Shawn Lim
Apr 24, 2024

Google delays cookie deprecation again: APAC adtech leaders respond

Google will now phase out cookies entirely in 2025 after being told the concerns around Privacy Sandbox still need to be addressed.

Google delays cookie deprecation again: APAC adtech leaders respond

Google has once again announced a delay in its plan to phase out third-party cookies entirely in its Chrome browser. 

While the tech giant has already removed 1% of cookies, the full deprecation is now postponed to 2025, pending approvals from regulatory bodies like the UK's Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) and Information Commissioner's Office (ICO). Google previously delayed cookie deprecation in 2022.

This decision comes as Google faces intricate challenges including varied feedback from industry stakeholders, regulatory scrutiny, and the need for further testing of new technologies.  

Google’s plan to replace third-party cookies with the Privacy Sandbox, has been under development but has encountered obstacles from advertisers and regulators concerned about potential anticompetitive effects and insufficient privacy protections. 

The ICO has told Google that the Privacy Sandbox does not go far enough to address the concerns and has provided the same feedback to the CMA. 

“We remain committed to engaging closely with the CMA and ICO, and we hope to conclude that process this year. Assuming we can reach an agreement, we envision proceeding with third-party cookie deprecation starting early next year,” Google said in a statement.

APAC adtech leaders share their thoughts

Dan Richardson, director of data and insights for Australia and Southeast Asia at Yahoo, points out that when third-party cookie deprecation started in January, it was 'incredibly worrying' to see how many brands and agencies were caught not having trialled and understood third-party cookie alternatives.

Richardson warns that businesses neglecting this crucial step risk being partnerless when Google eventually phases out cookies. Additionally, the IAB Tech Lab Privacy Sandbox Fit-Gap Report highlights that out of 45 submitted use cases critical for programmatic advertising, 23 remain unsupported by the Privacy Sandbox initiatives.

"Google’s latest delay in phasing out third-party cookies on Chrome until early 2025 may offer temporary relief to some. However, it merely postpones the inevitable changes that the industry needs to adapt to. The next generation of identity-based advertising solutions needs to be right for both advertisers and the consumer," explains Richardson.

That means providing a single customer view and proving marketing effectiveness without imposing a huge data tax on audiences. Failure to do this puts more power into the hands of the growing set of walled gardens, which creates huge challenges for agencies, regulators, and society as a whole."

Ash Dharan, senior director of performance of NP Digital tells Campaign the delay is not much of a surprise, given the magnitude of what is happening with Google’s Privacy Sandbox at the moment.  

Nonetheless, Dharan says this deprecation of the cookie will happen eventually, and marketers and advertisers need to prepare for it. 

“This delay allows marketers more time to proactively engage with emerging technologies and stay ahead of the deprecation curve,” explains Dharan. 

“The loss of third-party cookies offers an opportunity for innovation and growth, and we owe it to our customers to adopt a more privacy-centric approach. We know the digital environment is rapidly changing, but by developing comprehensive first-party data strategies, testing AI and next-generation digital marketing solutions, we can not only adapt to third-party cookie loss but unlock new potential for precise and effective marketing in a post-cookie world.” 

Mitch Waters, senior vice president of client services for Asia Pacific at The Trade Desk, points out that whether Google delays the deprecation of third-party cookies tomorrow or in 2025, the industry still has the opportunity to improve identity on the open internet. 

"There are different identity solutions that support the needs of the modern marketer, maintaining the value exchange of relevant advertising and enabling brands to put their first-party data to work,” Waters explains to Campaign. 

Antoine Gross, general manager for SEA and India at Impact.com, asserts that the present moment is ripe for brands to wholeheartedly embrace the advantages of first-party data. He encourages brands to explore advertising approaches like influencer partnerships, which not only deepen customer insights but also fortify connections with their intended audience.

“In addition, it's an opportune moment for advertisers to familiarise themselves with and pilot Google’s Privacy Sandbox technologies, which would supposedly offer privacy-preserving alternatives to third-party cookies,” says Gross. 

“By leveraging these strategies, brands can smoothly transition to comply with evolving privacy norms and enhance their marketing effectiveness.” 

With generative AI on the verge of becoming an integral part of all business, the best way to prepare for the future is to have owned data inform all aspects of strategy and business, David Gaskill, the founder and director of ZroFox tells Campaign.

"Today’s news has once again demonstrated why smart brands and businesses are investing in owning their own data and diversification. Relying on and paying for big tech is like sitting on a freeway in neutral," explains Gaskill.

Source:
Campaign Asia

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