Jan'24·Andrés Auchterlonie·2 MIN

Ringing in the Year of Privacy: The deprecation of third-party cookies

Home Ringing in the Year of Privacy: The deprecation of third-party cookies

It’s 2024, the year of privacy is finally here. Google announced the deprecation of third-party cookies back in 2019 and the world has been abuzz ever since. The countdown has finally begun. January 4th marked the pivotal change as Google Chrome began the third-party cookie phase-out by initiating its restriction for 1% of users. Google also revealed that it plans to ramp up third-party cookie restrictions to 100% of users from Q3 2024.

With this, the digital advertising world marks a fundamental change in ad strategies and the go-to source of user targeting will soon cease to exist. Now publishers and advertisers must look for alternative approaches to reach users with tailored content that matches their preferences. As traditional, cookie-dependent practices become obsolete, the need to transition is inevitably clear. In a survey conducted in late 2022, 59% of respondents stated that they were either accelerating their readiness for a cookieless future or keeping it a high priority.

In anticipation of the cookieless future, Google introduces Privacy Sandbox. The Privacy Sandbox is Google’s initiative that aims to provide phase-out support for third-party cookies when new solutions are in place. It plays a crucial role in enabling advertisers and publishers to continue offering content online by ensuring a balance between user privacy and the sustainability of online services, reducing cross-site and cross-app tracking. 

Digital marketing in the privacy-first world 

Beyond Google’s Privacy Sandbox, advertisers are also exploring other alternatives to third-party cookies to make a seamless transition and create effective privacy-first ad strategies. One of the more obvious emphasis has fallen on first-party data. Data collected with the knowledge and consent of users, first-party data refers to the information that a brand collates from users when they interact with the brand’s website and marketing/advertising literature or make a purchase. This data gives advertisers insights into user preferences that help them segment audiences and deliver ads that align with their interests. 

Zero-party data is always a great option as the data is directly and intentionally shared by the user to receive personalized communications from the brand. Both zero and first-party data are collected with the user’s consent and are authentic sources of information that brands can rely on as they are accurate and compliant with data privacy regulations. 

Other options of programmatic advertising include demographic, geographic, or device-based targeting but these don’t offer the ability to create and share relevant content to users. Zero and First-party targeting practices are also limiting as advertisers are restricted to their existing audience base. Advertisers and publishers need a privacy-safe solution that combines relevance with scale.

Contextual targeting has emerged as a front-runner in the transition to the cookieless world as it bridges the gap between relevance and scale and offers a new-age, non-intrusive solution. Looking at data beyond a user’s browsing history or leveraging third-party cookie data, contextual targeting focuses on a user’s current interests based on the content they are consuming. Without tracking a user’s browsing patterns or using alternative IDs, contextual advertising powered by AI goes beyond stereotypes and enables precise targeting. Network Level Analysis (NLA) provides real-time insights and recognizes trends that power more effective strategies by reaching the right audiences where they are. 

Contextual advertising is pushing the boundaries by transcending conventional, stereotypical, and invasive practices of categorizing users based on interests and past browsing patterns that are not always accurate. Instead, the focus lies on placing ads on web pages where the on-page content and context align with the ads. This ensures the ads match the content a user is currently consuming, maximizing relevance without violating their privacy. 

Built for scale, contextual targeting empowers advertisers to create custom audience categories that align with their brand based on contextual cues. It presents an opportunity to elevate to a future-proof strategy that embraces diversity and inclusivity through a more in-depth understanding of audience preferences. Contextual targeting’s ability to understand nuances and semantically interpret content also enhances brand safety and brand suitability by eliminating the display of ads beside negative or harmful content and ensuring ad placement falls in line with the overall message and tonality of the brand. 

Curious to know more about contextual advertising and what it can do for your brand? 


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