Recently, we took a look into the near future at a Cookieless world and explored what cookieless tracking could mean for brands and their customers. In part two of this blog series, we break down Google’s recent announcement that solidified its approach. 

What did we already know? 

Google will be phasing out third-party Cookies on Chrome by 2022–Safari and Firefox already block them by default. The tech giant will also be using its Privacy Sandbox for interest-based advertising (FLoC), which pulls personalization and measurement data via cohorts in lieu of user-level information. For more on FLoC, check out this whitepaper Google published last year. 

Other technology providers, such as The Trade Desk, have been working on alternatives to both Cookies and FLoC. Unified ID 2.0 is among the most prominent of these solutions. It’s built from hashed and encrypted email addresses, which enables a single-click login once a person has registered for content on a website.

What did Google announce about alternate identifiers this month? 

Google doubled down on FLoC and confirmed that it “will not build alternate identifiers to track individuals as they browse across the web.” Nor will alternate identifiers be leveraged in company products.

The announcement rattled the industry by effectively invalidating all identifier solutions various tech companies had been developing within their own properties, which would explain why their stocks dipped temporarily.

The numbers rebounded once the announcement was interpreted further, however. At this point it’s safe to assume Google is reinforcing its walled garden after acknowledging that other solutions will have advantages, but that they aren’t sustainable long-term. 

Additionally, Google claimed testing of its FLoC solution was successful and plans to roll it out for testing in Google Ads in Q2. It’s worth mentioning that the majority of people using Google products are logged in, which renders this first-party data and gives it the advantage in terms of identity. Further, Google intends to continue to support first-party relationships on its ad platforms for partners, in which they have direct connections with their own customers. It will also deepen its support for solutions that build on these direct relationships between customers and the brands and publishers they engage with.

What about other identifier solutions? 

The marketing industry will likely soldier on to develop alternate IDs and solutions without Google. While Chrome will eliminate Cookies, it can’t fully control the data passed between websites and DSPs. It seems unlikely that alternate IDs and solutions will be blocked. The exceptions, of course, are owned websites like YouTube, Google, Gmail and Fitbit, among others. 

How can marketers succeed in a Cookieless world? 

  • Customer trust, security and experience are the reasons for these changes and should be prioritized by brands. 
  • First-party Cookies aren’t going anywhere. This level of data is imperative to brands’ success.
  • After a decade of being overshadowed by advanced audience targeting, contextual advertising solutions are reemerging as a go-to for many brands.
  • Brands that test alternative solutions now, and have a plan in place once Cookies are finally eliminated, will avoid significant performance declines. 
  • The most successful brands will diversify their portfolios while continuing to work with walled gardens and the open internet. 
  • Brands should keep the faith in the value exchange of the internet, which benefits advertisers, their customers and publishers.

For more information on navigating a Cookieless world, contact us.