After about two months since Apple and Facebook implemented their changes toward a more private digital landscape without cookies, it is safe to say that the digital advertising industry is continuing to feel the effects. According to Mashable reporter, Rachel Kraus, when given the option to have their activity tracked on apps in iOS 14.5, consumers are overwhelmingly opting out. Kraus’s article states that the opt-in rate is roughly 4% in the United States and 12% worldwide. With the loss of so much consumer information, companies and marketers are having to pivot their tactics and search for new ways to connect to consumers.

As we continue to tread through this digital marketing shift, Google’s latest announcement has the industry taking a cautious and momentary breath by announcing a delay in their plans to eliminate third-party cookies on Chrome. In a blog post in late July, Google announced that they will be delaying the blocking of third-party cookies on the browser until 2023. In this blog, we’ll be taking a dive into what Chome’s “Privacy Sandbox” is, how it works, and what this delay means moving forward. 

Google’s Privacy Sandbox

What is it?

Google’s Privacy Sandbox is their response to the move toward the cookieless future. It was established in 2019 as a collaborative effort to open source solutions and develop new tech to heighten standards on websites. According to its website, it 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.”

Three of its biggest goals include:

  1. Prevent the tracking of users’ browser activity across the web
  2. Allow publishers the ability to build sites that respect user privacy
  3. Preserve the open web and maintain people’s access to information safely

What is the delay?

While originally planning on phasing out cookies on Chrome by the end of the year in 2021, Google announced it has moved that goal to the end of the year in 2023. Google says that they are delaying this release to “allow sufficient time for public discussion on the right solutions, continued engagement with regulators, and for publishers and the advertising industry to migrate their services.”

The multi-phased public development process included 3 steps (discussion, testing, and approval determination). Once approved for adoption, Chrome will phase out third-party cookies in two stages. In stage 1, estimated to begin in late 2022, publishers and advertisers will begin adopting the technology and implementing it into their services. In stage 2, starting in mid-2023, Chrome will begin phasing out their-party cookie support and completely phase them out by the end of 2023. Google notes that more detailed plans for this process will be coming out on Google’s website: privacysandbox.com.

While this delay buys many in the industry time to adjust and prepare, the cookieless future will still be unpredictable. Until the release of the new Chrome systems, marketers will likely use this time to adjust to the current cookieless initiatives affecting their businesses while also investigating new ways to advertise and connect with their audiences. To see what steps you can take today to begin moving toward a cookieless strategy, read our article, How We Shift in a Post-Cookie World

Final Thoughts

Dieter Bohn of The Verge concisely summarizes the catch twenty-two that Google is in when saying: 

“The more Google cuts off third-party tracking, the more it harms other advertising companies and potentially increases its own dominance in the ad space. The less Google cuts off tracking, the more likely it is to come under fire for not protecting user privacy. And no matter what it does, it will come under heavy fire from regulators, privacy advocates, advertisers, publishers, and anybody else with any kind of stake in the web.”

It is clear that there will not be a one-size-fits-all solution to this new technological shift. Additionally, businesses and advertisers need to listen to the cultural sentiments amongst audiences in order to abide by their changing needs. At River Direct, we are always listening and searching for the latest tactics to help our clients yield successful campaigns both on digital and across various media channels.

From the push of first-party data collection strategies to the development of new privacy-respecting targeting tools, we will likely see a mix of solutions that will rise to become commonplace strategies in the evolving landscape. Nevertheless, this shift reminds us that it is key to be on our toes and ready to adapt to any pauses, shifts, or implementations the future may throw us in this crazy industry we call marketing. 

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