Comment: Google further delays killing off third party cookies

google cookie sandbox

This week Google surprised everyone by announcing that it was once again delaying its move away from cookies until late 2024.

Anthony Chavez is VP of Google’s Privacy Sandbox, and he wrote in a blog post this week that: “By Q3 2023, we expect the Privacy Sandbox APIs to be launched and generally available in Chrome. 

“As developers adopt these APIs, we now intend to begin phasing out third-party cookies in Chrome in the second half of 2024. 

He said the reason to push back further was based on input from developers, publishers, marketers, and regulators, who allegedly said they all wanted more time to evaluate and test the new Privacy Sandbox technologies before deprecating third-party cookies in Chrome.

Companies have already invested huge amounts in order to be ready for the end of the so-called ‘cookie era’, so what do they make of Google’s latest announcement…

Pierre diennet lotamePierre Diennet, Head of Global Partnerships Lotame 

“The two big browser / device manufacturers are going in opposite directions. Apple is restricting its technology and devices further, whilst Google is making them more transparent.

“What’s interesting is how marketers have entirely abdicated the fight with Apple. If we look at what the CMA took Alphabet to court for, namely “limiting production, markets or technical development to the prejudice of consumers” and “applying dissimilar conditions to equivalent transactions with other trading parties, thereby placing them at a competitive disadvantage”, this is very much what Apple has been doing and continues to double and triple down on.

“In IOS 15.4 Apple has gone full-paternalistic and set blocking by default, removing the choice for consumers to engage with and share with the brands, apps, publishers they enjoy. 

“The only entity that can monetise app and browser activity on IOS 15.4 and later with any real effectiveness is Apple.

“I’m waiting for the public to wake up to the fact that Apple isn’t a trillion dollar company because it protected your data. It is a trillion dollar company because it hoards it.”

Charlie Johnson - Digital ElementCharlie Johnson (she/her), Vice President, International, Digital Element

“This is a disappointing move by Google as so many ad tech companies have invested heavily in preparing for a cookieless world from 2023. 

“On the other hand, companies now have the opportunity to continue to test and refine their new identity lead solutions. 

“The new deadline will be here in no time though, so businesses mustn’t take this as an opportunity to relax. 

“Savvy organisations will continue to put their consumers first and strive to build better solutions despite the change.”

paula gomezPaula Gómez, Data & Adtech Director, Making Science 

“Despite the digital advertising industry beginning to adapt to privacy requirements, Google’s extension reflects the need for more preparation. 

“Testing and implementing analytics tools that aren’t reliant on individual personal data remains crucial. Brand should still be seeking guidance on how they can best secure the granular audience insights that will be needed for effective targeting in future.”

Ben Erdos - Total Media SolutionsBen Erdos, Chief Services Officer, Total Media Solutions

“Once again, the pressure to adopt a trusted measurement alternative is alleviated. 

“Publishers, advertisers, and the greater adtech community have been given a second chance to adopt privacy preserving solutions that foster synchronisation, harmonisation and consistency, delivering on both user expectations and content value. 

“While many will be breathing a sigh of relief, the loss of cookies hasn’t gone away and those who prepare now for a privacy central future will put themselves in a better position when it comes.”

Smart - Romain JobRomain Job, Chief Strategy Officer, Equativ (formerly Smart AdServer) 

“Considering the lack of concrete traction its Privacy Sandbox framework has had, not to mention limited clarity about the use of its proprietary ID and datasets, it’s no surprise Google has delayed the phase out of third-party cookies (again). 

“The current framework is not ready to offer a true alternative for all business cases currently addressed by third-party cookies, nor is it in a place to balance Google’s tech giant status with that of independent vendors.”

LoopMe Stephen upstoneStephen Upstone, CEO and Founder, LoopMe

“Whatever surprises might come up, whatever delays we face, there is still a need for companies to adapt quickly to a privacy-centric future. 

“An important aspect of this will be embracing and expanding AI capabilities. I strongly believe that brands without AI-powered optimisation techniques will struggle to thrive moving forward. 

“The use of AI in media delivery puts companies in the best position to provide effective media performance for brand outcomes and power campaign optimisations, all while remaining compliant to changing data privacy requirements.

Csaba szabo ias Csaba Szabo, MD EMEA, Integral Ad Science (IAS)

“We have already seen brands accelerating their preparation for a cookie-less environment and Google’s delay in the removal of third-party cookies to 2024 should not change this. 

“In fact, it will give the entire industry the time to invest in machine learning, contextual targeting solutions and other tools that’ll help make ads to be more relevant to the page environment, while respecting privacy on a global scale.”

Anthony Lamy - VidMobAnthony Lamy, VP EMEA Client Partners, VidMob

“Google’s cookie deadline extension provides some breathing room for marketers, but time is still of the essence to find new solutions that ensure optimum ad performance. Up and down the funnel, creative is consistently pointed to as the leading contributor to campaign success. 

“Progressive marketers are addressing ad performance as a critical first step in their sales process, leveraging smart AI tools to identify nuances in creative to  dramatically improve efficacy of their ads as part of their overall approach to performance in a cookieless future.”

This is a living article and may be updated with additional comment.