Google Grants Reprieve: Chrome’s Third-Party Cookie Deprecation Now Set for 2025

Some notable and relevant news for digital marketers worldwide was formally announced this spring! Google has once again postponed its plan to phase out third-party cookies for visitor tracking in the Chrome web browser. This latest announcement comes after a series of ongoing challenges receiving viable feedback from regulators and industry investors.

The official announcement was found in the UK’s Competition Markets Authority (CMA) joint quarterly report on the Privacy Sandbox initiative on April 26.

Google officially stated that it “will not complete third-party cookie depreciation during the second half of Q4” this year. The entire plan to phase out this aging technology was exciting to advocates on the front lines pushing for heightened privacy on the web but encountered yet another snag. The globally dominating tech giant aims to begin depreciating third-party cookies in Chrome “beginning early next year.”

Many other elements of fine-tuning and details will take place assuming an agreement can be reached with the CMA and the UK’s Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO). The statement cited a thorough review of evidence including results from industry tests, which the CMA has asked all participants to produce by the end of June.

The Importance Of Consistent Engagement:

Google had claimed that it remained 100% committed to continuing close engagement with the ICO and CMA throughout the process and is hopeful about continuing discussions later this year. Industry leaders are unfortunately noting that this is the third delay in the timeline, as the initial plan was to aim for a Q3 2023 phase-out before pushing the event back to late 2024. The sensible transition away from cross-site user tracking while balancing privacy and revenue generation has not been without challenges.

“Transition Timing is Everything”: Impacts & Eyes on The Future

This January, Chrome began restricting third-party cookie access for 1% of users worldwide. The original plan was to gradually increase this number until 100% of users were covered by Q3 2024. This latest delay at least offers websites and companies more time to work on the migration process away from third-party cookie dependencies.

Google’s limited “depreciation trials” program offers temporary cookie extensions until December 27, 2024. These extensions are for cases outside of the advertising realm that will assist with gauging user impact. During this transition period, the eligibility rules are strict, with any parties involved in advertising not eligible. If domains consist of anything ad-related, they are rejected, which will aid in collecting accurate data.

Much like many other events over the past three years, this delay poses the potential for disruption regarding the entities that rely on this data for their valuable tracking. Various industry groups have notably raised concerns that the disappearance of this type of tracking will only lead to practices that are even more invasive. Outspoken privacy advocates who are more concerned with the present view this as a much-needed step towards preventing the creation of dangerous user profiling worldwide.

Firefox and Safari had gone to the trouble of blocking third-party cookies back in 2020, laying the future foundation for others to follow suit. The Competition and Markets Authority’s biggest concern now is how this will impact Google’s competition, and how Google could enjoy a “propped-up” position causing other search engines real trouble. The CMA also believes that publishers will now endure a grappling form of struggle to monetize their endeavors. With cookies being phased out of practice, agencies feel like they are now left without much of a data-gathering alternative.

Playing in The Sandbox: Google’s Motivated Initiative:

For Google, the ultimate motivation behind the removal of cookies is to see them replaced by a well-thought-through initiative of their own. This aims to allow websites to acquire valuable user information without a complete invasion of privacy and enable online advertising for the desired sharing of said user data. Jeff Green is the CEO of The Trade Desk, and he thinks that the Sandbox Initiative’s layout is too complex. The CMA now is firing up an extensive investigation of Google, and its Sandbox Initiative to make sure Google isn’t on the verge of releasing a product that is anti-competition to the core.

There are some important actions to be taken by marketers during this transition, with Salesforce marketing tools at the forefront. The “First-Party Tracking” mechanism has been around for quite some time, meaning that Account Engagement (Pardot’s) web tracking has been moved from the domain to your company name’s specified tracker. There are some high-level and very necessary steps to implement this protocol, with a marketing agency such as us at Farfetched Studios existing as the most feasible and knowledgeable guide. Don’t be caught off guard when Google’s now-slow grinding gears pick up steam and contact us today for a thorough consultation!