Google has just announced that the cookie deprecation date for third-party cookies in Google Chrome will be delayed until the back-end of 2024 to enable ‘further testing’ of Google’s Privacy Sandbox tools. This is the second extension of Google’s initial plan to deprecate third-party cookies, which was initially set for Q2 2022.

Google’s Privacy Sandbox was launched as a privacy-first initiative that aimed to protect people’s privacy online while still giving companies and developers the tools to build thriving digital businesses. In Google’s announcement on July 27th 2022, Anthony Chavez, Google’s VP of the Privacy Sandbox, wrote, “The most consistent feedback we’ve received is the need for more time to evaluate and test the new Privacy Sandbox technologies before deprecating third-party cookies in Chrome.”

What does cookie deprecation mean for brands?

We imagine that many are relieved and somewhat rejoicing at the announcement as the extension seemingly gives brands, publishers, developers and advertisers an extended timeline to address third-party cookie dependencies, innovate and build a privacy-centric ecosystem. As such, the key takeaway from this announcement should be: Don’t wait, hesitate or become complacent.

Google’s announcement to extend the third-party cookie deprecation date until H2 2024 highlights that the technology industry is still in the middle of a seismic state of change due to privacy. It also reiterates that brands need to focus heavily on a solid customer data strategy to reduce reliance on unfinished privacy-first solutions and minimise the impacts of the inevitable death of third-party cookies.

XPON Technologies Chief Strategy Officer, Tom Sowerby, echoes this sentiment, stating,

“Google’s recent announcement highlights the constant flux in the privacy space and reiterates that brands need to avoid complacency and double down on a solid customer data strategy, as privacy-first solutions are still far from, and may never be, perfect.”

Our recommendations on what to do now:

  • Audit, understand and educate – If you haven’t already, educate and inform all relevant executive leadership and stakeholders within your organisation of the upcoming cookie deprecation dates and what this could mean for your business. If you’re unsure of the potential impact, conduct an audit to understand and quantify the risk (and opportunity) of third-party cookies across different business functions and what possible strategy, people, processes and technology changes may be required to shift to ‘privacy-first’.
  • Prioritise a focus on first-party data – With the deprecation of third-party cookies, first-party data needs to become the cornerstone of all CX and marketing strategies moving forward. Although seemingly more challenging to collect, first-party data should be seen as an opportunity, not a burden. By shifting focus towards first-party data, organisations can gain richer, more complete information on customers. This will enable brands to create more tailored strategies and connect with more personalised customer experiences, resulting in better retention, increased brand engagement and loyalty. Brands should start to identify what first-party data sources are currently stored across the business, which third-party data sets will need to be replaced, and how a ‘value exchange’ can be created to enable the collection of this first-party data moving forward.
  • Centralise storage and access – Invest in technologies to support a single customer view – Now that first-party data is the focus, it’s essential to collate and unify all data sources within a central system to create a single customer view. By effectively unifying data points from your company’s website, CRM, POS system etc., a clear picture of a customer can be created, acting as a springboard for all future personalised marketing activities. If you haven’t already, start investigating tools such as Wondaris CDP that help unify first-party data sets from across your business to help drive a customer data strategy forward.

Understandably, the shift to a privacy-centric marketing and CX ecosystem isn’t easy and tackling the key recommendations above can take time. This is why partnering with a strategic enablement technology partner like XPON can help to support your company in executing the customer data strategy required to combat the deprecation of third-party cookies.

For more information on how XPON can help prepare your business for a privacy-first future, please get in touch.