What’s behind the decision to remove the cookies?

The technology giant has decided to eliminate third-party cookies in Chrome, which was a fundamental part of many digital marketing strategies.

Two years ago Google announced that it would eliminate third-party cookies in its Chrome browser, one of the most widely used browsers worldwide both on desktop and mobile. This measure comes as we are seeing a significant change in the dynamics of buying / selling ads. Additionally, the issue of information security (Internet Trust) – has become increasingly relevant, with privacy regulations in full swing and becoming constants within the industry (for example, the “Consumer Privacy Act” in California or the “Global Data Protection Regulation of the European Union” in the European Union).

This decision, which is scheduled to be carried out sometime in 2022, is perhaps one of the most far-reaching single changes in the advertising and technology industry.

A bit of history: Cookies and their functions

Cookies were once the beacon of digital advertising, but the increase in ad blockers and the practice of consumers to remove them from their browsers hampered their effectiveness. This situation prompted the advertising technology industry to search for a new solution, which it found in what we know as “fingerprints.” This involves creating a unique profile of the person by taking what browser you are using and combining it with certain information from your browsing. “Cookies are a small text file, sent by the website and stored by the user’s browser, and which allow you, for example, to stay logged in to your Facebook account,” explains Sebastián Pérez, CTO of E-PLANNING. “But they are also the basis for marketing or re-marketing strategies, as companies use this information to personalize the advertising proposals that reach users and respond to their interests.” 

But what is the current situation?

Perez explains that “There are two types of cookies. On the one hand there are what are known as ‘first party cookies’, which are set by the website that the user visits. And on the other, there are ‘third-party cookies’ which are set indirectly by another entity. The latter are the ones that Google is going to remove from Chrome and that, in reality, other browsers have already removed a long time ago.” Browsers such as Apple’s Safari or Firefox have been implementing similar measures for some time to avoid monitoring users throughout their web browsing experience. However, despite being two popular brands, they do not have the penetration percentage that Chrome does.

According to StatCounter data, Google Chrome owns 69% of the desktop and computer market, and 40% on mobile devices

What is the impact on media and marketing campaigns?

It is clear that, given Chrome’s market penetration, Google’s decision to eliminate third-party cookies will have a strong impact on the different advertising markets. “This decision signifies a very strong change since it will be very difficult to generate and design ‘re-marketing’ campaigns. That is to say, we lose the possibility of advertising to users based on browsing that they have carried out in the past, ”says Pérez. “After this, all users will be new users. 

Google’s decision is also accompanied by a new development. Called the “Privacy Sandbox,” it will replace third-party cookies and, according to the company, it will allow publishers and advertisers to continue to target ads to consumers without violating privacy. In this sense, the company maintains that its new tool will create measures natively in Chrome and, above all, will provide anonymity for users. That is, it moves away from the individual identification of third-party cookies, to use an API that centralizes the data and guarantees access only when Chrome identifies that the person’s privacy is protected.

This information implies that the intention is not to eliminate online advertising, but to maintain a healthy and safe website for users. This initiative is a step forward from the technology giant in targeting a mechanism that works for advertisers, publishers, consumers and other browser providers.

“This measure, for now, only affects web browsers and not applications. And this is why we at E-PLANNING are working to improve and optimize all our tools for apps. An ecosystem that we believe will grow and will be a space where brands can carry out those types of campaigns,” concludes Pérez.