So, in response to users demanding greater privacy and transparency over how data is used, Google have announced that they will be blocking third-party cookies on its Chrome browser within the next two years as part of their Privacy Sandbox initiative.
This might sound ground-breaking at first, but Safari and Firefox have already blocked third-party cookies so really Google are a little late to the party.
What are third-party cookies?
Put simply, third-party cookies are cookies that are set by a website to track which other sites you’re visiting. For example, you might visit website A and click a button which stores a cookie on your computer. The owners of site A will then be able to see that you’ve visited website B.
Third-party cookies are mostly used for tracking and online-advertising purposes, such as ad-retargeting.
What does Google’s cookie block mean for marketers?
Before you run around screaming “the end of online advertising is nigh!” know that Google would never do that…it’s literally what pays their bills (and then some). This move is less about blocking all advertising, and more about striking a balance between user privacy and marketing data.
In place of third-party cookies, Google plan on rolling out new technologies which allow marketers to target demographics rather than specific individuals. The so-called Privacy Sandbox initiative is an open source created to create a solution that works for users, publishers, and advertisers.
However, there are concerns about the future impact on adtech companies. Vendors’ stocks have crashed, and fears of immediate loss of some programmatic revenue have been expressed.
What happens next?
Google have said it will start limiting cookies in Chrome from February. Justin Schuh, Director for Chrome Engineering, has said that Google has an “intention” to block all third-party cookies within two years and encourages technology vendors who rely on the web for business to engage with the feedback and testing groups.
For others, it’s a case of wait and see what happens. After all, we all know that a lot can happen online in two years.
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