The truth about the delayed end of third-party cookies in 2024
On July 27, 2022, Google announced that its sandbox for privacy management will need more testing.
Indeed, third-party cookies will be phased out from the year 2024 instead of 2023. Advertisers and e-commerce sites will therefore have an additional year to adapt to a world without third-party cookies.
Of course, this important news does not come without controversy. Faced with such a turnaround, many are wondering what the “real” reasons behind this postponement are.
Could there be eel under rock?
ONE NEWS DOES NOT WAIT FOR ANOTHER
A few days after this first announcement, a second came to stir the community of AdTech advertisers.
On August 3, Digiday revealed details about an alleged Apple DSP platform . Since then, the buzz in the industry has literally exploded.
It's unclear at this time if a potential successor to iAd would service only Apple properties or if it would also go the Google route, which would result in a vast network bringing together all web properties under the influence of the Cupertino giant. In an attempt to get to the bottom of it, some people have fun dissecting an Apple job offer to find clues.
THE RUMOR MACHINE IS IN FULL SWING
One thing is certain, the combination of these two announcements is causing a lot of talk. Maybe even a little too much.
Indeed, one wonders here and there whether the real reason for the postponement of Google Chrome would not be due to the fact that the final version of Google Analytics 4 (GA4) , which will replace Universal standard from July 2023, does not wouldn't be quite there yet.
Elsewhere, others wonder if the maneuver is not precisely a way for Google to postpone the end of third-party cookies, seeing that its flagship marketing analytics platform, which still relies in part on third-party cookies (for advertising data) , is not ready to face the alleged new DSP of the “ big bad Apple ” . The premise behind this rumor is that Apple's platforms have a lot of primary data about their users. An Apple DSP could therefore, in theory, plug natively into Apple's own new API and provide larger-scale advertising targeting and attribution capabilities, strongly rivaling those of Google. In fact, compared to Facebook and Amazon, Apple is the only Google competitor with cross-platform and cross-device primary data on such a large scale. In this sense, the reasoning behind this rumor has some basis.
Knowing that GA4 is a solution partly designed to preserve performance measurement in a world without cookies; a solution which, moreover, is integrated with Google's main cash cow (Google Ads), it is easy to understand that such questions arise.
On the other hand, as you might expect, the changes brought by GA4 are not unanimous within the community.
On LinkedIn, we unfortunately quite frequently come across publications in which users openly complain about various features of the new version of GA.
BEYOND CONSPIRACY THEORIES
Although it is natural that these recent developments raise doubts in our minds , we must nevertheless be careful and not get too carried away by the wave of speculation surrounding Google's announcement, otherwise we risk falling on the side misinformed conspiracy theories.
In the case of the postponement of the disappearance of third-party cookies to 2024, there is no reason to believe that there is really any relationship between this announcement and the development of GA4, nor a link with the very likely launch. of a new DSP by Apple.
The thing is, Chrome's new privacy sandbox just won't be ready by January 2023. This new technology is currently being beta tested for thousands of users. This experimentation phase is essential to its development with a view to its eventual large-scale deployment. According to test user logs, there are still several irritants with this more privacy-aware version of Chrome.
The arrival of GA4 and the disappearance of third-party cookies will cause, it should be remembered, a major paradigm shift in our industry. It is therefore not surprising that they also generate their share of technical issues.
A QUESTION OF ADAPTATION
In light of this huge technological shift, the real question to ask is, why did the Google Chrome engineers show over-ambition by first announcing the end of third-party cookies in 2022, and then in 2023, to postpone it once again to 2024?
The answer doesn't really matter.
Even if we finally see the end of third-party cookies on Chrome in 2026, the time frame would still be short to adequately adapt to such a big shift in technology marketing culture.
Instead of trying to unravel the mystery surrounding the putative causes of the postponement of the apocalypse, advertisers and AdTech specialists should instead celebrate this grace period: one more year is definitely not a year too long, quite the contrary!
NOTHING CHANGES FOR GA4
Regarding GA4, for the moment, nothing has changed. The old platform will become obsolete in July 2023 for the standard version and in October 2023 for the 360 version.
Don't let the din of speculation take your attention away from the roadmap for taking on a world without third-party cookies. Be sure to start with the optimal implementation of your GA4 instance and familiarize yourself with all its new intricacies.
Even if, in its current form, the platform is not perfect, it nevertheless offers very promising options, which will eventually raise the analytical maturity of experts in digital marketing and e-commerce. Consider, in particular , the possibility of migrating your 360 customer analytics practice to the cloud in BigQuery .
As for the possible entry into the scene of a new DSP powered by Apple, its impact would not be as significant as we might think. Indeed, even if the giant apple were to adopt a contradictory approach (by exploiting the private data of their users which they have sworn to protect with the recent changes), the data collected, as attractive as they are, would remain isolated, collected in a "siloed" system, just as is the case for advertising data from other platforms (Google, Facebook, Amazon, etc.).
The only way to truly sustain the omnichannel measurement of your future acquisition campaigns is to adapt now by adopting a segmentation and attribution model capable of breaking through these silos .
1 For those who might be interested in the subject, in 2018, I co-authored with my thesis director a very long article on the academic website The Conversion about the "data war" between Apple and Google. In this text, I precisely exposed the many commercial conflicts of interest between these two technological giants. Four years later, it remains equally undeniable that the competitive factor and the insatiable quest for market share of GAMAM (formerly GAFAM) play an important role in all these decisions.