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The Third-Party Cookie: Live to Die Another Day



Nikolai Scholz
Director, Product Management,

What an interesting turn of events! The Google Chrome team (more specifically the Privacy Sandbox team) has just announced that they need more time to develop the Privacy Sandbox solution in order to phase out the third-party cookie. It’s no small delay either as they need almost 2 years on top of the previous “beginning of 2022” timeline, bringing the phase out to the end of 2023. Here’s a breakdown of the update, what it means to the adtech and data industry and how Adara is continuously committed to putting privacy at the helm of data.

In some regard this move by Google Chrome comes as no surprise. Over the past half year specifically, the Privacy Sandbox solution has come under scrutiny from all over the world. From concerns about true privacy in the FLOC solution to antitrust cases all over Europe, Privacy Sandbox could not catch a break. This is what comes to those who act last and hold the biggest market share (good going Safari and Mozilla!). The true final nail came from the recent investigations coming from the United Kingdom’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) and Google’s requisite commitment to it. 

This is what brings us to today’s announcement. In it, it’s made quite clear that Google has not yet “solved” the bigger picture. There is no clear solution and they are very much still in the exploratory phase. They have set themselves up to review “more than 30” proposals that would cover “ad measurement, delivering relevant ads and content, and fraud detection”. Once reviewed and subject to the CMA, they will perform a two-step release. The first starting late 2022 to test with the publishing and advertising industry; the second starting mid 2023 to initiate the phase out of third-party cookie support. Bookmarks this page to follow their progress –

Now you may be asking yourself does this mean everything remains business as usual until 2023? That all the previous concerns around advertising and data linking are a problem of the future. Absolutely not. As Google is mentioning themselves there are many other privacy driven changes that are affecting this industry and will continue to do so. Just last month they announced the User String Reduction which aims to reduce the possibility of tracking users on Chrome. Just two weeks ago, Apple announced that they are essentially going to start hiding users’ true IP addresses from publishers with the help of the iCloud Private Relay. All these changes are part of the inevitable transition to a more private web and whether the third-party cookie is gone 2022 or 2023 does not matter. Just in 2021 we have seen drops in cookie volumes attributed to Chromes Version 90 release and together with the default settings of Safari and Mozilla, we are looking at fractions of the data that we used to see before 2019.

Adara continues to be committed to putting privacy at the forefront of data. From technologies that eliminate the necessity to share personally identifiable information (PII) to the ability to build a privacy-first data architecture, Adara will maintain the progress in its privacy innovation and help brands and DMOs elevate their data practices.

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