Google have delayed the removal of third party cookies to 2023 while they work on a solution that is in fitting with building a privacy-first future for web advertising.
As Google are working on a way that has the least impact on the future of Google ads tracking and measurement we can understand why this needs more time as the ramifications to the on-line advertising world are huge. According to Google the privacy sandbox initiative aims to create web technologies that both protect people’s privacy online and give companies and developers the tools to build thriving digital businesses to keep the web open and accessible to everyone, now, and for the future. To make this happen, Google believes the web community needs to come together to develop a set of open standards to fundamentally enhance privacy on the web, giving people more transparency and greater control over how their data is used.
The solutions that Google are currently working on are to create more private approaches to key areas, including ad measurement, delivering relevant ads and content and we await to see the new developments as they unfold. One plan of this initiative would be to track groups rather than individuals as Google doesn’t really need to track individuals. As Google puts it in its blog post, “advertisers don’t need to track individual consumers across the web to get the performance benefits of digital advertising. Advances in aggregation, anonymization, on-device processing and other privacy-preserving technologies offer a clear path to replacing individual identifiers.” If you’re an advertiser with a phone ad, you would only ever want to show your ad to “people who care about phones.” As an advertiser, you wouldn’t really care about individuals or exact browsing history as long as you know users are open to being manipulated by your ad. In Google display campaigns we target audiences, ie similar audiences and not individuals so I am confident that Google will further develop this to get around data privacy laws.
As a prelude to what’s coming down the line Google have introduced a BETA on Google Consent. Consent mode allows you to adjust how your Google tags behave based on the consent status of your users. You can indicate whether consent has been granted for Analytics and Ads cookies. Google’s tags will dynamically adapt, only utilising cookies for the specified purposes when consent has been given by the user. This is one of many ways to come and is on track for Google to give the user control over their data protection.
Whatever solution Google comes up with by 2023 it’s inevitable that it will be one whereby their Google ads profits remain unencumbered by the new rules.