Stay of Cookie Execution: Google Postpones Cookie Deprecation Again

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Late last week, Alphabet released its Q1 2024 earnings, and amid announcements that it will be paying a dividend to shareholders for the first time and authorizing a $70 billion share buyback — and the subsequent response of investors “eating it up” and lifting Google’s parent company to a $2 trillion market cap — the Google news I was most taken aback by was the further delay of a full phase-out of third-party cookies.

As was written in Google’s Privacy Sandbox Progress Report, which the company prepared for the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA): “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. Given both of these significant considerations, we will not complete third-party cookie deprecation during the second half of Q4.”

The delay into 2025 (or beyond?) marks just the latest stay of execution for third-party cookies since Google’s announced its phase-out plan for the third-party trackers back in 2020. 

The company’s Privacy Sandbox attempted to prioritize privacy, but “some publishers and adtech players have voiced concerns about the mechanics of the Privacy Sandbox’s auction,” The Drum’s Kendra Barnett writes, “alleging that it creates a closed marketplace, eliminating the need for external demand- and supply-side platforms.”

The continued postponements haven’t stopped marketers from seeking out alternatives, and “despite another delay,” as EMARKETER’s Sara Lebow writes, “cookies will go away eventually, and marketers will need first-party data strategies that involve either collecting identifiers themselves or partnering with data-rich companies for when that happens.”


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