Savvy, privacy-conscious consumers are more aware than ever of companies collecting their data and using this to deliver targeted ads. Third party cookies are used by predominantly by web advertisers, marketers and social media platforms to get into your inbox and display relevant adverts.
What are third party cookies?
It’s not magic that you received an email or see an advert about something you were browsing or searching for a few days ago. Third-party cookies are cookies that are tracked by websites other than the one you are currently visiting.
As a user and you go around the internet, you are continually and unintentionally creating a ‘trail of crumbs’ on your web browser. These crumbs are then used to track you between websites, with the aim to use the data collected to display more pertinent ads.
Google’s third-party cookies are on millions of websites, and they use this information to understand your likes and interests from the sites you visit. This data is then utilised for Google’s vast ad business.
So why is Google removing third party cookies?
As already mentioned, the general public is becoming more aware of privacy issues these days. Add that to regulators passing more privacy laws and you can see why third party cookies are becoming more ‘uncomfortable’ for companies to use.
When Google stops selling adverts targeted for individual users, the ad companies that rely on cookies will have to find another way to target potential consumers. Google will continue to target ads using data from its own platforms, so whilst this decision to remove third party cookies will have big implications for the digital ad industry, Google’s own revenue won’t be taking a big hit.
Google’s future privacy-first plans
Back in August 2019, Google unveiled their plans for a ‘Privacy Sandbox’, an initiative to personalise web ads utilising users interests rather than their identities, hence preserving user’s privacy. This latest announcement to block third-party cookies from its Chrome browser is a move towards the new technology developed through Privacy Sandbox.
Google’s Federated Learning of Cohorts (FLoC) is all about building a privacy-first future for web advertising. They believe that this innovative technology can deliver results nearly as effective as cookies. This will mean that Chrome will keep track of a user’s browsing habits across the web, utilising audiences, or “cohorts,” and advertisers can target those habits instead of individuals.
While this is currently being tested, whatever replaces third party cookies, chances are it will not be targeting individuals in the future.
Google will still collect your first-party data through their own products, including YouTube and of course Search, so you’ll still receive targeted ads from them. This will of course benefit Google as Google Search won’t be affected by their own cookie ban, ensuring their data-based revenue stream continues.
Don’t forget as a user if you’re concerned about privacy issues, you can always set your browsers preference to dump your cookies at the end of each session.