What Does Google’s Cookie Delay Mean for Advertisers? A Reprieve, But Not a Time to Rest

Last 24th June, Google announced that the plan to deprecate third-party cookies by Q2 2022 would be delayed by nearly two years to allow advertisers, publishers, and developers time to test and build feasible alternatives. This announcement comes on the heels of Google’s recent agreement with the U.K. Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), a British antitrust agency, to include a six-month period of evaluation when any changes to third-party cookies are made.

By:  Amanda Martin
VP, Enterprise Partnerships
Goodway Group – CvE’s Parent Company

Last 24th June, Google announced that the plan to deprecate third-party cookies by Q2 2022 would be delayed by nearly two years to allow advertisers, publishers, and developers time to test and build feasible alternatives. This announcement comes on the heels of Google’s recent agreement with the U.K. Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), a British antitrust agency, to include a six-month period of evaluation when any changes to third-party cookies are made.

Google finds itself in a position where it faces privacy challenges for third-party cookie tracking and antitrust scrutiny as removing cookies undermines the advertising technology ecosystem.

Google outlined the proposed timeline in a blog post, which we have summarised below:

Stage 1

Will start in late 2022, pending the completion of Privacy Sandbox testing and the successful launch of APIs. Stage 1 will allow the industry time to migrate its targeting and measurement approaches away from cookies.

Stage 2

Is dependent on the successful launch of Stage 1 but is currently slated for mid-2023, which will prompt a three-month period to phase out support of third-party cookies.

Google’s timeline is contingent on the success of Privacy Sandbox proposals and acceptance by the industry and regulators. Currently, Chrome is testing 4 of the 30 proposals, with FLEDGE trials delayed until later this year, if not early next.

In Google’s initial announcement of its plan to deprecate third-party cookies, it insisted it would not do so without a viable solution; Thursday’s announcement acknowledges the fact that the proposed alternatives are not at a ready state to meet the previous timeline.

It is important to note that this is an extension. While it is easy to acknowledge the uphill battle Google faces to deprecate third-party cookies now or in the future, we must recognize that third-party cookies are not a solid foundation to continue to rely upon nor build upon. Today third-party cookies only exist in Chrome-based browser experiences, so brands and agencies already find themselves reaching consumers more often in cookieless environments vs. cookie-based environments. Therefore, this extension offers brands and agencies the opportunity to continue testing and pushing for innovation to ensure if or when third-party cookies are finally deprecated, the industry is no longer built upon them

Goodway and ControlVExposed will continue identity- or privacy-focused efforts, including innovating within cleanroom environments, first-party data strategies, offline data integrations, and measurement solutions. We are confident these approaches will not only provide alternatives to third-party cookies but also provide solutions surrounding deterministic measurement, cross-platform analysis, and more sophisticated modelling for both targeting and measurement. Ultimately, the goal of the industry is to sustain a methodology that respects consumer privacy while delivering relevant messaging as brands seek to communicate with consumers.

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