× Close

Google’s planned phase out of third-party tracking cookies: How does it affect advertisers?

You may have heard about Google’s plan to phase out third-party tracking cookies from its Chrome browser. How will this affect you as an advertiser?

If you are an advertiser looking to market to a specific audience, know that these changes won’t prevent that objective.

Targeting consumers based on cookie-tracking browsing history is only one of many sources of data available to reach a specific audience. Consider that we are already able to market to specific consumers using OTT streaming devices that aren’t directly tracking browsing history.

Most importantly, these changes only apply to Chrome. Google still controls the world’s most-used mobile operating system – Android, as well as standalone apps such as Google Maps or even third-party apps. Google will continue to collect usage data there, although Apple and other tech players are looking into privacy changes on that front.

Rest assured, Google wouldn’t jeopardize its primary revenue source. Simply put, cookie-based targeted is no longer needed. Google is already working on alternative tracking tactics – the so-called Federated Learning of Cohorts (FLoC) – that the company says better protects individual privacy while still understanding who is using their platforms. Instead of targeting ads to a specific user, consumers will be placed into “cohorts,” which Google describes as a “group of users who share a common characteristic.” Essentially, users will be placed into category buckets. Auto Intenders – those predicted to soon make a vehicle purchase – will be placed into one bucket, for instance.

What this means is that advertisers will no longer be able to target John Doe because John, specifically, has shown behavior suggesting he
is about to make a vehicle purchase. Instead, John will be placed into an Auto Intender cohort and advertisers will target that cohort along with every other user placed there. Adding different data layers that don’t utilize cookies, advertisers can narrow their target even further… by demographic, education, occupation, geography, and more.

Beyond that, users can still opt into tracking and most will find it in their own interest to do so. Consumers want to see advertising that relates to them. As well, this applies only to mid-funnel marketing. While mid-funnel marketing is important, so is top and bottom of the funnel marketing, which won’t be affected by this change.

As of now, Google plans to phase out third party cookie tracking at the end of 2023. We can help you navigate and adapt to Google’s third-party cookie tracking changes.