To this day not many of us know what cookies are, it is definitely not the cookie monster but it is a small text file that is dropped on your browser by a website you visit. These cookies allow websites to track who views their websites and it is used for targeted advertising.
Now that we know what cookies are, Google has made it known it will be phasing out third-party tracking cookies and will NOT be replacing these cookies. This is due to people having growing concerns about their privacy according to research conducted by Pew research centre.
“In fact, 72% of people feel that almost all of what they do online is being tracked by advertisers, technology firms or other companies, and 81% say that the potential risks they face because of data collection outweigh the benefits.”– Pew research centre
What does this mean for targeted advertising?
Safari and Firefox have blocked third-party cookies and Google plans on doing the same with Chrome. These cookies have allowed advertisers to create hyper-targeted ads gathered from third-party cookie data. Due to this, some users do not trust the internet or advertisers which will harm the future of the web. Advertising is still considered the primary way many companies make money on the internet, Google included. This is why Google aims to move away from third-party cookies and toward a more privacy-first search engine.
Google has assured it will not replace third-party cookies by building a proprietary solution to track users. Whereas other search engine providers will continue to offer user identity for ad tracking, Google has opted to use privacy-preserving APIs which will prevent individual tracking.
“Instead, our web products will be powered by privacy-preserving APIs which prevent individual tracking while still delivering results for advertisers and publishers, advances in aggregation, anonymization, on-device processing and other privacy-preserving technologies offer a clear path to replacing individual identifiers.”– Google
Google states it is no longer necessary to track a user’s web activity to achieve results with digital advertising.
“People shouldn’t have to accept being tracked across the web in order 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.”– Google
The new way of advertising
Although Google will not be replacing third-party cookies, it has been assured targeted advertising will not be gone but instead replaced with less invasive methods by using Privacy Sandbox. The aim of Privacy Sandbox is to hide the user inside a large crowd of people with similar interests which it will then target ads toward. Instead of being individually recognised, users are merely small fish in a big sea.
Google Chrome 89 integrates Android Phones and Chrome OS and allows for better web sharing. Chrome 89 Beta APK allows us a first look into Privacy Sandbox and the use of “web crowd” for targeted advertising.
Google is beginning to embrace a privacy-first web as increasing pressure comes from across the world. Google has acknowledged some of its competitors will continue to find solutions built around individual identities.
“We realize this means other providers may offer a level of user identity for ad tracking across the web that we will not — like PII graphs based on people’s email addresses. We don’t believe these solutions will meet rising consumer expectations for privacy, nor will they stand up to rapidly evolving regulatory restrictions, and therefore aren’t a sustainable long term investment,” writes Google.
Why do we care?
This announcement proves Google is committed to supporting its user by assuring them they can access a range of ad-supported content knowing their privacy is not at risk. Although this change does bring about the growing concern for targeted ads, the only difference is companies will not know the exact identity of the user but rather have a general idea of the group of people who are interested in their content. Many people are concerned about their privacy and knowing Google is phasing out third-party cookies, people might feel at ease and get rid of the ad-blocker extension on Chrome – we can dream.Tags: digital marketing, google
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