Third-Party Cookie Deprecation and Its Impact on Advertising

Google has stated that it plans to deprecate third-party cookies; this move has come with the introduction of Tracking Protection features, and full deprecation is anticipated to occur by the end of 2024. For businesses, brands, and advertisers, this change marks a profound shift in the way the industry operates. While this change may seem detrimental, businesses have options to ensure they are still getting the most out of their advertising even as the cookie falls from prominence. Google’s third-party cookie deprecation is the end of an era, and now is a great opportunity to think about future-forward advertising solutions.

What is Cookie Deprecation?

For many years, there has been a movement to lean away from reliance of cookies; these changes stem from a number of factors, including privacy concerns that many users have about third-party cookies. Although cookies can be valuable tools that help target online ads to the appropriate website visitors— promoting smooth internet traffic and a streamlined experience— many users are increasingly wary of internet privacy and how their cookies are being used. Additionally, some of the intended applications of cookies were not as effective in practice as many advertisers would have hoped and can feel invasive rather than persuasive. We’ve all experienced that moment when we look at an item for five seconds and then that item seems to follow us in our ads for months!

Thus, over the past several years, browsers have started to redefine their cookie use based on user demand. Apple was the first major company to deprecate cookies on its browser and later other notable browsers like Mozilla’s Firefox followed. Although Google does not plan to entirely deprecate third-party cookies until the end of 2024, the company has stated its intention since 2019 and has gradually been promoting its privacy initiatives while also trying to balance the needs of advertisers.

These changes were not only user driver, they also reflect regulatory initiatives that have been happening around the world. In 2018, the European Union introduced the General Data Protection Regulation, which was spurred by the Cambridge Analytica scandal but had been in the works since 2012. This regulation gave users more power over their data and has spread regulations across the world, including in many U.S. states. Laws continue to be written, so it only makes sense that companies like Google are recognizing a need to change with the changes around them.

Cookie deprecation responds to these demands by phasing out third-party cookies, which represent all the cookies that are created by domains outside the one you are directly interacting with. Thus, these cookies represent advertising campaigns that target you by using your data browsing. First-party cookies will still be allowed by Chrome, but third-party cookies will become a thing of the past.

Why Cookie Deprecation Matters

For businesses that traditionally rely on third-party cookies for their targeted advertising, cookie deprecation is a big deal, and Google has already stated that it will not introduce alternative identifiers that track users’ activities. However, Google also has outlined new privacy-focused ad targeting strategies that do not rely on cookies, but rather on AI and first-party data.

It’s important to understand the nature of these changes so you can make adjustments to your marketing strategy accordingly and not only know what you will no longer be able to do but also know what you can still do. For instance, when people are logged into Google, businesses can target customers on Google entities. Google also plans to find other privacy-compliant solutions going forward to maintain a relationship with marketers that benefits everyone. For the time being, you must address your business strategy based on current and burgeoning protocols.

What You Can Do

For companies looking to make the best decisions as Google rolls out their Chrome cookie deprecation plan, there’s clear precedence of how to handle this situation. After all, cookie deprecation has already happened on Apple’s browser, Safari, which is not as used as Chrome but still has more than a billion users around the world. There are plenty of opportunities that do not rely on cookies and businesses can shift their focus accordingly.

Businesses have all the tools they need to change their approach to marketing. The starting point is to embrace dynamic and versatile marketing. It is advisable to always have a toolkit of marketing initiatives rather than relying on just one area of marketing. Diverse marketing helps prepare businesses for the future and reach deeper audiences. There are plenty of targeting approaches that have nothing to do with cookies.

It’s also important to start using data in new ways. Many of the measurements used for mobile and digital marketing is impacted by third-party cookie deprecation, so you want to look to other measurement techniques that look beyond cookies. You can also turn to zero or first-party data collection to better target; however, you should always be transparent and upfront when collecting this data. Data is a tool any marketing campaign needs, but the way you use it can evolve.

The good news is that you have time to experiment with change before third-party cookies are fully gone from Google Chrome, so take advantage of this time to find strategies and solutions that prepare you for a long and bright future.

Working Around Cookies With Sparklight Advertising

At Sparklight, we keep up with the changing industry by moving with current trends rather than trying to resist them. We love helping our clients make marketing decisions that are creative and don’t rely on cookies to get results. We create holistic advertising campaigns that give our clients the dynamic and effective approach they need to succeed. Contact us, and we’ll be happy to get you started on this new stage in your advertising journey.


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