Saying goodbye to third-party cookies in 2024 🍪

Explore the farewell of third-party cookies in 202. Explore their role in online advertising, user privacy concerns, and Google's latest initiatives.

Explore the farewell of third-party cookies in 202. Explore their role in online advertising, user privacy concerns, and Google's latest initiatives.

Privacy & Data

Maria Correa

Mar 20, 2024

Have you ever wondered why when you search something online, then it appears everywhere on your social media as an ad? Well, it is not because your phone is spying on you or something witchcraft. It is because of the cookies.

Wait what? Yes, cookies, but not the ones you eat at your favorite bakery. The cookies I’m talking about are the ones that marketers use to track website visitors, improve the user experience, and collect data that helps them target ads to the right audiences.

Today we are going to talk about this because of the latest news of Google phasing out the third-party cookies in Chrome. We know that you are also asking yourself why are they doing this? And it is primary due to users’ concerns about their privacy on the internet.

As David Temkin, Director of Product Management, Ads Privacy and Trust at Google said, “People shouldn’t have to accept being tracked across the web to get the benefits of relevant advertising. And advertisers don't need to track individual consumers across the web to get the performance benefits of digital advertising.”

So, let’s start from the beginning,

What are cookies for ?

Cookies are used mainly to track user behavior on the internet to be able to release ads and campaigns more accurately to the target audience. This is mainly a marketing issue, because, of course, marketers just want to convert and return the investment. That’s why they benefited from the use of cookies to be able to launch more personalized advertising.

So, cookies keep track of your sessions. Each session is defined as a complete website experience. That is, cookies keep saving the items in your shopping cart, remember your login info, and keep showing you the items you’ve looked at.  All of this is to better-targeting ads.

The most used cookies

There are more than one cookie? Yes, there is more than one cookie, and here are the three most used cookies on the internet:

1. Session cookies: These are temporary cookies that are stored on your computer or device during a browsing session. They are essential for managing the web page and enable the site to remember what you have selected as you move from page to page. These cookies memorize and track your online activities, helping to provide a smothy browsing experience. These cookies are automatically deleted from your device when you close your browser.

2. Persistent cookies: These are a unique type of cookie that primarily serve the purpose of remembering the preferences that you set while using the internet. Whether it's the layout of a website, your preferred language, or even the volume level on a video player, persistent cookies are designed to remember these settings over an extended period.

3. Third-party cookies: These are known as tracking cookies, which are the cookies that Google has expressed interest in phasing out. The primary function of these cookies is to collect data from users, which is then shared or potentially sold to advertisers by the website that initially created the cookie. This data can include a wide variety of information and it is collected with the intent of understanding user behavior and preferences. In essence, these third-party cookies are tools for catching extensive user data that is used to enhance targeting and personalization in advertising.

What third-party cookies can track?

  • This kind of cookies may track your interests, allowing advertisers to understand what products or services you might be most interested in.

  • They also can track your location, providing insights into the geographical areas where you spend your time, and consequently, where certain products or services might be most relevant.

  • Additionally, they can record information about your age, helping advertisers target age-specific demographics with their marketing strategies.

  • Finally, these cookies capture your search trends, revealing the topics you're most interested in and the types of queries you're making online.

For Google, this is the main problem, the privacy of the users, because of the unauthorized selling and distribution of this data. This confidential data that users entrust to the company, is being circulated and sold without any due permission or authorization. Users now are active users and for sure they are worried about their information and their online registration.

“Users are demanding greater privacy--including transparency, choice, and control over how their data is used--and it’s clear the web ecosystem needs to evolve to meet these increasing demands.”  Said Justin Schuh, Director of Chrome Engineering.

What is next?

In August 2019, Google announced for the first time an initiative (known as Privacy Sandbox) “to develop a set of open standards to fundamentally enhance privacy on the web. Our goal for this open-source initiative is to make the web more private and secure for users, while also supporting publishers.” Said Schuh.

This move is done in a way to protect users who are actively asking for more privacy. It's good to know or clarify that while Safari and Firefox have blocked third-party cookies since 2013, Chrome was the only one that hadn't done so until now.

About this, Schuch also said in Google’s blog: “Some browsers have reacted to these concerns by blocking third-party cookies, but we believe this has unintended consequences that can negatively impact both users and the web ecosystem.”

In Conclusion

It's crucial to note that Google isn't implementing a blanket ban on all cookies. They are specifically allowing first-party cookies, which track essential data about your website's visitors. These cookies collect the basic information that helps you understand your audience better, including details like how they interact with your site, how long they spend on different pages, and what kind of content they seem to prefer. So, while Google is taking steps to ensure user privacy, they are still maintaining the balance by allowing website owners to gain insights into their audience behavior.

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