Back to Blog

No, third-party cookies going away is not fine. Let’s stop pretending it is and get to work.

  • 3 min read

Without third-party cookies, targeting, frequency capping and attribution as we know it all die. Burying our heads in the sand and saying ‘everything’s fine’ isn’t going to help anyone.

In a move that surprised few, Google announced at the start of the year that Chrome would be following in the footsteps of Safari and Firefox in discontinuing support for third-party cookies.

What is surprising is the reaction some companies have had to the news.

At January’s breakfast briefing for publishers, one of the topics of conversation was how some of the messaging from vendors has led to a lack of clarity about what the announcement means and how it’s going to affect publishers.

Heads in the sand

Chloe Grutchfield, Co-founder of RedBud tentatively started the conversation: “I’m going to try not to be contentious so will really measure my words.

“I think there’s a lot of misinformation in the market right now from platforms that say ‘It’s all fine. Third-party cookies are disappearing but it’s all fine. Don’t worry. We have a solution.”

There’s a chuckle from the publishers in the room.

David Hayter, Head Of Digital at The Stylist Group was in complete agreement, saying that his inbox has been full of emails claiming that everything is fine. He has even gone so far as replying to a few of them.

The truth is, if third party cookies going away wasn’t a problem, then ad delivery and revenues wouldn’t be a problem with Safari and Firefox. But they are.

Hannah Buitekant, Executive Director, of Digital at Mail Metro Media was talking about how on Safari they are limited to delivering direct campaigns: “They’re very basic practices really. There isn’t much you can do with them.

“You can’t get third-party verification. You can’t enable retargeting from a first-party data set. Reporting, measurement, everything is coming in as a negative impact.”

What now for first-party data?

Okay, it doesn’t sound great so far. But it’s not all doom and gloom. For publishers, having a robust method to collect first-party data will allow them to still deliver highly valuable inventory and a personalised experience for users.

And beyond that, the end of the third-party cookie provides a possibility for a fairer, people-based future that benefits publishers, advertisers and users.

Last year, we started building the infrastructure for a new, safer internet.

This includes a suite of tools that help publishers and brands enter a more open, honest value exchange with individuals and allows publishers to activate first-party data in a way that is non-invasive, privacy-safe and compliant.

We created infrastructure that allows publishers to connect authenticated users with programmatic demand without the need for a third-party cookie.

All of this leads to an environment where site users have a clearer understanding of the value exchange with publishers, publishers are able to monetise their audiences and brands get more effective marketing.

But this won’t just happen by itself.

Publishers  need to act now by integrating these solutions into their programmatic strategies. So get talking to your identity resolution vendors today and let’s get you ready.