Deprecation of Cookies – How Will Third-Party Cookies Be Phased-Out?

With Google announcing in 2020 that it will stop supporting cookies in Chrome, it became clear that marketers need to prepare for a cookieless future. While the final deadline is set for Q3 2024, the initial deprecation of cookies will be conducted at the beginning of 2024, with 1% of users affected. Why is it so, and how exactly will this process work? Find out below!

The Deprecation of Third-Party Cookies – Why?

First, let’s discuss why the deprecation of cookies takes place. It is so because of the privacy concerns related to them.

Third-party cookies can be used for various purposes – from preparing personalized, targeted advertisements to spying on the users. This other side of the coin is what raised many concerns and led to Firefox and Safari phasing out third-party cookies in 2019. But, this didn’t matter that much since both of these browsers combined don’t sum it into a large portion of the browser market share.

It all changed when Google decided to phase out third-party cookies in their browser. Google Chrome has a global market share of over 60%, so it’s not surprising that the decision made by this tech giant initiated a change in the digital landscape. However, unlike its predecessors, Google proposed alternatives for those using third-party cookies for non-malicious purposes.

Google’s Alternative

The deprecation of cookies should mean that marketers will be at a disadvantage. But, with Google’s Privacy Sandbox, the consequences might not be as severe.

There’s no guarantee that this particular solution will solve all the problems that occur, and for sure, it won’t be equally effective to third-party cookies, but at least it gives marketers a first-party-cookies-driven alternative. But we’re discussing it without mentioning how it’s supposed to work, so let’s focus on that now.

Privacy Sandbox is supposed to be a set of tools allowing marketers to create personalized advertisements and protect the privacy of the users at the same time. Currently, two main tools are developed within it:

  • Topics API
  • Protected Audience API

The first one is responsible for categorizing websites, while the other one groups users based on the categories of websites that they enter. These labels are then sent to third-party websites, enabling them to create personalized content despite the deprecation of cookies and without using any personal information.

While it may seem effective in general, whether Privacy Sandbox will be good enough is a big unknown. Therefore, Google has made a smart choice to test this solution earlier.

Test Deprecation of Cookies at the Start of 2024

At the beginning of 2024, 1% of Google Chrome users will use the version of the browser that does not support third-party cookies. The purpose of this is to test the Privacy Sandbox before the full deprecation of cookies is rolled out in Q3 2024.

The question that arises here is: what will Google do if Privacy Sandbox proves to be ineffective? We need to wait a bit more to find out, but let’s keep our fingers crossed.

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