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How to Talk to Your Ad Provider About Third-Party Cookie Deprecation

Just because you’re saying goodbye to 3PCs doesn’t mean you have to do the same to your ad strategy — and working with your provider is key to evolving your approach. Here are 10 questions you should ask your ad provider and a hint for each to get you started.

1. Tell me again, what are cookies?

Hint: Cookies are small bits of data that a website adds to your browser to identify you. 1PCs are placed on a user’s browser by the website operator and track activity only on that website. 3PCs are placed by third parties other than the website operator (i.e., advertising technology vendors) and allow advertisers to deliver more relevant ads to you. These cookies can track cross-site browsing activity at an individual level, which has raised privacy concerns.

2. How are you using cookies?

Hint: 1PCs are largely used to enhance on-site experiences f and to enable capabilities like web analytics tracking. 3PCs, on the other hand, are mostly used in digital advertising to identify and target users from an advertiser site to a publisher site.  

3. Is there a benefit to using 3PCs?

Hint: Yes, advertising technology vendors use 3PCs heavily for ad targeting, retargeting, and behavioral advertising. 3PCs help customers and prospects see much more relevant ads than if ads were targeted randomly. The heavy reliance on 3PCs by advertising is forcing many to rethink how advertising will work without 3PCs and is the reason proposals like those in the Privacy Sandbox exist.

4. When exactly are 3PCs going away?

Hint: Google initially announced the demise of 3PCs on the Chrome browser would take place in early 2022, but then pushed back the date to late 2023. The current plan is to phase out 100% of 3PCs in H2 of 2024. 3PC deprecation on Chrome is subject to review by the UK Competition and Markets Authority.

Remember, cookies have already been deprecated on all other major browsers.

5. How does Google’s decision impact the ad strategy you’re recommending for my brand?

Hint: At this point, we are not recommending a change in advertising tactics for advertisers on AdRoll’s platform. Our testing and involvement with multiple post-3PC advertising solutions indicates that the same tactics used today will be available post-3PC. We are actively testing these solutions and, should this perspective change, we will actively work with you to help inform and improve your advertising strategy.

For advertisers outside of AdRoll’s platform, we recommend assessing the strategy your advertising technology vendors are taking to ensure a smooth transition away from 3PCs and recommend considering partnerships with vendors whose future-proofing strategies meet your advertising needs.

6. Why is 3PC deprecation such a large change?

Hint: If your ad provider relies on 3PCs, they may not know what the alternatives are yet. And this could force businesses to rethink if and how they advertise.

7. What brought on the phase-out of 3PCs?

Hint: Consumers worldwide have become increasingly concerned with the perceived intrusiveness of 3PCs and the need to protect their data privacy. The other shoe to drop was an increase in government regulation.

In 2019, the European Union adopted the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which states that consent for data collection must be “freely given, specific, informed and unambiguous.” In the U.S., some states have passed their own data privacy laws, such as California’s Consumer Protection Act (CCPA), which went into effect on January 1, 2020. A new regulation, the California Privacy Rights Act (CPRA), expanded data privacy rights earlier this year.

8. Are there technologies that will block the use of 3PCs going forward?

Hint: Yes, Apple and Mozilla have introduced enhanced cookie-blocking technologies with Intelligent Tracking Prevention (ITP) and Enhanced Tracking Prevention (ETP). These solutions prevent 3PCs from being stored in browsers or sneaking in disguised as 1PCs.  

Additionally, Google has launched the Privacy Sandbox, an initiative focused on creating technologies that protect data privacy while at the same time developing tools companies and developers can use to build successful digital businesses. And by the way, our parent company, NextRoll, has chipped into that initiative.

9. What are some of the alternative advertising strategies you plan to implement?

Hint: While marketing without 3PCs sounds bad, there is good news here! There are other tactics emerging to help marketers reach the right audience, which include Google’s Privacy Sandbox, alternative identifiers, contextual targeting, and publisher first-party audiences. There are no cookie-cutter solutions; each brand has different needs that call for different solutions.

10. How will you measure the success of my company’s campaigns going forward?

Hint: 3PCs help advertisers accurately attribute conversions to specific ads, making it easier to optimize campaigns. Google Privacy Sandbox is trying to come to the rescue with two APIs for aggregated reporting and conversion measurement. These solutions would work together to collect performance information about ad campaigns without breaching users’ privacy.