The End of Third-Party Cookies

Written by: 
Molly Niemczyk

Google is phasing out third-party cookies. Let’s discuss what that means for advertisers and users alike.


What Are Cookies?

If you’re unfamiliar with the concept of web cookies, they’re essentially a method of identifying users and recording certain data, such as their location. There are two categories of cookies to be aware of. 

First-party cookies are bits of user data that are only accessible to the owner of a website that the users are visiting. A lot of this data is considered necessary to a website’s performance, which is why most website pop-ups to disable cookies have an option to only use “strictly necessary” cookies.

Third-party cookies are those that are created by some other domain. They allow for cross-site tracking, and are often used to serve relevant ads to users based on their past behavior. But soon, the last major web browser to support third-party cookies - Google Chrome - will be phasing them out for good.


Why is Google Phasing Out Third-Party Cookies?

According to Google, it all comes down to consumer feedback regarding privacy. While the company admits that this decision may hurt their ad tracking abilities, the Director of Product Management states, “If digital advertising doesn't evolve to address the growing concerns people have about their privacy and how their personal identity is being used, we risk the future of the free and open web.” 


What Does This Mean for Advertisers?

Safari and Firefox blocked third-party cookies nearly a decade prior, but Google’s termination of their usage just might be the final nail in the coffin. So what does that mean for advertisers?

Google says it will be using “privacy-preserving APIs” to deliver results to advertisers without individual tracking. It has created a Privacy Sandbox, which essentially allows advertisers to receive aggregated data about conversions. 

It’s also important to remember that there will only be a ban on certain types of cookies; first-party cookies will still be allowed. 

If your current advertising strategy relies heavily on third-party cookie data, it’s time to start looking into alternatives. Since first-party user data is still an option, you might consider strategies that encourage people to take certain actions, such as signing into your website or opting into a newsletter. In fact, email marketing will still be a powerful way to reach your users, especially if you take the time to organize emails by audience segment. 

Here are some additional tips that marketers need to consider in advance of the ban.


Does your business need help navigating the changes that will come with phasing out third-party cookies? Reach out to Relevance Advisors today. We’re here to help you succeed.

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