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Google to delay blocking third party cookies in Chrome until 2024

You’ll probably have heard about Google’s third party cookie phase out plan. After all, it’s been in the works for some time. Google announced that it would block third party cookies back in February 2020, with an initial deadline of 2022. In June 2021, the internet giant announced that it would delay its move to a post-cookie world until 2023. Now, they’ve said that they’re extending the extension and that it won’t happen until 2024. And there’s no guarantee that they won’t delay it again.

Google’s decision is due to hold-ups with Privacy Sandbox, the initiative that Google hopes will replace the third party cookie without overly disturbing the current web ecosystem. Google’s privacy sandbox has gone through several rounds of testing in recent months, with the conclusion from just about everyone involved in the project — developers, marketers, and publishers — being that it requires further work before the process of eliminating third party cookies from the web can begin in earnest. In a blog post, Anthony Chavez, a senior executive of Google’s initiative, said, “The most consistent feedback we’ve received is the need for more time to evaluate and test the new Privacy Sandbox technologies before deprecating third party cookies in Google Chrome.

The Cookie Issue

There’s a lot of discussion surrounding Google’s move to prioritize first party data and end third party data. However, while Google’s initiative is receiving a lot of buzz, it’s important to note that the tech giant isn’t the first browser provider to take this step.

Actually, it’s the last of the big hitters. Firefox and Safari have already phased out third party cookies. But Google is most definitely the biggest browser to enact such a change. Google has more than half of the browser market, so there will be far-reach repercussions following the phase out. Indeed, such is Google’s size that this process probably marks the end of third party cookies as we know it. If Google’s eliminating third party cookies, then it’s highly unlikely that any other browser will offer it in the future. 

 

Google Has More Riding On Cookies Than Firefox and Apple

You might be wondering why Google’s shift towards first party cookies is taking so much longer than it did for Firefox and Apple to make the transition. And there’s a simple reason for that: Google has a lot more riding on cookies than those two other browser providers.

Google isn’t just a tech company; it’s also an advertising company. By eliminating third party cookies, they effectively have to change how they operate. Apple doesn’t make money through advertising, while Firefox is a non-profit. Part of the delay will be because Google wants to be sure that they can remain profitable in the years to come, even if they don’t have access to that sweet cookie cash.

The delay isn’t entirely based on selfish reasons, however. As mentioned above, Google has more than fifty per cent of the browser market, and there are a lot of companies out there that need to track individuals and rely on sharing data for their businesses to be profitable. The delay is, in part, to give companies the time to get ready for the new web landscape. 

Enter Privacy Sandbox

A company as advanced as Google wouldn’t kill off one of its biggest cash cows if it didn’t have a pretty solid replacement in place. At the moment, Privacy Sandbox isn’t exactly the finished article, but it’s getting there. And in any case, it’s unlikely that the final version will differ too much from a principle point of view that it did when the project was first announced.

There will be five main APIs for Google’s Privacy Sandbox, which seem unlikely to change.

What You Need To Know About The Great Google Cookie Block

There’s a lot of misinformation and speculation surrounding Google’s decision to block third party cookies. The truth is that we don’t know every final detail — and we likely won’t until Privacy Sandbox has gone through all its rounds of testing and everything’s sewn up.

However, there are some things that we do know. We’ve put together the essential pieces of information that marketers need to know.

First-Party Cookies Are Here To Stay

Google isn’t getting rid of all cookies — just the third party ones. Those first party cookies are here to stay, and that means that you’ll still have marketing leverage thanks to cookies. First party cookies track user information from your own website, including clicks, visits, habits, and things like that. That means that all the information that you currently collect from users visiting your site will still be visible — and usable — after the great cookie block comes into effect in 2024. 

It's Been Coming For a Long Time

Google’s decision to block third party companies came as a surprise to many people, especially some professionals who rely on that data to make their businesses tick. However, to some people, the warning signs have been there for a while. Cookies have been under siege around the world for years — for instance, in 2019, the European Union ruled that all users must consent to cookies rather than the process being automatic. 

Brands that operate solely within the United States won’t have felt the impact of this decision, but those based in Europe did. Some companies, sensing that this was a taste of things to come, began investing in other methods. 

No One’s Sure About the Bigger Picture

There’s more than one way to view Google’s decision to phase out cookies. The tech giant may say that it’s a move to improve user security and privacy — but others believe that it may be a method for Google to consolidate their power even further because marketers could become dependent on Google’s first party cookie system, which would push more money their way.

While some marketers are embracing the move, others are warning that it can have majorly negative impacts not only on the marketing industry but on the web experience as a whole.

Google’s Not Turning Its Back On Tracking Completely

It might sound like Google is waving goodbye to tracking, but that’s not really the case. They’re only turning their back on the tracking of individual users. Rather, advertisers will be able to track groups of internet users rather than individual users. This move allows Google to track people within a large crowd of people — they’re anonymous, basically. 

It’s Time For Innovation

Many marketers will be reading the news about Google’s cookie plan with a sense of dread. But others will see it as an opportunity for innovation. The cookie-free future may turn out to be a good thing for the advertising industry since it’ll be forced to look at new and exciting ideas rather than relying on the same old methods. In doing so, they’ll also be reclaiming some of the power since these innovative ideas will be less likely to be solely dependent on Google or the decisions of lawmakers. 

How You Can Prepare For Third-Party Cookie Phase Out

It’s understandable that advertisers who currently rely on third-party cookies will be a little bit nervous about Google’s plans. However, while there’s nothing you can do — except give your feedback to Google — about the plan, there are things you can do to prepare yourself for a future without third party cookies. 

Don’t Panic; Stay Informed

The first step is not to panic. It can sound scary, but it’s important to remember that Google isn’t leaving advertisers in the dust — the tech company needs marketers almost as much as marketers need Google. When the replacement model is ready, there’ll be a period of time before third party cookies are replaced for good, giving you time to adjust. The best solution right now is to stay informed about the process as best you can — if you keep up to date, then you’ll be much less likely to be left behind!

Invest in First-Party Data

We’ve talked about first party data in this blog already. We know that it’s going to form a big part of Google’s future. But the rollout of the third party won’t introduce first party data — it’s already here. By investing in your first party data today, you can ensure that you’re as well-prepared as possible to handle the transition. There are plenty of things you can do to utilize first party data, including improving your conversion measurement processes. You won’t have to wait until 2024 to feel those benefits, either — that’s something that improves brands right now. 

Look To Other Strategies

Companies became pretty reliant on third party cookies, but it’s important to remember that there are other marketing strategies that work well — and some of these even pre-date cookie use. Take a trip to the past by making the most of contextual marketing. This allows you to place advertisements on websites that have similar keywords and themes as the ones you use in your advertisement. 

An example: currently, your adverts could be seen by people who match your advertising profiles. With contextual marketing, if you were advertising, say, outdoor hiking boots, your ad could end up on a travel website. 

Make Your Brand Future Proof

Finally, you can use this as an opportunity to get creative and come up with new marketing strategies for your business. Third party cookies were good, but as we said below, it’s possible that marketers became a little too reliant on them. Companies were advertising for a long time before cookies, and they’ll be advertising for a long time after, too. Get your thinking cap on and begin brainstorming new and innovative ideas for advertising. This won’t just help to energize your marketing campaigns; it’ll also make your brand a little more future proof, as you won’t be as dependent on technology — and Google’s business decisions. 

Final Thoughts

It should come as no surprise that Google has delayed its plan to block third party cookies. Once they’ve done it, they won’t be coming back, so they need to ensure that they get it right — Google’s future profitability, as well as that of many individuals and businesses, depends on it. 

It’ll come eventually, but don’t be surprised if the launch date is extended once more. In the meantime, the best approach for companies will be to take the tips that we’ve outlined above to prepare themselves for a future where the digital advertising landscape will look pretty different from what we’ve known in the past. 

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