Google Delays Blocking 3rd-Party Cookies Until 2024

Last week, Google announced they are delaying plans to block third-party cookies...again. 

Google’s VP of Privacy Sandbox, Anthony Chavez, stated the company is now aiming to adopt the alternative technology in the “second half of 2024”.

Chavez noted that most of the feedback received is “the need for more time to evaluate and test the new Privacy Sandbox technologies before deprecating third-party cookies in Chrome,” ensuring the industry has a sufficient amount of time to properly adopt these new solutions.

 

Why it Matters

Most advertisers depend on cookies to reach customers and prospects online. Chrome users exercising a future option to block cookie tracking will leave advertisers with gap-ridden data and inaccurate tracking. In the meantime, behavioral and browsing data will be limited, basic capabilities like A/B testing will be a challenge, and attribution and data analytics will be less accurate and effective. 

And it appears that advertisers will continue to be stuck in limbo for a little while longer as we try to navigate this pivot. It’s not the first time we’ve faced a delay; Google originally planned to make the switch by 2022 before pushing plans out to late 2023 last June. 

Advertisers who might be celebrating this delay and pushing back plans to adapt to a cookieless future should think twice about procrastinating and instead begin testing the Sandbox APIs as soon as possible. Beginning in early August, the Privacy Sandbox trials will expand to millions of users globally to gradually increase the trial population. And those who test and get comfortable with a new strategy now will be ahead of the game; according to this article by Epsilon, “despite the understanding of importance and concern, fewer than half (46%) [of advertisers] feel ‘very prepared’ for the change.”

And the stakes of adaptation are definitely high, as marketers are aware. A recent survey by GetApp, which provided HubSpot with exclusive data, discovered that: 

  • 41% of marketers believe their biggest challenge will be their inability to track the right data.
  • 44% of marketers predict a need to increase their spending by 5% to 25% in order to reach the same goals as 2021.
  • 23% of marketing experts plan on investing in email marketing software to counteract the effects of Google’s new policy.

 

What’s Ahead

More time to prepare for this major change is, of course, a good thing for companies motivated to use the time wisely. Many advertisers, marketers and data engineers alike have begun looking for new solutions, including leveraging first-party data by implementing enhanced conversions; they’re also reverting back to earlier strategies, like contextual advertising. 

To make you as safe as possible from future governance or monopoly-related policies, brainstorm strategies that you can use to reach your audiences without cookies, hyper-targeted ads, or mass amounts of data, and consider new measurement systems–such as implementing a first-party tag or a first-party data marketing focused strategy–that enable accurate post-cookie tracking of audience engagement as well. At minimum, you’ll need to invest in infrastructure for secure data collection, such as a CRM, and server-side tagging functionality through Google Tag Manager, Segment, or Tealium.

As difficult as this change has been, and will continue to be, this opens up doors to new technological innovation and a more privacy-safe browsing environment. 

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