Google’s new cookie functionality may hinder online advertising and improve privacy

New measures limiting the use of cookies in the Google Chrome browser will give users easier access to information and power over the cookies that websites have set on their browsers, making a crucial distinction between cookies that you actually help and those who glean data for advertisers.

Announced recently at Google’s annual I / O Developer Conference, Google is also banning another type of online tracking called a fingerprint. Being able to have more control over who follows you to sell you things sounds great for privacy transparency, but it’s also good for Google results. These changes are likely to impact the amount of data that third parties can collect on Internet users and give Google an even greater advantage over its competitors.

Dust is starting to fall on Google’s announcement at the conference, although details have yet to be released, but a blog post about the new cookies points out that they will limit how third-party companies can use cookies in Google. Chrome browser while offering its own use of cookies and the ability to create personalized advertisements, a boost. Even better for Google – it can claim that it is doing it in the interests of user privacy.

Modification of cookies and fingerprints

However, the advertising networks are far from being convinced and see in this approach a subtle way for Google to give itself an additional advantage in the online advertising space. Essentially what I / O ads do is give browser users better access and insight into what cookies have been set on their computer and, even better, how those cookies work. . The information, Google stressed, should tell users which cookies help them and which cookies help advertisers create personal profiles. It also limits online fingerprints. Prabhakar Raghavan, SVP for Google Ads & Commerce explained in a blog post:

“Advertising has made it possible to have free access to quality information and communication on the web. It changed the way people learn, play and win, and made the Internet open to everyone.

“But the ad-supported internet is at risk if digital advertising practices do not evolve to reflect people’s changing expectations about how data is collected and used. Our experience shows that people prefer ads tailored to their needs and interests, but only if those ads offer transparency, choice and control.

The result is that Chrome intends to make it easier for users to block or erase cookies used in a third-party context, with minimal disruption to cookies used in a proprietary context. Although Chrome has long allowed users to block cookies, these changes will allow users to continue to allow their online banking site, for example, to remember their login preferences, a feature enabled by first-party cookies. It also keeps Google accessing user data, giving it a major advantage over its online advertising competitors.

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Details remain unclear

At first glance, anything that improves web privacy through Chrome is a good thing, given that according to the most recent net market share analysis from April of this year, Chrome holds almost 66% of the market. market (around 90% of search queries are made however google search too).

Even still, as Paul Harrison, CTO at Simplifi, based in Fort Worth, Texas, pointed out, it’s still early days. While Google has announced that it will initiate new measures to support user privacy and control, Chrome has yet to provide many concrete details on how they will implement this. They said they wanted to stop fingerprints and were looking for a consensus tracking model, but it could be a membership model, notification, or control mechanism.

“Given the lack of clarity on where Google will go, it remains difficult to determine how this will affect advertising and what advertisers can do,” he said.

In general, he added, his company didn’t see much of an impact on intelligent tracking prevention (ITP) because it didn’t rely solely on cookies. While ITP in particular is not likely to have as much of an impact as some might think, the change to Chrome will likely create a lot of engineering work for some on how cookies are deleted and declared.

This has the potential to drive DSPs (demand side platforms – a system that allows digital advertising buyers to manage multiple ad and data exchange accounts through a single interface) towards an identifier approach for advertising (IFA) and away from cookies. For example, publishers are already working with third parties in their header auctions to match outside of the potential limitations of browser cookies.

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Impact of deleting cookies

Ultimately the main areas of impact will be desktop and mobile advertising, and to some extent cross-device targeting, Rajiv Bhat, SVP for Data Science and Market at InMobi, based in India, this will encourage a reorientation of spending towards mobile. application advertising, which is not dependent on cookies. Additionally, audience targeting will become more contextual and less personal.

Advertisers should also expect an impact on their data collection and processing pipelines if they depend on third-party data providers. One implication of the change is that users will be able to delete third-party cookies. The actual percentage of users clearing their third-party cookies is likely to be low in the short term as privacy-sensitive users embrace these changes.

Creation of advertising barriers

Tiffany Schreane (marketing and advertising expert and professor at Fashion Institute of Technology and Borough of Manhattan Community College. She noted that while the amount of data (first and third parties) available to advertisers in order to have marketing strategies more effective is invaluable, the limitation will create a number of obstacles that will be difficult to overcome. These obstacles include:

  1. Not be visible at the full scale of where potential or current target audiences see their placements so advertisers can retarget to drive conversions
  2. Not having full visibility of the number of impressions coming from the tablet, screen or mobile devices – this helps marketers know where to best spend their money
  3. Potentially limit the ability of advertisers to track the performance of their ads over time.

Welcome Privacy Controls

While it has the potential to limit the impact of advertising, many companies welcome the privacy controls it offers. Dan Goldstein, President and Owner of Page 1 Solutions, said that given the dominance of the Chrome browser, it allows Google to promote the privacy of consumers like Apple while setting Google apart from Facebook with its multitude of data privacy scandals. . He told us:

“This should be a positive step towards data privacy for consumers and may force advertisers to focus on contextual advertising – advertising aimed at consumers who visit specific web pages based on the content of those pages. Contextual advertising looks a lot less like Big Brother and benefits consumers by showing them ads that are relevant to the content of the pages they visit.

Of course, there is no guarantee that even with the new additions, users will actually use them. While Chrome’s feature (s) will provide better clarity to consumers regarding the types of cookies being placed on computers / browsers, it will certainly help differentiate Chrome from other available browsers. However, the tech industry team of Cincinnati-based Neal Patel President Frost Brown Todd says experience shows consumers have generally not taken advantage of the tools currently available in the market that allow them to limit or delete advertising cookies, whether the tools are offered through the Digital Advertising Alliance’s consumer opt-out page at or through third-party tools such as Ghostery.

“We don’t anticipate that the potential new features in Chrome will have much impact on advertisers or online advertising networks. The reality is, if you ask consumers if they like to be tracked by cookies for advertising purposes, the majority will say no. However, few of those same consumers do anything to limit activity, ”he said.