A (Digital) Cookie Is a Sometime Food

Chrome has been the last bastion of the major web browsers for 3rd party cookies, since both Firefox (Since September 2019) and Safari (Since April 2019) have started to block them by default. This will no longer be the case as the Chromium team have announce they plan to phase out support for 3rd Party Cookies in 2 years time.

After initial dialogue with the web community, we are confident that with continued iteration and feedback … can sustain a healthy, ad-supported web in a way that will render third-party cookies obsolete. Once these approaches have addressed the needs of users, publishers, and advertisers … we plan to phase out support for third-party cookies in Chrome. Our intention is to do this within two years.

https://blog.chromium.org/2020/01/building-more-private-web-path-towards.html

What Are Cookies?

The Humble Web (HTTP) Cookie

A piece of data that an orgnisation leaves on a device, in the form of a text file to remember specific details (e.g. this person has logged in previously) that affects the browsing experience (e.g. no need to ask this person to log in again).

1st Party Cookie

Is created by the website domain you’re browsing and is only accessible to the website to then refer back to.

Example, I’m browsing Amazon (amazon.com.au), and it dropped a cookie that stores the language (English) I’m browsing the website in. Therefore when I return, Amazon will know to load the website in English.

3rd Party Cookies

Is created by an entity other than the website you are browsing, which have been mainly used by tracking and online-advertising purposes. These cookies can be accessed across different website domains.

This is how specific ads follow you around the internet.

Example: I’m browsing the Nike online store (nike.com), and take a look at a specific show product. Google ads (ad.doublclick.net) will drop a cookie that will store information of the product you just viewed, so that if you then visit a running blog (runningfans.net), Google Ads (ad.doublclick.net) will serve a display ad of the shoe from Nike on the blog.

In Summary

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Source

Furthermore cookies have the following limitations:

  • They don’t track an individual, just a specific browser instance i.e. the same person who browses on their desktop at home vs work laptop, are considered two entities for advertisers based ONLY on 3rd party cookie tracking
  • They aren’t compatible with mobile native apps so therefore tracking on your phone can be difficult

Implication

3rd Party Cookies have historically been the main tool for advertisers to track web browsing activity across the internet. However the technology has become outdated especially with a growing concern with privacy, which cookies can not provide.

This has meant the digital advertising industry will need to innovate and move away from cookie based tracking and make conscious considerations to privacy and consent that put greater control to consumers in how much data they want to provide to advertisers (those who want to reach you e.g. consumer product companies) and publishers (those who own the spaces to put advertisement areas e.g. news websites).

Final Thoughts

Given Google’s main cash cow has been from advertising, it is no surprise they are the last of the major browsers to phase out 3rd Party Cookie Tracking.

However, with the slow death of the cookie, Google has moved on this conflict of interest to stay relevant and force innovation that will lead to a few digital corpses in their stead.

Let’s start with the deadpool:
– View-through attribution: dead.
– Third-party data: dead.
– DMPs: dead.
– Multitouch attribution: dead.

Source: https://www.adexchanger.com/data-driven-thinking/google-you-finally-really-did-it/

This is great news for consumers from a privacy stand point, but businesses will need to keep up with the change in order to stay competitive in the ever evolving digital environment.


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