Building Client Relationships in the Post-Cookie Era

by Stephanie Koehler | April 22, 2024

The digital landscape is undergoing a huge shift that impacts all sectors, including legal marketing. Specifically, this shift is the demise of third-party cookies, tracking codes placed on website visitors’ computers or devices.

For law firms, the end of third-party cookies means a new era in connecting with and marketing to potential clients. This transition pushes the importance of first-party data and marketing automation to the forefront of all digital marketing campaigns and efforts.

In this blog, we’ll explore how law firm marketing can adapt to a cookieless future by focusing on effectively building and nurturing client relationships.

What’s Causing the Demise of Third-Party Cookies?

For years, third-party cookies have been the backbone of digital marketing, allowing firms to track users’ online behavior across websites and tailor ads accordingly. However, growing privacy concerns and legislation have led to their phased elimination, which is already starting as of March 2024 and is expected to continue through the rest of the year and beyond.

For personal injury law firms, this means rethinking strategies to reach and engage potential clients without intruding on their privacy. The shift necessitates a move towards more consent-based and transparent practices, emphasizing the importance of first-party data.

Want to Adapt? Know Your Data Types.

To navigate this new landscape, understanding the different types of data is crucial:

  • Zero-Party Data: This is information that a customer intentionally and proactively shares with a brand, such as preferences and how they wish to be recognized.
  • First-Party Data: This is data collected directly from your audience or customers. This includes data from website interactions, CRM systems, and any direct customer engagements.
  • Second-Party Data: This is someone else’s first-party data that you obtain directly from them, with their consent, for mutual benefit.
  • Third-Party Data: This is data collected by entities that don’t have a direct relationship with the user the data is being collected on. Data aggregators typically sell this type of data.

What’s the Difference Between Third-Party Data and First-Party Data?

The key difference between third-party data and first-party data lies in the source and reliability. Third-party data, while vast, often lacks accuracy and relevance. It also poses privacy concerns.

In contrast, first-party data is gathered directly from your audience and potential client base. Because it is directly relevant to your firm, it’s typically much higher quality, more relevant, and compliant with privacy standards. It allows for a deeper understanding of your clients, leading to more effective and personalized marketing efforts.

Why It’s Important to Own Your Marketing Contacts

Owned marketing contacts are potential clients who willingly share their personal information, such as an email address or phone number, in exchange for something of value. Owning this type of contact information can help you build deeper relationships with customers and increase the effectiveness of your communication efforts.

Owning marketing contacts means having direct access to and control over your data. For law firms, this translates into building a database of potential and existing clients with whom you can communicate directly. This direct line not only enhances the relevance and personalization of your communications, but it also builds trust and loyalty, which are both essential for maintaining long-term client relationships.

First-Party Data as Savior

With the demise of third-party cookies, collecting and properly managing first-party data is becoming extremely important for law firms looking to maintain or improve their digital marketing efforts in the post-cookie era.

Thankfully, there are many highly effective ways to obtain first-party data, including:

  • Customer Surveys and Feedback: People who participate in surveys or provide feedback share valuable information about their experiences, needs, and expectations. This input allows law firms to gain insights into where they’re succeeding and where they can improve.


Additionally, the data collected can include demographic information and specific legal interests, enabling firms to tailor their offerings and communication strategies more effectively.

  • Website Visits: Through analytics tools, firms can track which pages visitors spend the most time on, the path they take through the site, and where they drop off. This behavior indicates the visitors’ interests and potential needs regarding legal services.


Additionally, website forms for newsletters, free consultations, or downloadable resources prompt visitors to enter their contact information, directly supplying the firm with valuable data.

  • Customer Service Interactions and Online Chats: Through these interactions, individuals often share details about their legal issues, preferences, and contact information, either to receive more information or to resolve a specific query.


This exchange allows firms to gather insights into the needs and concerns of their audiences, helping them to personalize future communications and improve service offerings.

  • Lead Generation Campaigns: The forms used in lead generation campaigns can require information such as names, email addresses, and legal needs or interests.


This data not only helps build a database of potential clients but also enables law firms to understand the specific interests and needs of their audience, allowing for more personalized and effective follow-up.

  • Social Media: When users interact with a law firm’s content on social media through likes, comments, shares, and messages, firms can gather insights into what content resonates with their audience. This data helps in understanding client interests and preferences.
  • Email and Newsletter Subscriptions: Names, email addresses, phone numbers, and other information can be gathered when users sign up for emails and newsletters.


Tracking how subscribers interact with emails—looking at open rates, click-through rates, and which links or content they engage with—provides insights into what topics or services are most interesting to them. This helps in segmenting the email list for more targeted and relevant communications.

Nurture Your Audience With Email Marketing Campaigns

When using first-party data, email marketing allows for precise segmentation and personalization. By categorizing your audience based on their interests, behaviors, and past interactions, you can tailor your messaging to resonate more deeply.

Personalization goes beyond addressing recipients by name; it involves curating content that speaks directly to their needs and stage in the customer journey.


The power of email marketing is magnified when coupled with segmentation. By dividing your email list into smaller, more targeted groups based on criteria such as legal interests, case types, or engagement levels, you can tailor your messaging for each segment.

For instance, individuals interested in personal injury law might receive updates on recent case victories or changes in legislation affecting personal injury claims. This targeted approach ensures that recipients receive relevant and engaging content, increasing the likelihood of engagement and conversion.


Personalization takes segmentation a step further by tailoring the email content to individual preferences and behaviors. Beyond using a recipient’s name, personalization involves curating content that aligns with their past interactions, expressed interests, or specific legal needs.

For law firms, this could mean sending personalized follow-ups to webinar attendees with additional resources on discussed topics or customizing newsletters based on the recipient’s interaction with previous emails. Personalization not only enhances the recipient’s experience but also demonstrates the firm’s commitment to addressing individual needs and concerns, fostering trust and loyalty.

We Can Help You Adapt and Grow in This New Digital Landscape

The post-cookie era presents both a challenge and an opportunity for law firms. By focusing on first-party data and leveraging marketing automation, firms can build deeper, more meaningful relationships with clients. This shift towards data ownership and consent-based marketing not only aligns with evolving privacy standards but also sets the stage for more effective and client-centered marketing strategies.

If you’ve got questions or concerns about the cookieless future, especially about how it might impact your firm’s digital marketing efforts, don’t hesitate to reach out to your cj Advertising Brand Strategist.