ConnectAd Chronicles


Why Google delayed third-party cookie deprecation (again!)

I'm sure you'll agree with me when I say that the hottest question in our industry right now is: Will Chrome, the world's most popular browser, ever kill third-party cookies? While Apple and Mozilla have already done so in 2020, Google, the prominent advertising giant, initially planned to phase out third-party cookies in Chrome by 2022. However, they postponed it to 2023 in 2021 and further to 2024 in 2022.

It's 2024 now and guess what? Surprisingly (or not so surprisingly…?) Google just announced yet another delay, pushing the change from third-party cookies to Privacy Sandbox to 2025.

Wondering why? We too – and therefore collected all the reasons for you 

On April 23rd google announced (for the third time), the delay of the deprecation of third-party cookies on its Chrome browser shortly stating that the delay occurs due to ongoing challenges like regulatory hurdles and a lack of readiness within the industry.

We are curious: What does that mean in concrete terms? 

Google is facing regulatory challenges in the UK

In a new blog post Google cites UK regulations as the reason for the delay. Therefore the UK's Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has expressed apprehensions regarding the plan to eliminate third-party cookies, viewing the delay as an opportunity to further assess its consequences. The primary concern of the CMA revolves around the potential impact on Google's competitors, suspecting that terminating third-party cookies may serve to bolster Google's advertising endeavors while disadvantaging other web advertisers.

The CMA is therefore particularly wary of the possibility of Google gaining more market dominance, fearing that without third-party cookies, publishers will encounter difficulties in effectively generating revenue from their websites. That is legitimate. However, it is also interesting that the CMA seems to be more concerned about other online advertising providers competing with Google than about user data protection, which should be the actual aim of the whole third-party cookie deprecation.

The industry doesn’t feel ready for a cookieless world

It's widely acknowledged that marketing and advertising agencies heavily depend on Google's third-party cookies for gauging the effectiveness of their campaigns. With the gradual phase-out of cookies underway, many of them feel ill-equipped to navigate the shift, lacking clarity on viable alternatives. There's a prevalent lack of awareness and understanding regarding options beyond third-party cookies. In a cookieless landscape, marketers will need to explore novel approaches to engage customers and foster trust, encouraging them to willingly share information – and that’s not an easy thing to do.

On the one hand the level of uncertainty surrounding what happens after third-party cookies means that a further delay is only a good thing for marketers that aren't yet prepared for a cookieless future. But on the other hand we also have to say: We all already had quite sometime now to get used to the thought of a new area in which cookies no longer exist. We had the time to put the work in, to get informed and to prepare ourselves for the end of third-party cookies.

The Privacy Sandbox is under critical observation

Since last year initial tests of the Privacy Sandbox have been running. Privacy Sandbox is Google’s replacement for third-party cookies with the aim of increasing consumers’ data privacy on the open web. It’s a sweeping initiative that includes several components or ideas and a variety of tools designed to replace cookies for advertisers and publishers without collecting too much data on individual people but still making it possible to display targeted advertising. However this initiative has encountered significant backlash from specialists who anticipate adverse effects on marketers.

Numerous publishers and adtech entities have expressed apprehensions regarding the operation of the Privacy Sandbox's auction system, contending that it establishes a secluded marketplace that obviates the necessity for external demand- and supply-side platforms. In addition, the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) published a report in February in which it identified fundamental problems with the Privacy Sandbox, including problems with advertising effectiveness, media measurement, brand safety, management and transparency.

Conclusion: The cookieless future remains exciting

If you take a closer look at the reasons why Google has postponed the end of third party cookies and the start of the Privacy Sandbox again, you have to say: This was probably the right decision – even if it is getting a little bit annoying by now. But: It seems a bit as if Google has ridden off on its own without having turned around and is now standing alone in the forest.

However: The goal of third-party cookie deprecation is worthy – and even if the Privacy Sandbox still has some flaws, we believe that it could be very powerful and that more time will surely help to solve those issues together. In addition the good thing is that there are also some other third-party cookie alternatives for a more privacy-friendly future available (like the already in a blog post of ours discussed identity solutions for example).

Besides you can read everything about how we can all get ready for the post-cookie-world in an older blog post of ours. Do it! Because someday it will come!