On July 27, 2022, Google announced that they are postponing the deprecation of third-party cookies on Chrome, the web browsing market leader, to 2024.
Back in June 2021, Google previously declared that third-party cookies would be no more from 2023 onwards. The latest delay stems from Google’s new privacy initiative, namely, the Google Privacy Sandbox.
What is the Google Privacy Sandbox?
The Privacy Sandbox is an initiative by Google to develop an alternative to third-party cookies. When third-party cookies go away, it will become difficult for marketers to continue interest-based targeting methods online. The Privacy Sandbox intends to provide an avenue for these marketing use cases while preserving user privacy.
One way Google achieves this is by using “Topics”, an API in the sandbox that will share one topic per week with participating websites. This prevents companies from being able to identify individuals since only one broad topic is shared. It also avoids sensitive categories, further bolstering user privacy.
Google has been testing this, along with many other APIs, over the last few months, and the resounding feedback received from developers, publishers, and marketers alike is that 2023 is too soon to roll out this initiative. Google’s VP of Privacy Sandbox, Anthony Chavez, had the following to say on the delay of third-party cookie deprecation.
“The most consistent feedback we’ve received is the need for more time to evaluate and test the new Privacy Sandbox technologies before deprecating third-party cookies in Chrome. This deliberate approach to transitioning from third-party cookies ensures that the web can continue to thrive, without relying on cross-site tracking identifiers or covert techniques like fingerprinting.”
He lays out the timeline for the Privacy Sandbox rollout as well as the new schedule for third-party cookies going away as well.
“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. As always, you can find up-to-date timelines and milestones on the Privacy Sandbox website.”
What does this mean for your organization?
With the extended lease of life on third-party cookies, your organization’s marketing efforts can continue to operate as usual. However, taking the initiative to move your marketing strategies toward first-party and zero-party data will pay major dividends in the future.
These two types of data together form earned data, which is a collection of behavioral data gleaned through website activity, purchase history, and other engagement metrics, along with data submitted by your customers. Making the shift from third-party cookies to earned data ensures you get the most accurate information on your customer base while building trust with them, as the data you’ve received has been submitted by them with a clear value proposition in mind. Collecting earned data and using it effectively with other marketing platforms to ensure regular communication, customer engagement, and constant optimization is the key to success as relationships with customers and brands continue to evolve in the direction of increased personalization.
When testing for the Privacy Sandbox starts to reach more concrete stages towards next year, make sure to keep up with the API launches and learn more about how your organization can take advantage of these APIs to continue to market effectively in a cookieless world.