Marketing in a Cookie-less Future

Automotive internet marketing is changing. Third-party cookies—data used to display personalized ads and track internet users between websites—are going away for good. Advertisers will no longer be able to track and target shoppers the way they always have. They will have to rely on their own first-party data to deliver the personalized shopping experiences customers expect. So, what does that mean for your dealership?  

Data and Marketing Basics  

The more you know about your customers, the better you can serve them. If you know that a particular customer keeps looking at a particular vehicle online, you can take action to advertise specific makes and models to that customer. You may also be able to identify that customer’s current vehicle, price range for a new vehicle, propensity to buy, and more. All this data makes automotive digital marketing more effective. But as third-party cookies go away, you’ll know less about your customers, and your advertising has the potential to be less personalized and less effective.  

The Importance of First-Party Data 

If your dealership doesn’t have a way to track consumers outside of third-party cookies, your advertising audience is about to get smaller. Dealerships that have access to first-party data have a better chance of coming out on top in this new landscape. But what is first-party data exactly? First-party data—data that you have the right to collect and access—includes the following:  

  • – Data stored under your website
  • – Data stored in your CRM  
  • – Data stored in your DMS  
  • – Tier one data, including some OEM data  

Your Dealership’s Auto Advertising Plan  

Your dealership can approach auto advertising and take advantage of first-party data in one of three ways. You can: 1) manually provide advertisers with your first-party data, 2) purchase first-party data to create audiences, or 3) partner with an advertising provider that already has access to large amounts of first-party data.  

  • Manually Provide Data: This approach involves providing transaction records from your DMS, for example, to your automotive advertising agency to create specific audiences. You may also be able to provide this data to cable television companies to show ads tailored to your audience. 
  • Purchase First-Party Data: The approach involves purchasing consumer data from companies that aggregate different pools of first-party data so dealerships can target and personalize auto advertising.  
  • Partner with an Advertiser with Access to First-Party Data: If an advertiser is already part of an ecosystem of companies that collect data about consumers, your dealership automatically has access to more first-party data and can advertise more effectively to a wider audience. 

Advertising with   

When your dealership advertises with, you get access to exclusive first-party Cox Automotive data throughout the entire buyer’s journey. That includes first-party signals from three out of every four car shoppers. That is the biggest basket of first-party data available to dealerships today. This data allows you to track customers and households based on their browsing data from Kelley Blue Book, Autotrader, and websites to create targetable profiles that make your dealership’s advertising more effective. 

As third-party cookies go away, it’s time to meet with your advertising team to reevaluate your advertising approach. Whether leveraging your DMS and CRM data, purchasing data, or partnering with to leverage the largest pool of first-party data in the industry, create an action plan now that can help you personalize your customers’ experience and keep them coming to your dealership. 

To learn more about the importance of first-party data and how your dealership can gain an advertising advantage in the coming months, watch our detailed video all about marketing in the cookie-less future.