The third-party cookie, a linchpin of the ad industry used to serve targeted ads, just received a stay of execution. Google says it will continue supporting third-party cookies until the end of 2023, citing mounting industry opposition and the feedback it received when testing possible replacements. The delay leaves brands restless and uncertain. While the move relieves immediate pressure on advertisers trying to find or build a suitable replacement, it leaves the industry in an uncomfortable limbo as those replacements—including Google’s own post-cookie solution—struggle for traction.
In a blog post, Google attributes the delay to pressure from the industry that replacements weren’t yet ready–including solutions born from its own so-called Privacy Sandbox. “We need to move at a responsible pace, allowing sufficient time for public discussion on the right solutions and for publishers and the advertising industry to migrate their services,” wrote Vinay Goel, director, privacy engineering, Chrome. “This is important to avoid jeopardizing the business models of many web publishers which support freely available content.”
The delay is set to annoy brands looking for clear answers and commitments. “Personally, I think it would be best for the industry if we advance [past the cookie],” says Jonathan Halvorson, VP of consumer experience for Mondeléz. “The current environment isn’t really ideal for the consumer or advertisers. Innovation is needed.” An industry executive echoed that sentiment, saying that keeping cookies alive means the industry can’t move forward.