Google’s decision to delay deprecating third-party cookies in Chrome next year (2025) has sparked some mixed reactions in the advertising industry. Some advertisers feel relieved at the decision, but everyone relaxing right now must realize that this is a postponement and not a cancellation.

In 2020, Google announced a two-year plan to phase out third-party cookies, but by February 2022, the first delay set in, with the plan extended to late 2023. By January 2024, the shift occurred again, aiming for mid-2024. The most recent update in April 2024 is that there is another new end date for the third-party cookie cancellation: early 2025.

Given the changes and progression, we can see the nature of digital advertising and the challenges in adapting to new privacy standards. An extended timeline offers prep time for advertising companies but emphasizes the importance of developing an alternative solution for user tracking and better-targeted advertising. Businesses must be agile and remain proactive in their digital marketing strategies when the industry is busy navigating these challenges.

Google Announces It Will Not Complete Third-Party Cookie Deprecation in 2024 – Why the Delay?

Two main factors contribute to Google’s decision to delay the phase-out of third-party cookies in Chrome. These are:

Industry Concerns

Both developers and marketers have expressed feedback and concerns. Many people in the industry have emphasized the need for time to adapt to the changes while exploring alternative solutions. Google has a Privacy Sandbox Initiative, which aims to offer alternative tracking mechanisms to third-party cookies, but this will take more time to refine and develop. With a delay in the third-party cookie changes, stakeholders have a little more time to implement new technologies. Ultimately, this will ensure a smoother transition and remove too many disruptions.

Regulatory Scrutiny and Competition Concerns

Another concerning factor is increased scrutiny surrounding regulations and the antitrust investigations that Google faces. The UK’s Competition and Markets Authority—the CMA—has raised many concerns about Google’s dominant position in the digital advertising market. Along with the potential impact on competition, regulatory pressure has nudged Google into considering addressing these concerns in advance. This should be done before entirely phasing out third-party cookies.

The Latest Update

Google’s decision to delay the completion of third-party cookie deprecation has significant implications for advertisers and agencies. With Google extending its timeline, advertisers are waiting for what comes next.

We discussed the reasons for the delay earlier, but it’s essential to understand that the CMA has been investigating the Privacy Sandbox Initiative closely. Concerns have been expressed about Google’s proposals’ impact on competition in the digital advertising market. AdTech companies and publishers have also been putting pressure on the CMA to address concerns, with businesses looking at the implications of Privacy Sandbox.

The concerns surround a lack of transparency and control that advertisers and publishers will have over the new tracking mechanisms that Google has proposed.

What Does This Mean for Advertisers?

Advertisers are closely watching Google’s decision to delay third-party cookie deprecation. They will get more time to prepare for the changes ahead, but this also means there is a level of uncertainty surrounding the future of digital advertising—at least for the foreseeable future.

Advertisers must—as much as possible—remain informed about the latest developments to prepare to adapt their strategies as industry conditions continue to evolve.

What Should Advertisers Do Now?

In light of the announcement of the delay, advertisers should be taking steps to ensure that they are ahead of things and prepared for the changes. Advertisers should still look to prepare for cookie deprecation. They can do this with data cleanrooms, AI, and first-party data. These steps include:

Monitor Developments

Advertisers should stay informed about the latest updates regarding the Google Privacy Sandbox and other privacy initiatives.

Urgency Still Exists

Using this delay, advertisers can start exploring additional tracking mechanisms and data sources to mitigate any potential impacts of third-party cookie deprecation across their campaigns. This leads to more effective and targeted advertising campaigns. This delay isn’t a sign for advertisers to sit back and relax but more time to adapt and refine their advertising practices.

New Revenue Streams Emerge

Advertisers should consider diversifying their advertising strategies. From here, they can adapt to the evolving digital advertising landscape. The additional time gives advertisers a decent window to adjust their strategies and technologies to the changes in digital advertising. For example, knowledge of first-party data and privacy-compliant measurement can be a valuable asset for advertising agencies.

Upskill Opportunities

Advertisers also have an excellent opportunity to upskill their existing teams with better investments in training and education. This is especially the case with new tracking technologies and privacy regulations. Advertisers can work to ensure that their teams are fully equipped to navigate the changes.

Brand Education is Key

Advertisers must also consider more training and education during this period. They’ll need to communicate their needs with their clients, especially regarding the implications of third-party cookie deprecation. The steps to mitigate the impact of the changes will be a game changer, and the more advertisers learn now, the better. This will build trust with brands and ensure they are prepared for the changes ahead.

Conclusion

The cookie deprecation delay shows that digital advertising has become more complicated – but cookie deprecation is still coming. The changing privacy rules are changing the landscape for advertisers, who need to keep up with the changes so that their ads still work. Continuing to prepare for cookie deprecation is vital for the future.