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BizReport : Search Marketing : June 29, 2021

Execs weigh in on Google's cookie delay

The move away from third party cookies has been in the works for a few years now, but at least one big name in the digital space isn't quite ready to let them go. Last week Google announced a delay in the ousting of the use of third party cookies. While this may come as a relief to some businesses that aren't quite set up for a cookie-less world, several experts believe it's still better to move away from cookies now rather than waiting.

by Kristina Knight

"This delay presents a good opportunity for the ad industry to unite and align on alternative solutions to FLOC which raises more questions than answers. The industry needs to find a compelling solution that solves the competing needs of consumers and advertisers who fund the free web as we know it, without letting the biggest monopoly decide how this should be solved when, historically, their intentions have been self-serving," said Patrick O'Leary, CEO, Boostr.

The change to Google's third party cookie usage may not be evaporating tomorrow, but that doesn't mean brands, merchants, and marketers shouldn't already be preparing for a cookie-less future. The move away from cookies has simply been delayed, at least on Google's part, and that delay will not last forever.

"Particularly since the pandemic arrived last year, we've observed advertisers increasingly embracing CTV as a key component of their media budgets due to viewership exploding -- but now there'll be an additional influx of CTV adoption as brands and their agencies will have more time to test and optimize the inherently cookieless platform in advance," said Kenneth Suh, Chief Strategy Officer, Tremor International. "Rather than circling another date on the calendar, marketers should delve deeper into the ramifications of bridging the identity gap as opposed to merely finding new technologies and processes.

"This delay is likely an indicator that Google is still collecting data alongside cookies from users to build cohorts," said Edwin Fu, Founder & CEO, "The delay is benefitting Google in a variety of ways: it's buying them more time to collect more cohort data and to navigate fingerprinting and cohort privacy issues; it allows them to receive more adoption from advertisers while competing against other identifier initiatives, like UnifiedID 2.0; and most importantly, it allows them to get more publishers to opt-in to FLoC, even though it may not be valuable to their long-term inventory value in a first-party world."

Executives with Adobe believe that, despite the delay, it's imperative for brands to begin their move away from third party cookies now rather than later. They see this as another indicator that the future of customer data is first party, and that the sooner brands begin building that one-to-one relationship with their customers the better.

"First party data is the future of brand-consumer relationships built on trust--not just for advertising, but for all digital experiences," said Amit Ahuja, VP, Experience Cloud Product and Strategy, Adobe. "Our customers understand the urgency in making this shift and we are partnering with them on next gen customer data platforms that focus on first party data and connect disparate data across the organization."

As to what prompted Google to delay their ouster of third party cookies from the beginning of 2022 - in just a few months time - to the end of 2023, some believe the search giant is trying to ease the transition for both big and small businesses in the digital space.

"There are a number of things going on here. One is that Google has run into questions in Europe about whether its privacy sandbox and FLoC approach will disadvantage smaller players in the market. Google is also facing growing resistance from a range of third parties that include Mozilla, WordPress and Amazon," said Greg Sterling, VP of Insights, Uberall. "Most marketers are completely unprepared for the end of third party cookies as a practical matter. All these considerations motivated Google's delay announcement."

Tags: Adobe, customer data trends, Google, Google FLoC,, search marketing, search marketing trends, search trends, third party cookie, third party data, Tremor International, Uberall

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