Google Has Started Phasing Out Third-Party Cookies

Google is phasing out third-party cookies and how they affect digital advertising and user privacy. The alternatives for online tracking and targeting

Google Has Started Phasing Out Third-Party Cookies

The Google Chrome browser began testing a new feature called Tracking Protection, which by default restricts tracking by multiple websites by restricting website access to third-party cookies. This function on 2024 January 4 was installed by 1% of Chrome users worldwide. Its purpose is to provide more privacy and control data usage.


What Are Third-Party Cookies?

Before exploring the consequences of Google's decision, it is crucial to grasp the concept of third-party cookies. These are tiny snippets of code placed on a user’s device (computer, mobile, or tablet) by a website different from the one they are presently on. Mainly utilized for tracking and online advertising, they assist advertisers in presenting users with more tailored and pertinent advertisements based on their browsing habits.

Why Is Google Phasing Them Out?

Google's decision stems from increasing concerns over user privacy. In recent years, there has been a growing awareness and apprehension about how personal data is collected and used online. Users are demanding more control over their information, and regulatory bodies worldwide are implementing stricter data privacy laws, like the GDPR in Europe and CCPA in California. By eliminating third-party cookies, Google is moving towards a more privacy-centric web.

The Timeline for Change

Google announced its intention to phase out third-party cookies in Chrome by Q3 2024, following similar moves by other browsers like Safari and Firefox. However, this transition won't happen overnight. It's part of a larger initiative called the Privacy Sandbox, where Google aims to develop a set of open standards for digital tracking that respects user privacy while still allowing advertisers some level of targeted advertising.

Implications for Advertisers and Publishers

This change has far-reaching implications for the digital advertising industry. Advertisers have long relied on third-party cookies for targeting, retargeting, and measuring the effectiveness of their online ads. Without these cookies, they will need to find new ways to gather user data and target ads. Google proposes alternatives like FLoC (Federated Learning of Cohorts), which aims to group users into cohorts based on similar browsing behaviors while keeping individual data anonymous.

For advertisers and publishers, the phase-out of third-party cookies presents both challenges and opportunities. On the one hand, it will become more difficult to track individual users and deliver personalized ads. On the other hand, it presents an opportunity to rethink advertising strategies and focus on building direct relationships with consumers.

One potential solution for advertisers is to shift towards contextual targeting, which focuses on delivering ads based on the type of content users are consuming, and can be a viable alternative to cookie-based targeting. This approach relies on keywords, topics, or content tone to match ads with user interests and is more privacy-friendly. This could lead to a resurgence of contextual targeting in the digital advertising landscape.

Publishers, on the other hand, may need to rethink their monetization strategies as they rely less on third-party data for ad targeting. Building direct relationships with their audience through first-party data collection and offering value-added services such as subscriptions or memberships could become increasingly important.

What Does This Mean for Users?

Phasing out third-party cookies can significantly improve online privacy and data security for users. It potentially reduces the amount of personal data that's collected and shared across websites. However, it's worth noting that this doesn't mean the end of online advertising. Rather, the approach to how ads are targeted and delivered will evolve.

What Does This Mean for Digital Matter?

Digital Matter which provides ad tech solutions will also need to adapt to the changing landscape. We have built our business around third-party cookies, and we will need to innovate and develop new technologies that align with Google's privacy-first approach.

The discontinuation of third-party cookies presents both short-term challenges and long-term opportunities for the advertising ecosystem. Prioritizing user privacy and providing respectful, personalized advertising experiences can benefit both consumers and businesses.

As we transition towards a cookieless future, collaboration and innovation will be essential for all stakeholders in the digital advertising ecosystem. Advertisers, publishers, and technology companies must cooperate to create new standards and technologies that facilitate effective advertising while upholding user privacy.


Google's decision to discontinue third-party cookies represents a crucial turning point in the dynamic between efficient digital advertising and user privacy. Although it presents difficulties for marketers, it also creates opportunities for the development of privacy-centric advertising technologies. With the changing landscape, businesses and users need to adjust to the new age of digital privacy. This change marks a significant shift in the future functioning of the internet, with a focus on prioritizing user privacy.

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