Last week, Google announced that they’re delaying Google Chrome’s third-party cookie deprecation to 2024. Prior to this announcement, third-party cookie deprecation, which was initially expected by 2022, was scheduled to occur in late 2023.
Given the reliance on third-party cookies across the media ecosystem, the initial deprecation timeline led to a proliferation of testing from agencies and advertisers, hard pivots from data providers, and technology advancements from identity management companies. Even with the first timeline extension, the digital marketing industry, including advertisers and agencies, was hard-pressed to be fully prepared for this loss of signal from the deprecation of third-party cookies.
Why Did Google Delay Third-Party Cookie Deprecation on Chrome?
Google is primarily pushing the timeline to provide a longer testing periods for the Privacy Sandbox and its related solutions that support cookieless marketing. As a newer initiative, the portfolio of solutions in the Privacy Sandbox has been evolving and shifting since Google’s initial announcement of third-party cookie deprecation. Below is a summary of some of the current Privacy Sandbox solutions for advertisers:
- Topics: Topics assigns interest labels, like “Beauty & Fitness”, to a user based on their recent browsing activity. Websites and advertising partners can then use those interests to promote relevant content in a privacy-safe way.
- FLEDGE: FLEDGE also relies on interest-group-based advertising, but its focus is on the behind-the-scenes auction mechanisms that determine whose ads to show and when. The auction is executed locally via the browser, thereby enabling ads to be displayed to custom audiences without the reliance on third-party cookies.
- Attribution Reporting: The Privacy Sandbox attribution reporting API will enable advertisers to measure conversions driven by ad clicks or views in a privacy-safe way.
Should Marketers Change Course with Third-Party Cookie Deprecation Delayed?
This latest update will allow the industry more time to prepare for cookie deprecation and establish a range of tried-and-true alternatives to third-party cookies. But the extension should not lead to complacency. Here’s what marketers should continue to do to be prepared when deprecation does occur:
- Continue to focus on building up your first-party data and consumer identity strategies. Remember, even though third-party cookies are still in play on Chrome, they’re not available on iOS, Safari, or Firefox. First-party data continues to offer immediate value, especially as the tech landscape increasingly becomes a world of digital continents.
- Monitor advancements across industry solutions (e.g., Google’s Privacy Sandbox) to ensure timely testing and adoption.
- Keep advocating internally for privacy considerations to be layered into every aspect of marketing and data collection. Even areas without explicit regulation benefit from a forward-looking mindset that puts privacy at the forefront – both in terms of business readiness for future regulations and in building consumer trust.
Advertisers now have until 2024 to solidify their alternatives to third-party cookies as they pertain to Google Chrome. While some may use this time to kick solutions down the road, leading brands will take advantage to further innovate and evolve their first-party data and privacy-safe strategies. Keep an eye on our blog for future updates around third-party cookie deprecation, along with other timely topics like Google Analytics 4 migration.