There's a good chance you're thinking; "I've heard about the death of the cookie for the past 6 years, why hasn't it died yet?"
The answer; it’s too important and profitable for major advertisers.
Advertisers tracking pixels can be used in tandem with cookies to track user behaviors and the activities they’re engaging with across the web. Chrome’s massive user base means they’re sitting on a gold mine of tracking opportunities for advertisers to leverage for targeting. In short, it's too profitable for Google to drop without a plan to recoup this lost revenue. This is the reason we’ve seen them push back their plans to kill the cookie 4 different times now until 2024. It's taken a while but Google has finally developed a solution they can transition customers over to once the cookie has been eliminated. According to Google;
"By Q3 2023, we expect the Privacy Sandbox APIs to be launched and generally available in Chrome. As developers adopt these APIs, we now intend to begin phasing out third-party cookies in Chrome in the second half of 2024."
Cookies were a helpful way to provide consumers with more relevant advertisements. They also made it affordable to effectively reach your audience across the internet through programmatic tech. As time went on more and more activity was being tracked and more data points were being triangulated. With more cookie information being tracked more software was needed to connect 3rd part cookie information across platforms. This created laggy user experiences with platforms as back-end cookie syncing was processed.
Cookieless targeting will lead to a better version of advertising for consumers and brands. While cookie targeting is a cheap way for advertisers to serve impressions of their ads to a large audience, it is proven to be ridden with issues.
Advertisers became so obsessed with the effectiveness of personalized ads that it was only a matter of time before things went too far. Across the industry, you’d hear advertisers post-rationalizing how it’s somehow beneficial to consumers for them to know intimate details of individual strangers' lives.
Phasing cookies out of advertising won't stop advertisers from using consumer data in nefarious ways but it’s a huge step in the right direction.
One of the replacements for cookies will be the Universal ID. Universal IDs are developed by 1st party data sets. It’s essentially one single identifier for a user instead of a combination of cookies. These identifiers are able to be passed along across approved partners. One of the core principles of UID will be around consumers having the choice to opt-in and out of how much information they’re willing to share.
The switch over to UID will severely limit the amount of data that advertisers can leverage and increase the cost of targeting. However, the accuracy of targeting will be far superior, which should result in better media efficiency.
We're excited about a new era of advertising. Brands are going to need to place greater importance on creativity. They'll need to be creative in where and how they show up to reach their audiences. We should expect to see more experiences brought to life through brands. We're already seeing advertisers focusing more on the contextual alignment of their media. So here's to an era filled with inspiring creatives and engaging ads that earn attention.