Google has announced a highly monumental change to its Chrome browser, which over the course of next two years, it will phase out support for third-party cookies.
The hint on the crumbling of tracking cookie has definitely raised a lot of arguments among advertisers and publishers, as it will make a big mess for online marketing. While cookies are the little piece of codes used by advertisers to track what web users are doing online, so that they can serve targeted ads based on the sites they visit or what they've previously searched for on the web.
Google stressed that its goal for this initiative is to make the web more private and secure for all users. It had earlier launched an open source initiative known as Privacy Sandbox, which is a set of open standards to fundamentally enhance privacy on the web.
Albeit, the Privacy Sandbox will serve as an ad-supported web in a way that renders third-party cookies obsolete, the approach will help to address the needs of web users, publishers, and advertisers alike.
How Advertisers will be impacted by changes to Chrome third-party tracking?
The fact that Chrome browser is the most dominant of the lots, with statistics pointing to about two billion installation and one billion people using the browser each month, means that any changes to the ecosystem will drastically affect the digital advertising world.
And Google’s business model has heavily relied on data collection, given that the search giant is the dominant player in online advertising and it’s opt-in version of Enhanced Tracking Protection (ETP) may become the ultimate spun for cookies, which may will likely lead to some antitrust issues.
Since Apple (Safari) and Mozilla (Firefox) implemented the changes to their browsers, about 40% of third party cookies have already been wiped out. In that programmatic ecosystem, it means advertisers will be unable to personalize content or serve targeted ads for almost half of their audience.
Now, imagine the impact of large scale blocking of cookies that Chrome will unleash, and how it will undermine publisher’s most profitable revenue stream?
What are the Good News about the Crumbling of Cookies?
There are mostly good news, if you're a user because the end of third-party cookies is generally good for your privacy. Albeit perhaps, there is a caveat, in that it isn't entirely clear how Google intends to provide a privacy-protected browsing experience that also ensures that ads are targeted.
And the fact that some less-ethical advertisers will resort to other types of more nefarious tracking techniques, like the browser and device fingerprinting. These technologies evades the blockade by creating a profile of web users based on data sent by the browser about their device, operating system, location, and some other unique identifiers.
However, the latest Firefox browser has fingerprint blocking turned on by default. And Google is working on its own techniques to detect and mitigate covert tracking and workarounds by the use of new anti-fingerprinting measures to discourage these kinds of intrusive and deceptive techniques, scheduled to launch later this year.