POV: Google To Leave Cookies Behind
March 5, 2021

Summary

As expected based on previous announcements concerning user privacy, Google is planning to move away from supporting third-party cookies in its platforms within the next year. However, the company has now stated that they will not build alternate identifiers to track individuals as they browse across the web, or use in their products. This announcement is a step further than Google’s initial proclamation of eliminating third-party cookie tracking. While this may seem alarming at first, marketers and platforms have prepared for this for some time since Google stated this about two years ago.  

To understand how this change will affect our advertisers, we feel it is important to first walk through who the likely winners and losers of the ecosystem will be in a cookie-less world.

Likely Winners

Google:

Google will continue to treat the user data within their data ecosystem as first-party data. This move will have little to no negative impact on them. Advertisers relying on Google for data, inventory, tech or attribution will likely be forced to spend more time and money to maintain their understanding of their user in the Google universe.

Walled Gardens: Google, Facebook, Amazon, Verizon, AT&T

Minimizing waste and managing user experience via frequency and audience controls will become more difficult. Buyers will need to move from a semi-omnichannel approach to a more walled garden approach. For example, agencies will likely ramp up their effort to retrain their staffs for each walled garden as targeting and attribution options become more unique within the walled gardens, which will naturally lead to even more spend within the giants of our industry.

Cookie-Less Channels:

Newer digital channels like mobile, audio, CTV and DOOH do not use the cookie today for targeting. This means they will largely be unaffected by this change. All of these channels are available at Fusion92 today.

Cookie-Less Tactics:

Category, keyword, geofence, weather triggered and PMP tactics do not use the cookie today so they will not be affected. All of these tactics are available at Fusion92 today.

Technologies With Identity GraphSolutions: LiveRamp

Technologies that have been working to develop cookie-less/ID-based solutions have a head start on those still relying on the cookie.

Likely Losers

Some Publishers:

Google released a study last year showing that removing third-party cookies reduced publisher ad revenue by 52% (*Ad Exchanger). However, publishers with strong user bases may eventually reap the benefits as the value as their first-party audiences becomes more desirable.  

Small Ad Technologies:

Developing ID solutions or similar tech has a high barrier to entry due to the high cost. It will naturally be easier for larger companies to rebuild their backend to adapt to this new cookie-less world.  

Data Management Platforms:

The collection, segmentation and transfer of anonymous cookie-based audiences across the digital ecosystem are the backbone of most DMPs.  

Attribution Platforms:

Most attribution platforms rely on Google’s enormous cookie pool as the single largest piece of their attribution solutions. Without this piece, at least in the short term, clients relying on robust attribution systems will have issues.


Conclusion

Messaging users in a one-to-one manner via third-party cookies will not be scalable anymore. This means that digital budget distributions and the tactics used will need adjustment in this cookie-less world. Fusion92 has been preparing for this inevitable ecosystem shift via our partnerships that allow us to activate within the leading cookie-less channels and tactics, as well as working with platforms that have been working on creating alternatives to third-party cookies. These options, primarily Unified ID 2.0, will be a boon to the open Internet for two reasons: 1) eliminates the cookie syncing problem which hurt scale and 2)consumer information will not be identifiable and will control how their data is shared.  Additionally, first-party audiences will become king in this new world either by working through the strong relationships we have developed with the walled gardens and their datasources, helping our clients better utilize their own first-party data or continuing to work with our platforms on targeting options without the cookie. We will help our clients come up with the right strategies to ensure we continue to deliver business results that improve their bottom line.