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Expert Views on Google’s 1% Third-Party Cookie Deprecation

Google’s third-party cookie deprecation has finally arrived to spell a new era in The Privacy Sandbox. From today (4 January 2024), Google Chrome is disabling third-party cookies for 1% of the users before completely stopping it in Q3 2024. Publishers and website owners who use third-party cookies to improve the quality of their services and content would now have to look out for alternative channels to experiment with their advertising efforts. Google has already launched a range of APIs to offset third-party cookies for identity tracking, advertising, and privacy management. In our Google third-party cookies deprecation series, global adtech leaders spoke to us about the consequences of this milestone event.

What is Google’s Third-Party Cookies Deprecation?

Google’s third-party cookies deprecation is part of the company’s Privacy Sandbox initiative. The Privacy Sandbox is a major development in the advertising landscape that supports the need to improve people’s online privacy while they use digital services without interruption. This initiative aims to reduce cross-site and cross-app tracking when users browse the internet for content, services, and jobs. By deprecating third-party cookies in Google, users can continue to enjoy an enriching browser experience without worrying about privacy. For publishers, this effort would ensure they can offer their content for free on sites and apps. Moreover, intrusive app trackers will become a thing of the past in 2024 once 100% third-party cookies deprecation takes effect. To discuss more, adtech leaders highlight the context of third-party cookie deprecation applied to different digital businesses.

Effects on Publishing Business

According to a recent report by PrimeAudience, 88% of marketers feel prepared for the deprecation of cookies. 56% of marketers are already testing for the cookieless future in 2024. 

Alexandra Theriault, Chief Growth Officer, Lotame, a data solutions company said, “30-50% of the web already blocks third-party cookies in Safari and Firefox by default, and that has yet to spur meaningful adoption of third-party cookieless solutions from brands and agencies. Although universal IDs have been adopted by 10s of thousands of publishers globally (as cited by, the demand from agencies and brands to leverage these alternative solutions is meager. Google adding 1% of their piece of the pie isn’t going to drive the intended reaction necessary to prepare the industry for the end of the year. Google’s watered-down targeting capabilities that may offer to target are a far cry from the precision agencies and brands are accustomed to. The result will be worse-performing campaigns, a hit to most publisher’s yield, and less relevant ads for consumers.”

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Testing Cookieless Solutions in 2024

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Eli Heath, Head of Identity – Lotame, added, “It’s important to note that this change affects only 1% of browsers, which is relatively minor considering that 30% of browsers, such as Safari and Firefox, already do not support third-party cookies. This small percentage is unlikely to drive significant changes among buyers, as DSPs will simply adjust their traffic optimization strategies for Chrome browsers that still use cookies. However, this development should serve as a wake-up call to re-energize and intensify efforts in testing cookieless solutions, especially by expanding the scope to include Chrome browsers. This testing phase is crucial. If we can identify and isolate the 1% of impacted Chrome browsers, it could provide valuable insights into the effectiveness of post-cookie solutions. This includes aspects of targeting and measurement in a Chrome environment without third-party cookies, building on the initial learnings we’ve already gleaned from Safari and Firefox.”

Dan Pike, CPO, Covatic said, “The latest Google news is not news at all; the industry has been aware that cookies were on borrowed time for what seems like forever, and most savvy publishers and brands have prepared themselves to move beyond these outdated and ineffective identifiers. “There are already tried and tested cookie-less solutions deployed in-market and used by major publishers. These have the additional benefit of putting them in control of their data, tech, and revenue while avoiding strategic capture by Google and the other big digital players. So we should see the cookie’s demise as a positive step in the evolution of the digital industry; as it will create more responsible, addressable, and effective targeting methods while offering greater protection and choice for consumers over how their data is used.”
Jeremy Haft, CRO – Digital Remedy (Performance Marketing Partner for Brands and Agencies), said, “The removal of 1% of 3rd-party cookie tracking has the potential to significantly impact advertisers and the overarching digital ad ecosystem. Time will tell (as we have seen delay after delay) if we see a full ramp-up and if this ultimately leads to Google seeing a decline in ad revenue. I bet that Google will back off from the full depreciation of cookies; however, if this initial test proves to be successful, this could impact many facets of the advertising ecosystem. For starters, advertisers will have limited ability to target their most sought-after audiences as their options to identify and segment those audiences will become limited. Measurement & attribution models will break due to data being more difficult to action by channel, partner, and media type.”

Jeremy added, “Lastly, personalization of the consumer ad experience will take a hit leading to more generic and less targeted messaging and creative. If Google does end up completely deprecating cookie tracking, this opens up the opportunity for innovation in the industry for new solutions focused on targeting, measurement, and attribution. In addition, there will be an increased focus on privacy which will be tied to even more regulation focused on data protection.

Should Google move forward with deprecating third-party cookies, it will substantially impact both ad tech providers and advertisers who will once again have to navigate and innovate to win. I believe this to be very dependent on how this 1% deprecation test will impact Google’s ad revenue. If it takes a hit, we could see further delays in the full rollout based on their current timeline.”

Google Tracking Protection for digital advertising

Mateusz Jedrocha, VP, of Branding Solutions – Adlook (cookieless and deep-learning focused DSP) mentioned the importance of Google Tracking Protection for digital advertising. Mateusz said, “The introduction of Tracking Protection by Google Chrome, a browser commanding a significant 64% of the market share, marks a pivotal moment in digital advertising. This move is particularly impactful for us at Adlook, where we focus on branding solutions. This development presents both a challenge and an opportunity in how we engage with consumers globally. We view the initial 1% deprecation of cookies as a crucial first step in assessing the viability of a cookieless environment. This phase allows us to perform essential tests and begin redefining our benchmarks and delivery metrics for branding campaigns in a world without third-party cookies. However, we believe that a gradual and transparent expansion of cookieless traffic is necessary for a comprehensive understanding and adaptation to this new landscape.”

Mateusz added, “At Adlook, we are keenly aware of the importance of guiding our clients through the intricacies of the cookieless transition. To this end, we have developed comprehensive Cookieless Transition Frameworks, which are designed to support our clients in navigating this new landscape. These frameworks are based on a phased and tailored approach, allowing for gradual testing and adaptation. Our objective is to facilitate a seamless shift from legacy buying methods to the new ecosystem, which is increasingly powered by Google’s Privacy Sandbox along with a variety of other cookieless solutions.”

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