A farewell to third-party cookies
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A farewell to third-party cookies

Google announced it would eliminate third-party cookies and won't develop comparable cross-site tracking features. Google will implement this change in late 2023. Many advertisers appear perplexed by how to handle the situation.

Rather than a custom-built solution, Google will rely on the Privacy Sandbox. FLoCs, or federated learning of cohorts, will focus on specific people based on broader groups with common interests and actions. This implies that third-party cookies won't be utilized to track users on Chrome. With its browser Safari, Apple was the first to join Google in its crusade against third-party cookies. Advertisements need to consider creative ideas for attributing conversions, restricting the number of times an ad may be viewed, and retargeting website visitors. Adtech organizations are currently developing mechanisms to maintain the same performance and tracking capabilities for digital advertisers.

Google will still be able to track users through data collected from its services like Maps, Search, YouTube, and others. According to the company, the adjustments only apply to ad tools and website unique identifiers. Google will also continue to track and target users on mobile devices. It will still advertise content based on the activities of its users, which account for most of its income and will not be affected by the transition.

In other words, while this development will significantly impact the digital advertising industry, it is unlikely to affect Google itself. Instead, Google Topics will group people based on interests. This isn't, however, a suitable replacement for cookies since there will be no frequency capping, targeting based on surfing behavior, or conversion attribution.

What are third-party cookies?

Third-party cookies are little pieces of data stored on a user's browser and are a common tracking form. These cookies contain information from a third party, such as the user's identity. When combined with tracking scripts, cookies can also be used for retargeting, user tracking, and conversion attribution.

Advertisers have used this method for years to collect data and target relevant advertising toward appropriate audiences. This does not imply that third-party data is the ideal technology for its original purpose; rather, it is just adequate.

Advertisers do not use cookies to obtain user information; they collect data on individual device browsers. This makes it difficult for marketers to track people across devices. From the user's standpoint, cookies lack a readily apparent opt-out option for being tracked or an opt-in alternative to access site content.

Some people believe this move is long overdue. Cookies will be phased out over time, and a better option will emerge. Newer solutions with enhanced targeting capabilities and greater privacy standards are already in development. The arrival of better user-identifier technologies than third-party cookies during the following years is certain.

The cookieless future

Google is not the only one to work on user-level identifiers. Up to 90% of all display impressions will have no ID linked to them if there is no third-party cookies replacement.

It's critical to use a portfolio of techniques that includes solutions for intelligently targeting advertisements without obvious identifiers in the post-cookie world. The elimination of targeted advertising will affect everyone involved in the internet economy: users, advertisers, and publishers.

Without proper data tracking, marketers will be unwilling to spend as much on digital advertising. Companies want to show advertisements to people interested in their offerings and are prepared to pay a premium for them. Because of a lack of tracking, digital ad inventory is valued lower, putting publishers in a bind, most likely for a subscription-based revenue stream.

However, various technological advancements in the works will offer a better solution to what we have now. There are already promising alternatives on the market. Advertisers must use alternative methods for retargeting campaigns and attributing credit when third-party cookies are eliminated. Fortunately, digital advertising networks are working on developing better technologies, and several promising options are already available. In our next article, we'll look at those alternatives in greater detail.