Blog What will the world without cookies look like?
01.09.2020

What will the world without cookies look like?

The advertising industry is on the verge of remarkable changes as Google is determined to eliminate third-party cookies in its market-leading Chrome browser. So far, the initiative, however, fails to materialize into tangible solutions.

Early in 2020 Google announced that its Chrome browser would forgo the use of 3rd party cookies beginning from 2022. Instead, the IT giant proposes to use HTTP State Tokens and several APIs. This initiative is known as Privacy Sandbox. This article explains why this news has sent the industry into upheaval and what comes next.

Why is this Google move so important?

After all, Firefox and Safari prohibited third parties access to cookies by default more than a year ago. Well, it’s all about the market share. 65% of users worldwide use Chrome, so, news related to such a popular browser influences the web to a far more considerable extent than others.

What’s wrong with 3-rd party cookies?

This move is meant to encourage publishers, agencies and other market players to assist Google in creating a new set of open web standards based on greater user privacy across the Internet. It also aims to hand personal data control over to users themselves.

How Google plans to transfer data?

In a future world without cookies Google wants targeting ads, analyricks and fraud detection systems to operate under rules set by Privacy Sandbox. It replaces cookies with five various API tools.

Advertisers will be using different APIs to receive aggregate data on:

What's the status now?

Privacy Sandbox is still in its infancy. Although Google announced plenty of features, right now, advertisers don't have any real platform or code that they could properly test and evaluate. The APIs aren't fully functional as of yet.

What's Hybrid response?

It's clearly not the first innovation in user data collection and transfer. So we have a couple of thoughts on how this might work and what it does mean to advertisers.

Some words about targeting

Currently, marketers primarily rely on third party cookies to get sociodemographic data and information on users’ interests. As the demise of third-party cookies looms large, related targetings will presumably be unavailable soon. Otherwise, nothing will change but the means of identification. In this case, we will be able to adjust the system accordingly.

Anyway, the industry should be prepared to build on the available solutions. For example, Google proposes a designated API for targeting by interests. Machine learning algorithms and users' browsing history allow browsers to pick broad cohorts of users with similar interests. The browser then passes this data to Client Hints, set to replace User-Agent string. So probably the focus will switch from targeting to a particular user to broad groups of users. But how exactly it will work is still anyone's guess.

For advertisers, things most likely won't change dramatically, other tools, more handy and cheap, will replace the obsolete ones.  

What will fraud prevention look like?

According to Google, users will have to fill in CAPTCHA only once. Then the algorithm will determine by itself whether the user's actions are humanlike or not. Fraud traffic thus should decrease. The problem is that Google hasn't defined any concrete characteristics of "humanlike" behavior.

Advertisers probably won’t notice any differences. As Google itself is going to be on guard against fraud traffic, programmatic advertising will possibly gain more credibility.   

What about frequency capping? 

We don’t need cookies to set the frequency. As long as an SSP sends ID, the system works fine. So, in this case, everything depends on an SSP. 

Conclusion

User data privacy rules are increasingly changing in an attempt to create a more secure digital environment. However, to date, there is not a single functioning system that could put these initiatives into practice.

We are keeping an eye out for all the developments and gradually attuning our systems to the new global beat of regulations on user personal data storage and transfer.