Actually, the use of third-party cookies in Google’s Chrome browser was scheduled to end in 2023. But it has turned out that more time is needed than thought for implementing a successful follow-up solution. Read more about this here.
Third-party cookies and their significance
It’s been clear for years that time is running out for the use of third-party cookies. These small, coded snippets enable companies to track users of their website and follow their user behaviour on the Internet. But due to data privacy reasons, more and more browsers are relying less and less on the use of such third-party cookies. This is because these can store sensitive information such as usernames, addresses, phone numbers or bank information, which opens the door then for potential abuse of personal data. However, in turn, cookie-based targeting today always requires the consent of the website visitor.
For advertisers, these third-party cookies are still significant today. The cookies help to gain precise information about the user so that advertising can be displayed that matches their preferences. When it comes to retargeting, for instance, this is currently essential – allowing companies to remind users of their offers via ads, emails or other communication channels. For instance: a user is searching the Internet for screws and, as a result, is shown offers from this segment across all possible websites.
Google Chrome postpones the end of cookies to 2024
In their Firefox browser, Mozilla integrated a total cookie protection (TCP) in the standard settings in 2022. This measure effectively keeps tracking cookies from following users across several websites. Apple’s Safari browser was even faster: it started to block all cookies from third parties back in 2020 as a standard.
The most popular browser in Germany by far, with a market share of roughly 40 per cent, Chrome from Google actually wanted to catch up in 2022, but those responsible for this move have postponed it to the end of 2023 due to a lack of real alternatives for the advertising industry. Now the company has announced that this timeline cannot be kept to either. The new goal for ending the use of third-party cookies is planned for the second half of 2024.
Replacement technologies – these are the alternatives
Indeed, there are a host of alternative tracking technologies which aim to enable companies to collect data from visitors without infringing on their privacy. But a fully matured, one-to-one replacement for third-party cookies is still not available for advertisers.
Google personally has developed the Privacy Sandbox, through which as many aspects as possible will continue to be possible for personalised advertising – however without allowing companies to monitor the activities of end users to the same extent. But the technology is still in the test phase –the feedback to date has been very clear: more time is needed to review and implement the new technology.
For many experts in the industry, context-based advertising forms the basis for the future of online marketing. Precise communication with the target groups, and the advertising needed for this, are not based on personal data and interests with this approach, but on context and keywords. The advertising content is then displayed when the topic is in line with the content on the publisher’s respective website.
At the same time, advertisers could try in future to motivate customers to share their data with them by leveraging discounts, sales or other promotions – without having to fall back on the use of third-party cookies.