The Alphabet Inc company announced yesterday that Google’s Chrome web browser will not fully block tracking cookies until late 2023. The move to delay blocking third party cookies by almost two years comes as a response to the antitrust concerns from competitors and regulators.
According to Reuters, Google had wanted to bar reams of ad-personalisation companies from gathering users’ browsing interests through cookies from January 2022. However, rivals have accused the world’s biggest online ads seller by revenue of using improved privacy as a pretence to gain greater market share.
“We need to move at a responsible pace, allowing sufficient time for public discussion on the right solutions and for publishers and the advertising industry to migrate their services,” Vinay Goel, privacy engineering director for Chrome wrote in a blog post.
Third party cookies have been trending significantly in 2021 due to Apple’s decision to ban the cross-website tracker and Google’s prior announcement that it will phase it out by 2022.
Third-party cookies offer valuable data for advertisers to use when strategising their targeted ads, measuring its effectiveness and stopping fraud. However, with the increase in discussion surrounding user privacy, the way third party cookies track an individual’s personal browsing also raised privacy concerns, leading to Google’s announcement.
As it announced the decision to delay the move, Google has also said that it is working with the ad industry on technologies that could replace the tracking capabilities of cookies while better protecting online privacy.
While critics have questioned the effectiveness of alternatives, they also added that Google can only benefit from the elimination of third-party cookies because it can continue collecting similar data through YouTube, search and its other popular systems.
We contacted some industry experts to weight in their two cents. Here’s what they had to say:
President of the Malaysia Digital Association (MDA), Nicholas Sagau, said he believes Google’s decision to delay blocking tracking cookies will help the industry because based on the engagement with local industry players, many are still not ready to face the scale impact of a cookie-less world on their products and businesses.
“There needs to be a lot more education and understanding about its impact and most importantly what other solutions are available,” Nicholas told MARKETING Magazine. “Then there is the question of investment and implementation which can take time especially in setting up collecting and managing own data/cookies.”
Nicholas added that based on his experience, this process can take at least 3 to 6 months and hence why the announcement to delay the move is good news. “I encourage everyone to start planning for their respective business especially those who have high depends on third party cookie,” Nicholas said.
According to Head of Annalect, Daler Kendzhaev, what Google has announced is not very surprising considering the complexity of this initiative, its development and regulations. Daler says what this means to advertisers and stakeholders is primarily centered around utilising this time to their advantage.We have more time to plan, implement, test, adjust and learn. Although Google has extended the timelines, this doesn’t mean that companies should put aside the action plan for 3P cookies deprecating. This will still happen and all the strategies, tech stack and solutions we were working on are still valid. And that’s where the beauty of Omni, Omnicom’s precision marketing platform, comes in with it’s flexibility to adopt the right solutions to meet ever-changing landscape.
“We have more time for better collaboration and for the whole of industry to come together and come up with the right solutions for the open web, that will address the concerns and work for all the stakeholders,” Daler said. “While cookie deprecation is delayed, we shouldn’t forget about the reality of the mobile environment and that a huge portion of inventory are on mobile”.
Lastly, Daler recommends brands to continue focusing on the action plan for cookie deprecation and re-think the mobile approach and strategies, putting customer experience and privacy first.
According to Head of Marketing for Mudah.my, Andrew Pinto, user privacy is of the utmost importance to all publishers and from his initial feedback from brands, agencies, adtech providers and publishers, the delay from Google is welcomed.
“At the end of the day, I do believe that brands and end users will see the biggest impact from the removal (without a viable alternative) while agencies, adtech providers and publishers act as the middlemen between brands and users,” Andrew said. “They will pass the cost to brands causing an increase in acquisition cost and for most brands dealing with the impact of COVID-19, this will directly impact their bottomline.”
MDA’s first virtual ‘Digital Wednesday Lite’ for 2021, hosted in March, discussed the impact a cookie-less world will have on marketers.
Read the full recap of the conversation on the cookie apocalypse here.
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