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Third party data is no longer an option for marketers. This should not be news to any organization after the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation, a sweeping privacy law) was enacted in Europe many years ago, coupled with the growing concern with data privacy trumpeted by many Big Tech companies; but perhaps unsurprisingly, many brands are ill-prepared. “Don’t Look Up,” you were told by industry evangelists because there was no way these “draconian” measures would be fully enforced. You listened. You never looked up and now that third party cookies are disappearing, your world of digital advertising, which was already bereft of confidence from brands, has crashed.

What are third party cookies and what are they used for?

Advertisers and marketers use third party cookies to learn about a user. Third party cookies can tell you what websites people visit, what purchases they have made, what products they’ve shown an interest in. So for example, let’s say someone visits, searches for “mugs to keep my coffee hot,” then clicks on a link for a self-heating coffee mug that sells. That person doesn’t complete the purchase on, and decides to shop around a bit before committing. They navigate to, which can load the third party cookie that was created at, and use this information to market more effectively. already knows that the person is in the market for a self-heating coffee cup, so they are able to make a better decision on what products to spotlight so that the experience is personalized for someone shopping for that particular product.

Brands also often purchase third party data from aggregation services that can be matched up with the data they’re collecting — these aggregation services are impacted by the demise of third party cookies because they can’t access the same data they are accustomed to collecting, and will have to pivot to using unique identifiers or expressly consented data rather than browser cookies.

Why does losing access to third party data matter? How are brands dealing with the “cookie apocalypse”?

Many brands are in the midst of a pivot to using first party data instead (data they collect themselves as people navigate the website). In an attempt to extract maximum value from their first party dataset, they are realizing that the real reason they are so reliant on third party data was because their first party data had been poorly maintained for years and in many cases ignored altogether. Rather than going through the pain of auditing, fixing, and ensuring proper governance, they have been able to look away from this problem because there was a ready set of data that could be purchased instead. We now know (and many of us knew then) that this purchased data has little business value for the money spent — but, it was easy, or at least easier than maintaining a clean first party data set.

Why is first party data so difficult to manage?

If the process is as easy as auditing, fixing, and then a dab of magical governance, why was this approach not previously deployed? It’s the last piece…governance. Historically, ongoing governance at scale was the issue. All companies are able to diagnose and fix problems with the digital data. They can do this at any point in time. The problem is that after the fixes are in place, data quality issues continually crop up an in unpredictable manner across digital properties and until now, there have been no tools available to monitor at scale. This is why the three-phased approach to audit, fix, and govern was doomed from the start. It requires constant repetition, a Sisyphean attempt to deliver on the promise of the practice of digital analytics.

Historically, an audit of your web and mobile data every 6 months was enough. Today, more often than not, organizations leverage tag management platforms and agile processes to ensure that the changes to data and the underlying applications occur hundreds of times per year. Each of those changes carries with it the possibility of causing issues with data which compounds over time if left unfixed. Again, without real-time governance digital data devolves to entropy.

How Can Sentinel Insights Help?

Digital transformation relies on real-time technology to take full advantage of the promise of transformation — speed. Organizations are tasked with collecting petabytes of data, analyzing that data in real-time, and making decisions about how best to personally communicate to a prospect or customer.

Sentinel Insights provides the only real-time digital data quality platform that is deployed with your digital properties analyzing all marketing technology data. Our software detects and alerts you when we find anomalies in the data and when there are data elements being collected that do not follow each marketing technology’s best practices.


That is something that no one other technology can provide.

How Are We Different?

There are many technologies that are driving digital transformation: cutting edge data collection technologies, handling identity management, profile unification, and activation in real-time. In stark contrast, most tools that govern digital data quality still use web crawlers powered by Selenium scripts — the same technology that was popular over 15 years ago.

Sentinel Insights is:

  • The only digital data quality platform that leverages modern technology
  • The only one that can provide 100% validation coverage for all your visitors

We do not rely on simulated browsers mimicking a fake user journey. We will not fail when your website releases with new functionality. We do not need test accounts to validate post-authenticated sections of your website.

We provide the next generation in real-time digital data quality governance, ensuring your first party data can be managed like a first class citizen — a claim no other technology can make. Please reach out to us for a demo of the platform.