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The Time Has Come – Google Is Disabling Cookies in 2024

By: Cody Albright    December 27, 2023

Jokes have been made for years on whether Google is actually going to be getting rid of third-party cookies on Chrome browsers. Google announced this news back in 2020 but kept pushing back the actual date of execution, causing advertisers and brands alike to be on somewhat of an emotional roller coaster.  

It seems, though, the laughter has stopped and the roller coaster ride has come to an end. Google has finally announced that 1% of Chrome users will have third-party cookies disabled starting in Q1 2024.  

What This Means 

There are approximately 311 million internet users in the U.S., and Chrome boasts a browser market share of 53% as of 2023, meaning that roughly 1.6 million people will no longer have third-party cookies enabled on their browsers come January 2024.  

So, what?  

Well, third-party cookies are used to help brands and advertisers track a person’s browsing history and use this information to serve more personalized ads and create more robust reporting. With cookies going away, other ways of tracking and reporting will have to be deployed.  

Are We Prepared? 

This news, and the associated impact, is of no surprise, and steps have already been taken by data providers, ad platforms, agencies (including Marcus Thomas), and brands to brace for the full impact of a cookieless world. 

Here are just a few solutions:  

  •  Targeting: 
    • Contextual:  
      • Serving ads based on the context of what’s being viewed on a page, in an app, or within media (like video)  
    • Keyword: 
      • Relying on search queries made by internet users to show ads based on what keywords are included in the search:  
    • Identity Graphs: 
      • Data partners utilizing shared and proprietary knowledge to create an identity graph not dependent on cookies but rather uses other information like email addresses or other first-party data  
    • First-Party Data: 
      • Emails, phone numbers, and other information consensually shared with brands by current or potential customers  
  • Reporting: 
    • Modeling: 
      • Advances in machine learning allowing for better reporting models to be created  
    • CDPs: 
      • Leverage customer data platforms to collect, centralize, and organize customer data to have a better understanding of behavior or interactions with a brand, all without using cookies  

What’s Next? 

To prepare for the removal of third-party cookies, Google is recommending to “audit, test, use related website sites, and migrate,” and now is the time to talk with your marketing team on ways they’ve prepared to face both the targeting and reporting challenges referenced above.  

It’s important to know that these changes to cookies impact all brands and advertisers, so there will be plenty of resources devoted industrywide to finding the best solutions for brands and marketers to reach the right audiences at the right time with the right message.