEM-based data with additional identifiers, such as cookies and MAIDs to support digital advertising use cases and extend your overall reach and identity graph.

Recommended Actions:

  • Collect hashed email addresses from users
  • Pass SHA256-hashed email values to Audience Studio via datalayer object, Marketing Cloud email studio, or HEM onboarding

Related Links:


Adopt or Augment Multi-key strategy

Hashed email, first party uid, hashed phone number and other persistent ids will continue to emerge as critical identifiers for advertisers and publishers operating in this new digital ecosystem. As such, it’s critical to implement and optimize a well-considered multi-key strategy.

Recommended Actions:

  • Onboard persistent first-party identifiers into Audience Studio and configure them as bridge-keys.
  • For targetable IDs, designate them as addressable.

Related Links:

Mobile Device Identifiers (MAIDs)

Mobile device IDs – IDFA (Apple) and AAID (Android) – are persistent identifiers at the device-level. MAIDs are more stable than browser cookies or session IDs, and are addressable in apps. When available for collection, mobile device IDs can be used to augment activation, expand reach, and enrich your cross-device initiatives.

Mobile identifiers can be collected in app using the Audience Studio SDK or mobile http API, or passed in via an import file.

** Note: Apple implemented its App Tracking Transparency Framework (ATT) on iOS 14. The framework will be a requirement of all iOS apps in early 2021 to collect the respective device ID, and necessitates garnering explicit consent for tracking. Without direct consent, the IDFA will not be available to Audience Studio.
Read more: iOS SDK update FAQ

Recommended Actions:

  • Send mobile device identifiers to Audience Studio in app via SDK or http API
  • Import MAIDs into Audience Studio via file upload

Related Links:


Over-the-top Device Identifiers (OTT)

Similar to mobile IDs, streaming media devices are outfitted with persistent identifiers. OTT device IDs can also be utilized to expand reach and activation, and enrich cross-device activities/approaches.

Audience Studio maintains a growing list of partners that support OTT and HEM activation, and is actively exploring ways to increase adoption across the channel.

Recommended Actions:

  • Pass device identifiers to Audience Studio via http API
  • Import OTT device IDs into Audience Studio via import

Related Links:

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