Latest Google delay clouds the truth about the inefficiency of third-party cookies  

Google has, once again, announced that it is pushing back the deprecation of third-party cookies in its Chrome browser. Is anyone else getting Déjà vu? With the current moving target for removal looking like some time in 2025, this announcement is leaving marketers stuck in limbo.  

First, let’s dive into a little bit of context. Google originally announced back in 2020 that it was getting rid of third-party cookies by 2022 – a decision that has been subsequently pushed back twice. First in 2021 (delaying deprecation to 2023) and then again in 2022 (pushing things back to 2024). The decision comes after Google began deprecating third-party cookies in 1% of Chrome browsers in January this year, a move which has implications for approximately 30 million Chrome users.  

Indications are that they intend to continue with this trial and aim to complete the process in 2025, but with historical precedent in mind, who really knows? 

Confused yet? You should be.  

Google cites the CMA investigation in its decision to delay

The latest announcement has the ongoing shadow of the live investigation by the CMA (Competition and Markets Authority) in the UK hanging over it.  

In fact, unsurprisingly Google specifically cites their own failure to respond to CMA and ICO concerns that were raised as far back as January this year, in the communication on their Privacy Sandbox website.  

‘We recognize that there are ongoing challenges related to reconciling divergent feedback from the industry, regulators and developers, and will continue to engage closely with the entire ecosystem. It’s also critical that the CMA has sufficient time to review all evidence including results from industry tests, which the CMA has asked market participants to provide by the end of June.’ 


Interestingly, while ensuring user privacy in digital advertising has been a strong focus for regulators around the world, the CMA concerns are more firmly centred around whether the third-party cookie changes Google is proposing give it an unfair competitive advantage over its online advertising rivals.  If this is not addressed properly, and rapidly, it could end up playing itself out in the courts.  

It is impossible to continue from here without noting that the CMA investigation follows on from concerns around the potential illegality of Google Analytics under GDPR given its continued use of US datacentres to process European data and unresolved concerns around the platform’s limited disclosure of effective controls.  

Industry pushback on proposed replacement solutions for cookies

As you might have already guessed, potential regulatory concerns are only one part of the story.  

Google has had a rough ride on the proposed cookie replacement solutions announced as part of its Privacy Sandbox initiative, with criticism of its proposals coming from advertisers, AdTech companies, publishers and regulators alike.  

With concerns ranging from lingering worries about how privacy-friendly the solutions are to concerns around over-complexity and significant reductions in targeting capability.   

What’s more, there seems little doubt that the fact that these solutions have not lived up to expectations has been a contributing factor in the decision to delay deprecation, yet again.  

Why the announcement clouds the real issues around cookies 

This announcement is the latest blow for marketers who are attempting to plan for and manage, a structured transition to privacy-compliant marketing.  

An unhealthy obsession with the merits, founded or otherwise, of third-party cookies is also obscuring the focus on what are a number of rather uncomfortable truths for Google including the fact that: 

Unlock unparalleled attribution with Corvidae

If you’re curious about getting ahead of the curve and leaving cookie deprecation concerns behind for good, AI-driven attribution can offer you unparalleled insight into the journeys your customers take to convert.  

Corvidae uses deep machine learning to stitch together customer touchpoints, regardless of if they switch devices on the way to becoming a customer. This resolves the fundamental flaw of cookie-based attribution solutions, meaning that you never again need to worry about if what your attribution platform is telling you is based in reality, or make-believe.  

Interested in finding out more? Get in touch with our team to set up a demo.  

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