The news: Google doesn’t seem willing to push its deadline for the phasing out of third-party cookies. The company published a blog post on Wednesday in an attempt to assuage advertisers upset about the transition away from third-party cookies on Chrome in favor of the Privacy Sandbox, Google’s post-cookie solution.
- Google has set a Q3 2024 deadline to fully phase out third-party cookies, which began in earnest earlier this month after the company shut off cookies for 1% of Chrome users—amounting to 30 million consumers.
Common misconceptions: Google has delayed the end of third-party cookies multiple times, but this month’s kickoff still upset and sent a pang of worry through the ad industry. In its blog post, Google attempted to clarify the function of Privacy Sandbox for advertisers who are still heavily reliant on cookies.
- Google addressed several common complaints directly, the first of which is perhaps the most notable. “Privacy Sandbox APIs are not intended to be direct, one-to-one replacements for all third-party cookie based use cases,” the company stated blatantly, adding that Privacy Sandbox is instead designed to “provide foundational elements” that can be built on top of other ad tech, as is the case with cookies.
- Advertisers are also concerned that pivoting away from cookies and building new ad tools on top of the Privacy Sandbox represents a significant cost and systemic overhaul, all for a platform that doesn’t yet have the robust capabilities of identifiers.
- In response, Google said it plans to roll out additional features and added the cost of transitioning now will be cheaper than ending up behind the pack.
The company was also quick to refute the notion that Privacy Sandbox gives its own products an advantage, restating its commitment to the UK Competition and Markets Authority to create a fair marketplace for advertisers.
Our take: Google is responding to pushback and has given certain sites the ability to delay being subject to the phasing out of cookies. But its recent attempts at stronger communication are a clear signal that the time to prepare for change is now.
Advertisers will have to adjust to Privacy Sandbox eventually, even if it is delayed once again. It’s better to make the pivot now and start building on top of a new foundation than be buried under the old ways.