Is 2024 The Final Twist in the Upcoming Cookiepocalypse?

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What is Cookiepocalypse? 

In August 2022, Google announced that they would be phasing out support for the third-party cookies, which would affect ad retargeting, behavioral ads, and user tracking. For advertisers and businesses that rely on them, the third-party cookie deprecation have series impact, i.e. Cookiepocalypse

After initially planning it for 2022, and then postponing it once before until 2023, this will be the definitive year! As set in Google’s Privacy Sandbox Timeline, by 2024 Q3, Chrome will be phasing out support for third-party cookies for good. 

How many new iterations will there be? Will we have the solution by 2025? 2027? 2030? How can a website or an app make long-term monetization plans in the face of such uncertainty? 

The Impact of the Cookiepocalypse on Brands' Advertising

Third-party cookies are a staple of online display advertising, allowing companies to track users all over the Web and then showing them ads based on their browsing history. For example, if you look at, say, tires on a site like TireRack, and then later go to the New York Times website to read the news, you are quite likely to see the ads for tires there - even though at the moment you are not looking for them. This type of targeting is enabled by a complex infrastructure of servers and software constantly tracking users and deploying “third-party cookies” on the websites to be able to share information about users’ searches and browsing behavior across the different destinations - from TireRack to the New York Times to YouTube to Facebook to AccuWeather.

This type of tracking via third-party cookies is pervasive - and raises obvious privacy concerns. In fact, precisely because of such concerns, Apple has disabled third-party cookies in the Safari browser (and Mozilla likewise disabled them in the Firefox Browser), so if that’s what you use, you will not see the tire ads on the New York Times after browsing TireRack. This follow-you-around-the-internet factor also explains why third-party cookies have become a major concern for online users (and regulators worldwide).  

Given that Chrome is the preferred browser for 65% of global internet users, Google's decision will significantly influence cookie policies: With the death of third-party cookies advertisers will have to rethink the way they target digital audiences. 

The Challenge Advertisers Will Face is Very Simple: Consider visitors to the New York Times website who arrive to stay updated on news—not to browse tires, jeans, hotels, or cosmetics. Utilizing technologies like third-party cookies, which are highly intrusive, allows advertisers to intercept users' attention from their intended activity and redirect it towards unrelated products or services. With the imminent absence of user tracking capabilities, how can advertisers effectively engage their target audience?

‍How to Face the Cookypocalypse Advertising Challenges?

Fortunately, there is a solution, especially for mobile and desktop platforms where users demonstrate clear commercial intent. On such apps and websites, users explicitly indicate their interests through searches or browsing behavior, providing a clear signal of their intent. Leveraging this explicit user intent, advertisers can display various types of native advertising, including sponsored listings and banner ads, without relying on personal user tracking. This underscores the critical importance of first-party data in this context.

Such solutions, built from the ground up with this privacy-preserving philosophy in mind, are completely resistant to whatever changes happen in the user-tracking universe - and allow the companies to confidently plan for the years ahead. In fact, just the day after Facebook announced their revenue drop that sent its stock plummeting, Amazon has announced their results that led to a dramatic increase in the stock price - in large part due to the meteoric rise of their advertising revenue (of almost $9B in just the second quarter of 2022 alone), driven to the large extent by precisely this kind of intent-based advertising.

We can see this type of intent-based advertising solutions in retailers like Amazon, Walmart, and Target. The emergence of retail media signifies a growing trend where brands can leverage their extensive collections of first-party data to create advertising platforms; these platforms can provide advertisers with access to unique and targeted audiences. 

Besides this type of onsite strategies, opportunities to tap on into off-site targeting capabilities that protect user privacy are also possible, such as integrating identity solutions and facilitating data collaboration through clean rooms. This expansion across platforms and channels could position retail media as a competitive alternative to the dominant Google/Meta advertising duopoly, providing advertisers with compelling opportunities for diversifying their media investments. 

Topsort: Your Cookieless Ad Partner

Topsort is delighted to be able to offer exactly this type of intent-based advertising solution to online and mobile retailers and marketplaces. Through its retail media infrastructure, truly “clean” zero knowledge clean room, and 1 click global ad network, Topsort is helping retailers, brands, agencies, and marketplaces of all shapes and sizes tap into the same auction-based technology that has garnered giants like Google and Amazon astronomical advertising profits – all while remaining free of creepy third-party cookie tracking and privacy-invasive data. 

Found out more about Topsort here