Josh Koenig, co-founder and CSO at Pantheon, discussed Google’s plan to eliminate cookies and how it could affect businesses in an interview with Digital Journal. The move by Google has generated a mixed response. Some consumers are welcoming greater privacy controls, while businesses express concerns about the potential disruption to marketing technology (MarTech) operations.
Google’s latest announcement involves restricting the number of advertising cookies on websites accessed via its Chrome browser. This move comes as a response to mounting demands for enhanced privacy protections. Koenig’s insights offer valuable perspectives on how businesses should respond to this change.
According to Koenig, this update marks the first concrete step towards Google’s promise of a cookie-less future. Google had initially discussed the sunset of third-party cookies in 2018 with a two-year transition timeline. However, the plan has evolved. Google now intends to turn off third-party cookies for 1% of Chrome users by 2024. This gradual rollout allows the search giant to test the waters and address any challenges that may arise.
Significant upheaval is expected in the MarTech and AdTech industries. Marketing agencies, like Geeky Tech, rely on third-party cookies and scripts, which form the backbone of many tools, supporting vital functions such as analytics and personalisation. Without them, several web functionalities may degrade or break down, putting anything controlled by a tag manager at risk.
Developers must adapt to these privacy changes as well. Koenig emphasises that developers will need to alter their implementations or rethink their approaches to deliver essential functionalities. Google’s Privacy Sandbox, which groups user data into “topics” for advertisers without sharing individual identities, presents a different paradigm for developers to interact with. While big MarTech vendors may offer workarounds, this shift could catch smaller MarTech/AdTech SaaS startups off guard and affect ad-supported websites’ ad strategies.
Despite concerns, Koenig points out that a first-party approach to user and customer data is already gaining traction. It is benefiting companies that have proactively adapted to this new landscape. However, he also highlights the potential short-term impact on discoverability for websites, apps, and products, limiting the ability to micro-target new customers.
Google says its changes to non-Google ad networks will not harm competition. It will still be free to use and compatible with outside advertising systems. However, Koenig stresses that change is disruptive, and only time will tell if this shift fosters a more open and diverse AdTech ecosystem.
Koenig concludes the interview by recognising that this change is not merely a hurdle for existing products. It is also an opportunity for innovative solutions that integrate with first-party data and respect new boundaries. MarTech and AdTech industries are changing to enhance consumer privacy and help marketers create more impactful campaigns.
Google has been making changes across the board, having recently announced its supercharged search with generative AI. As businesses navigate these changes, stakeholders must stay informed and proactive. They must adapt their strategies to meet the evolving landscape of digital advertising and user privacy.
Parul Mathur has been writing since 2009. That’s when she discovered her love for SEO and how it works. She developed an interest in learning HTML and CSS a couple of years later, and React in 2020. When she’s not writing, she’s either reading, walking her dog, messing up her garden, or doodling.