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Impact and Strategies: Google’s Delayed Third-Party Cookie Deprecation

By Danielle Christenson

April 25, 2024

Google Delays Third Party Cookies Deprecation

Once again, Google has postponed its deadline for phasing out third-party cookies, now pushing it to early 2025. This marks the third delay, providing a crucial extension for paid media marketing agencies and businesses to adapt to the impending cookie-free environment.

Background on Cookie Deprecation

Google is not alone in its quest to phase out third-party cookies; this is a path already trodden by other major browsers. Safari and Firefox, for instance, have instituted stricter privacy measures, with some completely banning third-party cookies. 

Initially, Google planned to join these ranks by the end of 2024, proposing in January 2020 to align Chrome with widespread industry efforts to bolster user privacy. However, Google’s journey has been notably more intricate due to its significant reliance on these cookies’ advertising revenues.

Behind the Delay: The Complex Path to Cookie Deprecation

Several key challenges have surfaced for Google that have contributed to the delay. These hurdles reflect the complexity of the task and the significant repercussions it bears on the broader digital ecosystem, including privacy, market dynamics and Google’s very real reliance on ad revenue.

The delay is attributed to five core challenges:

  • Balancing Feedback: Google has encountered considerable feedback from various stakeholders, including advertisers, developers, privacy advocates and others within the digital ecosystem. This feedback has been diverse and sometimes conflicting, necessitating ongoing discussions and adjustments to balance the needs and concerns of all parties involved.
  • Regulatory Reviews: Regulatory bodies, particularly the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), have been crucial in overseeing Google’s proposed changes. The CMA has requested more time to thoroughly assess the results from industry tests to ensure that Google’s new frameworks, like the Privacy Sandbox, do not harm competition and adequately address privacy concerns. This process is meticulous and requires Google to provide detailed evidence and possibly revise their approaches based on the feedback from these regulatory entities.
  • Antitrust Concerns: A key component of the regulatory review involves addressing concerns that Google’s changes might unfairly advantage its own products at the expense of competitors. Before proceeding, Google must resolve these competition-related issues with the CMA and the UK Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO). This involves ensuring that the proposed new systems do not reinforce Google’s dominance in the advertising market or hinder the operational capabilities of other market players.
  • Technical Readiness: The technical challenges associated with replacing third-party cookies are significant. Google and other industry participants need more time to develop, test and refine these technologies. Additionally, the market as a whole requires time to adapt to these significant changes, requiring educational efforts and infrastructure adjustments across the board.
  • Privacy Concerns: With increasing global attention to data privacy, Google must ensure that its new technologies and frameworks align with existing and emerging privacy laws and regulations. This alignment, as detailed in Google’s Privacy Policy, is crucial for compliance and maintaining user trust and positive public perception.

Maximizing the Cookie Transition

Let’s be clear: cookies are set to be deprecated. 


Since that day is not today, digital marketers have a golden opportunity to refine their strategies and enhance team dynamics. Here are a few approaches and actions to make the most of this opportunity:

Leverage Extended Timeline

Like finding an extra $20 bill in our jeans, the delay in removing third-party cookies gives marketers a sweet surprise: extra time to improve their data management. This extra time enables testing new strategies and adjusting to less third-party data, establishing a base for sustainable marketing.

Try these while you wait: 

  • Review current data collection methods to identify reliance on third-party data.
  • Create incentives for users to willingly share data directly through interactive content, surveys and personalized experiences.
  • Strengthen data security measures to protect the integrity and privacy of the data collected.
  • Develop a phased plan to implement new data strategies that minimize disruption to ongoing campaigns.
  • Use the extended timeline to experiment with new technologies and strategies in smaller, controlled tests.

Prioritize First-Party Data

Collecting and using first-party data is crucial for creating personalized experiences and accurate audience insights. A strong first-party data system ensures that marketing is compliant and effective, boosting customer loyalty and increasing returns on investment.

Give these a go: 

  • Encourage user registration to increase first-party data collection through sign-ups, memberships and subscriptions.
  • Integrate CRM systems more deeply into digital touchpoints to effectively capture and centralize first-party data.
  • Employ Data Management Platforms (DMPs) to organize and activate first-party data across marketing channels.
  • Use first-party data to power personalization engines that tailor content, offers and experiences to individual preferences.
  • Develop processes to periodically audit the data for accuracy, relevancy and compliance with privacy laws.

Contextualize Advertising Approaches

Marketers should adjust their strategies to emphasize intent-based advertising approaches—placing ads that align with user intent and content context rather than solely on user behavior. This shift adheres to privacy-focused changes and maintains engagement without infringing on user privacy. Businesses can effectively navigate the evolving digital ecosystem by reassessing and adapting their strategies to prioritize the context and intent behind where ads are placed.

Here are some ideas:

  • Develop algorithms or use AI to analyze the context and relevance of content where ads are placed.
  • Use technologies like natural language processing to better understand page content for more effective ad placement.
  • Work with platforms known for strong intent or contextual targeting capabilities.
  • Tailor ad creatives to fit the content themes of the websites they appear on.
  • Track how changes in ad placement strategies affect user engagement and refine approaches based on data-driven insights.

Adopt Privacy Sandbox

Embracing Google’s Privacy Sandbox is crucial for marketers to balance effective advertising with user privacy. This suite of tools enables personalized advertising without individual user data, using aggregated information to protect identities while delivering relevant ads. Early adoption of Privacy Sandbox will help organizations adapt to ad tech changes and stay competitive as privacy standards evolve.

Explore these options:

  • Conduct training sessions to familiarize your marketing and IT teams with the tools and principles of the Privacy Sandbox.
  • Start integrating Privacy Sandbox APIs like FLoC (Federated Learning of Cohorts) and FLEDGE into your advertising platforms.
  • Ensure your privacy policies reflect the changes and enhancements made using the Privacy Sandbox technologies.
  • Develop processes to regularly monitor the effectiveness of advertising campaigns using Sandbox tools and adjust strategies as needed.

Preparing for a Cookie-Less World

Challenges and opportunities arise as we move towards a future without third-party cookies. Just ask Google who moved the goalposts (again.) 

This extended timeline is not just a delay, but a chance for marketers to refine their data practices and strengthen their marketing strategies. Embracing this change can enhance consumer connections, set new standards in digital privacy and elevate performance.

Need help navigating this transition? Reach out to Noble Studios to optimize your first-party data strategy.

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