Google delays phasing out of third-party cookies again. What now? – Marketing dive | Region & Cash

In the latest change to its self-imposed schedule, Google has again delayed the retirement of third-party cookies in Chrome. The exit now begins in the second half of 2024, rather than 2023 as announced last year, marking the tech giant’s latest course correction.

The new delay comes as the picture of a future without cookies has yet to come into focus, despite clear warnings from experts and shifting priorities from marketers. To make matters worse, Google has attempted to replace some of the functionality of third-party cookies by introducing several privacy sandbox proposals that have not found widespread acceptance.

“The most consistent feedback we’ve received is the need for more time to evaluate and test the new Privacy Sandbox technologies before rejecting third-party cookies in Chrome,” wrote Anthony Chavez, vice president of Privacy Sandbox, in a blog post announcing this new timeline. “This deliberate approach to third-party cookie transition ensures the web can continue to thrive without relying on cross-site tracking identifiers or covert techniques like fingerprinting.”

Fingerprinting is a mostly hidden tracking method that collects data about internet users.

The advertising world will now have more time to test the Privacy Sandbox — which is due to be rolled out and generally available by Q3 2023 — along with other privacy-focused identity solutions that have had their own testing and approval issues. However, many industry experts emphasized that despite Google’s transition, stakeholders should no longer delay the implementation of their plans to move away from third-party cookies, especially given the proliferation of cookie-free environments.

“Now is the time for publishers and marketers to take control of their destiny and move from cookie-based identity to personal identity,” said Travis Clinger, senior vice president of addressability and ecosystem for identity platform LiveRamp, in an emailed Mail sent comment. “Delaying the move just means continuing to cheat yourself out of better performance.”

Testing new solutions

Google’s recent announcement could be both a blessing and a curse for ad stakeholders working to develop and implement post-cookie plans for tracking and measurement. While the delay buys more time, it also adds ambiguity to the ready screen, both inside and outside of Google’s privacy sandbox.

“Companies investing development resources in initiatives such as independent web IDs may now face an additional setback as these alternatives may not be needed in the short term as Google continues to push the deadline,” said Matt Engstrom, vice president of marketing at ad-tech platform Digital Remedy, in a comment via email.

The delay came as no surprise to some experts, especially those who are observing not only the development and adoption rate of cookieless solutions, but also the problems with leading privacy sandbox proposals such as Topics and FLEDGE (First Locally-Executed Decision over Groups Experiment ). .

Martech company RTB House was actively involved in the FLEDGE study and invited over 2,700 advertisers worldwide to test the API. However, testing was plagued by several issues, including API availability bottlenecks in Chrome and the failure of supply-side platforms (SSPs) to deliver a compatible solution that delivers publisher ad inventory to demand-side platforms (DSPs). would provide. in process.

With these unanswered questions, it remains imperative for Google to explain how its timeline’s transition periods will work and to better educate the industry about its tools, according to Łukasz Wlodarczyk, vice president of programmatic ecosystem growth and innovation at RTB House.

“We see a great need for Google to decisively combat fingerprinting mechanisms before introducing FLEDGE on a larger scale. Otherwise, the market will shift away from cookies in favor of these privacy-invasive tools, rather than real improvement in the form of dedicated privacy-preserving marketing APIs,” Wlodarczyk said in a statement.

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