User Identity in a post-cookie world

How IAB UK is preparing for a cookie-less future and working with our members to develop solutions on user identity



Digital advertising has been built on the ability to track individuals between sites in order to measure performance better, target more effectively and understand users more deeply. But in January 2020, following similar moves by Mozilla’s Firefox and Apple’s Safari, Google announced it would phase out the use of third-party cookies in its Chrome browser by 2022. IAB UK is involved with - and leading - a number of different workstreams to work towards a solution. 


Collaboration towards a solution

We welcome this unique opportunity to find a new solution for establishing user identity online, in respect to advertising, and believe that collaboration will be critical - no single country or organisation will be able to deliver a solution alone. Read from our Head of Adtech, Tina Lakhani, how we’re approaching this critical area.

Contextual Targeting

The Power of Contextual Targeting

Created with IAB UK members to drive a privacy-focused marketing strategy in a cookieless world, this guide covers the advantages of contextual targeting, new developments and recommended best practices.

Our key principles for finding a solution

While we don’t claim to have the solution, IAB UK does have clear principles that we will use as our basis for developing solutions with our members. Ultimately, we want to build a sustainable future for digital advertising and any solution must align with that vision. Crucially, we believe that a sustainable, ad funded internet is one that:

  • Is transparent on what data is being collected,  how it is being used, and by whom

  • Gives the user control of their data and prioritises privacy

  • Respects the consumer experience and does not support intrusive, annoying ads or excessive frequency

  • Allows for relevant ads to be shown to the user

  • Provides a fraud-free environment for advertisers

  • Gives advertisers the ability and control to protect their brand online

  • Supports quality journalism and accurate information in order to allow publishers to effectively monetise their content

  • Allows advertisers to understand the value of the vendors they are working with and gives them control over where their money is being spent

How you can get involved

IAB UK’s work to deliver a solution which works for our members is focused on three areas that we encourage members to get involved with. To be part of these working groups, email

Tech lab

Project Rearc

Project Rearc is a global call to action for stakeholders across the digital supply chain to re-think and re-architect digital marketing to support core industry use cases, while balancing consumer privacy and personalization.  


Google Privacy Sandbox

Privacy Sandbox represents an alternative pathway that Google is providing for the ad industry to take, relying on anonymized signals (that are not cookies) within a person’s Chrome browser to profit from that user’s browsing habits.


Providing industry guidance

As well as feeding into these global initiatives, IAB UK will run working groups and events to develop short- and long-term guidance for our members and the wider industry, and to lead the UK response to a cookie-less future.

Related events and viewing


User Identity webinar

This first webinar provides an overview on the history of cookies, tracking, the evolution of the internet, and how we got to where we are today. You


Webinar: User Identity Part one

Watch the recording of this webinar to find out more about user identity, why it is important and hear about products and solutions that exist.

Webinar part two

Webinar: User Identity Part Two

View the the second part of this webinar and find out more about user identity, why it is important and hear about products and solutions that exist.

Why digital advertising works

Discover why digital advertising is effective for reaching your customers and building brands.