Jun 24 2021
Aubrey Lehrmann

Centro on Google’s Plan to Delay Third-Party Cookie Blocking


Centro’s Director of Product Marketing breaks down our response to Google’s recent announcement.

The News from Google

The topic of identity is changing by the minute. The amount of information and updates on privacy and third-party cookies can feel overwhelming to marketers looking to stay ahead of the game. Our teams at Centro and Basis are tracking these updates and helping marketers understand their impact. Are you confused by the changes? Reach out! We’re here to help.

Today, news broke that Google has delayed the release of cookie-blocking in Chrome until late 2023, a significant delay in a lightning-fast conversation. At Centro, we believe this is a healthy move for our industry. This pause will ideally create a solution that is a win for all parties.

Google’s Chrome browser has a 67% market share, but accounts for approximately 76% of webpage views, according to Centro's internal data. This represents a massive and motivating number of impressions.

With that volume on the line and a short window, many companies sprinted toward solutions—some good and some lacking—when Google first announced cookie blocking. Others adopted a wait-and-see strategy. Basis has taken an active role by developing cookieless conversions (currently in beta), building an identity testing framework (also in beta), releasing a contextual insights report, and integrating LiveRamp’s IdentityLink.

The initial deadline, while aggressive, kickstarted solutions and brought a lot of needed attention to this issue. What the industry needs now is time. Ad tech providers need time to refine identity solutions. Advertisers need time to prepare their targeting and analytics strategies. Publishers need time to adjust their revenue models.

Centro’s Stance on the Future of Consumer Privacy

As we’ve previously published in an open letter from Centro’s founder and CEO, the privacy discussion is an opportunity to address the real problem of consumer privacy, and become better as an industry. Many of the privacy solutions being developed are simply exploiting loopholes and circumventing the legislation, instead of targeting the real issue. Any success with these loophole-solutions will be short-lived, since they are not respecting the rising concern for data privacy.

Chrome’s new target date does not change the mission to create a solution that satisfies all parties and, most importantly, respects users. Chrome has significant market share, so this delay provides a little breathing room and a small sense of relief.

However, the truth is that privacy regulation is in various stages across different avenues. We have been experiencing cookie loss from Safari, Firefox, Apple’s iOS, and others for a while now. Basis has proactively adapted, and is prepared for continuing privacy changes. Our software and services teams are filled with strategic leaders, digital media domain experts, and technical authorities, all well-versed in identity.

What’s Next?

Does this delay change how marketers should prepare for cookie loss? Not really—we just have some extra time to thoughtfully prepare. There should still be a sense of urgency.

Here are our recommendations on preparing for privacy changes:

Alternatives to Third-Party Audiences:

  • Third-party data will still be impacted, but to a lesser extent in the short term. This is a great time to collect and implement consented first-party data strategies. Basis will be integrating with LiveRamp’s Identity Link solution in Q4.
  • Get familiar with alternative, privacy-centric targeting methods now, to ensure you can find your targets when Chrome’s privacy changes do hit. Basis can help you buy privacy-friendly inventory with direct publishers, via PMPs, and on the open market leveraging contextual targeting.

Performance Tracking that Doesn’t Rely Solely on Cookies:

  • If you’re using Facebook or Google, dive into their conversion modeling. These models are already helping to fill in the gaps on conversions that can't be tracked due to existing cookie loss from Safari, Firefox and others.
  • Automate your optimizations. Technologies like AI and Machine Learning Optimizers in Basis analyze data from over 30 targeting parameters to dynamically create real-time smart bidding models to improve performance without relying heavily on cookies.

Looking for more guidance on how to prepare for a privacy-first future? Check out our write-up of three groups working toward innovative identity solutions.