Google’s delayed deprecation of third-party cookies is necessary, but shouldn’t be taken as a time to pause
Yesterday, Google announced a nearly two-year delay to Chrome’s planned deprecation of third-party cookies. For publishers, advertisers, and the rest of the independent ad tech industry, this is a much-needed reprieve.
As the original 2022 deadline approached, it became clear that solutions to enable privacy-first addressability weren’t being designed, tested, and implemented quickly enough to meet that extremely ambitious deadline. Instead of consolidating towards agreement on a new architecture for advertising on the web, new proposals and amendments continued to proliferate weekly, with very little time for businesses to assess and adjust.
The U.K.’s Competition and Markets Authority agreed to provide oversight to Google’s plans and their Privacy Sandbox solutions, which provided some reassurance that drastic changes wouldn’t be launched without support from the publishers they’re most likely to impact. Inevitably, this meant more time would be needed to thoughtfully design comprehensive solutions that prioritize user privacy without sacrificing the ad-funded web.
Google’s announcement represents an acknowledgment of all those pressures, and an agreement to work in partnership with regulators, consumer interests, and free markets to seek alternate solutions after the deprecation of third-party cookies.
Consumers still need better privacy protections on the web, and publishers still need viable business continuity plans in order to keep producing free journalism. None of that has changed, and Google’s delayed deprecation of third-party cookies does not mean that the ad tech industry should pause or deprioritize the move away from cookies. It just means we now have enough time to succeed at launching better alternatives.
This announcement to delay the deprecation of third-party cookies shows that Google recognizes the need to actively preserve an independent advertising ecosystem upon which brands, publishers, and consumers can depend. The industry must continue driving the adoption of people-based, contextual, and cohort-based solutions while building consumer trust. This is not a time to wait, it’s a time to act. If we squander the moment, we’ll find ourselves right back here in 18 months, but with far less ability to shape the future of addressability.