All you need to know about third-party cookies being removed from Chrome

Google is removing third-party advertising cookies from Chrome, following the likes of Apple’s Safari and Mozilla Corp’s Firefox. With third-party cookies being a key tool for marketers this news could bring some anxiety, but we’re here to offer some insight on what you can do to guide your business through these changes. 

What exactly are cookies?

HTTP cookies, simply cookies as they’re known, are small packets of data that a computer receives and sends back without alteration. 

So basically cookies are information and when you visit a site online a cookie is sent to your computer and your device stores that information. First-party cookies are cookies placed on your device by the web page you’re visiting while third-party cookies are placed on your device by a third party, such as an advertiser.

What exactly do cookies do?

The reason cookies are used by virtually every site is to track site visitation and activity. I know this sounds sketchy but hear me out. 

A positive example of cookies is shopping carts, cookies enable a site to keep track of your Amazon shopping cart for example, without them you simply could not ‘add to cart’. Without cookies your cart would return to 0 every time you loaded a new page (who wants that, seriously). 

Sites also use cookies to remember login data such as usernames and passwords. Imagine a world where we couldn’t check the ‘remember me’ box, I for one wouldn’t like to.

Cookies and the law

As of May 2012, sites now have to ask for direct permission to send and receive cookies; this is because of the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) EU legislation that was passed. Although we do not know what protections will be put in place once the United Kingdom leaves the EU, after the transition period deadline of December 31, 2020. 

Why is Google removing them? 

Google has said that the main reason for the removal of third-party cookies is privacy. Director of Chrome Engineering, Justin Schuh had this to say.

“Users are demanding greater privacy–including transparency, choice and control over how their data is used–and it’s clear the web ecosystem needs to evolve to meet these increasing demands.” 

After the messy GDPR business it’s no surprise Google is removing third-party cookies from Chrome. Although their removal will bring challenges for advertisers in the future, it’s good for the industry when such a big company is fighting for the privacy of its users.

When will they be removed?

Google plans to remove third-party cookies by 2022, with no precise date on when this new policy will come into place. This gives us all time to prepare for a world without third-party cookies. 

What does this mean for the industry?

Chrome makes up approximately 64% of the global market share (Statcounter), meaning that third-party cookie removal will significantly alter the digital marketing landscape, making tailoring ads more challenging. 

What should you do?

There are countless ways to make sure your business is ready for the removal of third-party cookies from championing first-party data to switching to IP address and device ID tracking.

So to keep in the loop check back with us as we will be rolling out more content to help you guide your business through these uncertain times. 

Want a more in depth conversation on how we can help your business optimise for the future? Don’t hesitate to get in touch with a member of the team.