29th July 2022

Google Chrome delays sunsetting of third-party cookies until mid-2024

Ed Perry
Ad Ops Manager
Left Angle Mask

On 27th July, Google’s Privacy Sandbox vice-president Anthony Chavez published a blog post detailing further delays to the removal of third-party cookies on the Chrome browser, with the deadline now set for mid-2024.

Why are cookies important and what will replace them?

Third-party cookies have historically been a key technology in the digital ad industry, enabling accurate conversion measurement, targeting, and frequency capping. However, they have come under scrutiny in recent years due to privacy and safety concerns. These criticisms have led Google to move away from third-party cookies with the development of Privacy Sandbox.

Privacy Sandbox is a set of technologies designed to replace third-party cookies in various use-cases, allowing marketers to continue to effectively target and measure the success of digital advertising without compromising user privacy or browsing experience.

Other browsers such as Safari and Firefox have already taken steps to hamper third-party cookies – but with 65% of the market worldwide, Chrome’s market share is larger than all other browsers put together. For this reason, changes to the advertising ecosystem on Chrome are likely to have far wider-reaching repercussions than similar developments in other browsers.

What has caused the delay?

Concerns about Privacy Sandbox from the industry as well as regulators such as the CMA have resulted in repeated setbacks to the removal of third-party cookies from Chrome, with this latest delay meaning they will stick around for at least another two years while testing on Privacy Sandbox continues. This extra time may provide some comfort to digital marketers, and it indicates that – for now at least – Google seems content to continue to listen to feedback and concerns about the project before removing third-party cookies from Chrome entirely.

As Anthony Chavez points out in his blog, “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. This feedback aligns with our commitment to the CMA to ensure that the Privacy Sandbox provides effective, privacy-preserving technologies and the industry has sufficient time to adopt these new solutions."