Here we go again.
In what is starting to feel an awful lot like a Groundhog Day-like phenomenon, Google has once again announced it will be delaying third-party cookie deprecation in its Chrome browser—this time until the second half of 2024. The search and digital advertising giant said it was doing so to provide advertisers, adtech companies, and other stakeholders more time to evaluate and test its proprietary Privacy Sandbox tools.
So: what does this mean for digital advertisers?
In the short term, the new Chrome target date gives individuals in the industry a chance to catch their breath, continue evaluating their options, and (as Google itself noted) test the Privacy Sandbox API before they’re fully cut-off from cookies. Chrome has significant market share (65% worldwide as of June 2022) so this delay likely provides a little breathing room and, for many, a small sense of relief.
What it does not affect, however, is the larger mission of creating a digital ad targeting solution that satisfies all parties and, most importantly, respects consumers.
As we’ve noted in an open letter from our founder and CEO, Shawn Riegsecker, Basis Technologies believes that third-party cookie deprecation is a unique opportunity for the advertising industry to address its consumer privacy shortcomings. Many of the privacy solutions under development are simply exploiting loopholes and circumventing legislation—not targeting the real issue. And since they are not actually respecting the rising calls for increased data privacy, the success of these loophole-solutions will inevitably be short-lived.
But the truth is that, like it or not, the advertising industry will have to wean itself off of third-party cookies. Whether that means embracing Google Topics, tapping contextual targeting more often, or hunting for that as-yet-illusive “magic solution” that will replace cookies while affording more online anonymity, consumers and regulators alike have made it clear that privacy must be an industry priority.
2022 has seen an array of new privacy-focused regulation and legislative proposals, both in the US and abroad. Meanwhile, non-Google browsers like Apple’s Safari, Mozilla’s Firefox, and others have long since given third-party cookies the boot, and a remarkable 86% of consumers say they feel a growing concern about data privacy.
As for what we’re doing, Basis Technologies is proactively adapting to the changing needs of the industry and consumers, and we are prepared for embracing the shift toward a privacy-first future. Our software and services teams are filled with strategic leaders, digital media domain experts, and technical authorities—all well-versed in targeting and identity—and we are committed to implementing real solutions, not just stopgaps.
So, does this latest delay change how marketers should think about (or prepare for) third-party cookie deprecation? Not really. It just means we’ll have an extra year to make sure we get it right.