Marketing: Disrupted and Simplified (Part 11)

Execution Stayed

Google’s recent announcement that it would delay the deprecation of third-party cookies by almost two years to late 2023 brought a variety of reactions:

CNet: “The delay comes amid intensifying pressure on Silicon Valley giants to fix the internet’s privacy problem. Laws like Europe’s GDPR and the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) target the data collection that Google and other companies want for fine tuning the advertisements they deliver. The ad tech industry doesn’t have forever to change course because anyone dissatisfied with Chrome’s pace has abundant alternatives…One part of Google’s rationale for pushing back its plan is that moving too fast will encourage tracking companies to use sneakier tracking methods than cookies. One such method, fingerprinting, uses trackers to gather browser configuration details, such as the version you’re using and which fonts you’ve downloaded. With enough of those details, trackers can identify you accurately…Google is working on revisions to FLOC, too.”

AdExchanger: “News of Chrome’s delay in killing off third-party cookies is a shock: Ad tech companies and publishers have been working in overdrive to transition away from third-party identifiers and to adapt to Google’s Privacy Sandbox in time for change next year. Agencies have also pressed brand clients to onboard new identity vendors and cookieless targeting technology, with a sense of urgency driven by Google’s deadline. Some in the industry may not be surprised to hear that Google is delaying the policy change. The FLEDGE trials – early tests of some Privacy Sandbox proposals – have been delayed as well, until late this year or early next. That wouldn’t leave much time for the U.K. Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) to approve changes and for developers to adopt new privacy technology…Third-party cookies won’t disappear like a flip of the switch. Instead, think of it as a slow dimmer.”

Gizmodo: “While nobody’s a fan of the creepy tech that tracks and targets us across the web, Google’s initial plans to kill them off received a fair bit of flack for a few reasons. First, privacy advocates have pointed out time and time again that the tool that Google planned as a replacement for cookies—called “Federated Learning of Cohorts, or FLoC, for short—was riddled with privacy problems that even cookies didn’t have. Meanwhile, the way FLoC was designed seemed almost engineered to give Google an even bigger chunk of the digital ad market, when it already controls more of the market than literally any other tech company on Earth.”

Martech: “[The decision]…surely reflects both the confusion among advertisers and publishers confronted by a multitude of alternative identifiers, few of which claim to be able to identify non-logged in users (the vast majority), as well as hurdles facing Google’s proposed alternative, FLoC, including difficulties with European regulators. Many advertisers have rightfully been worried about what the rollout of Google’s privacy initiatives and the blocking of third-party cookies means for their metrics and their clients. This delay means that there is an opportunity for search marketers’ concerns to be heard by the tech giant and that there is more time to prepare for the major changes — including finding technology solutions that adjust when cookies are deprecated, figuring out a first-party data strategy, and pulling data from other sources.”

Rowan Merewood: “It’s time to plan *your own* roadmap for what needs to happen with third-party cookies on your sites and services! In other words… Ask not when third-party cookies will be phased out – ask when you can phase out third-party cookies on your site.”

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Rajesh Jain

An Entrepreneur based in Mumbai, India.

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