Learn
Learn
Close

They Ask, You Answer

A revolutionary approach to inbound sales, content marketing, and today’s digital consumer.

Learn MoreLearn More

Free Courses in IMPACT+

Dozens of sales, marketing, and content courses inside IMPACT+. Start learning now.

See all coursesSee all courses
Events
Events
Close
IMPACT+ Membership
IMPACT+ Membership
Close
Coaching & Implementation Services
Coaching & Implementation Services
Close

Services Overview

See how you can dramatically increase your inbound leads and sales.

Services Overview

Digital Sales and Marketing Mastery

Fast track your team’s success with IMPACT's most popular service.

Digital Sales and Marketing Mastery

Web Design

Launch a beautiful website that consistently generates leads and revenue.

Web Design

Virtual Sales Training

Equip your sales team with comprehensive training designed to help them close more deals in today's virtual-first world.

Virtual Sales Training

HubSpot Training & Implementation

Train your company to take ownership of HubSpot and get the most out of your investment.

HubSpot Training & Implementation

Case Studies

See dozens of examples of companies succeeding with Digital Sales and Marketing Mastery and They Ask, You Answer.

Case Studies
Become a Coach
Become a Coach
Close

What Google's plan for a cookie-free Chrome means for marketers

What Google's plan for a cookie-free Chrome means for marketers Blog Feature

January 20th, 2020 min read

Google's Justin Schuh, director of Chrome engineering, recently released a blog post stating that Google Chrome intends to kill off third-party cookies by 2020.

This proposed change introduces friction for advertisers and marketers who continue to rely (for better or worse) on third-party cookie tracking to display relevant ads to users.

What does this mean for advertisers in today's hyper-competitive market? How will this impact marketers' ability to track users based on actions? And why would Google discontinue and disrupt on a significant portion of its Display Network ad model?

Putting this announcement in context

While some advertisers may see this news as Google biting the hand that feeds it, this change isn't entirely unexpected.

In June 2019, Mozilla rolled out Enhanced Tracking Protection — which blocks known third-party cookies — for 20% of its user base. In September 2019, they made the feature de facto for all Firefox browser sessions.

Apple has already been fighting third party cookies since 2017 with their Intelligent Tracking Prevention and has strengthened it to block third-party cookies over the past three years (a move that sparked investor fear that Google would take a similar stance).

Apple directly called out Google by releasing its WebKit tracking prevention policy framework, which "describes the web tracking practices that WebKit believes, as a matter of policy, should be prevented by default by web browsers."

While both Apple and Mozilla immediately leveraged their third-party cookie blocking features to win market share and pressure Chrome, Google has been hesitant.

It makes sense. To put it bluntly, Google has more to lose. Mozilla's nonprofit revenue stream is supported by deals inked with Google in the past, and ad sales still make up a relatively small portion of Apple's business model.

For Google, ads are life. Over 80% of Google's Q3 2018 income was from ads — which has increased year-over-year. Google is trying to please all parties: users who crave privacy and advertisers who rely on tracking data. 

Over 80% of all Americans agree that digital privacy should be a key concern for Congress. 81% of Americans think that the risks of data collection for companies outweigh the benefits.

Google's hand is forced. If it wants Chrome to stay the dominant browser, it needs a privacy plan.

But Google is patient. To help fend off the waves of privacy enthusiasts and buy themselves a two-year timeframe, Google released a study claiming that revenue decreased 52% on impressions without cookies.

Google needs time to create a mechanism that gives advertisers value without third-party cookies. And, Google is trying to balance public opinion with tech nuances.

If it stops third-party cookies today, Google is worried that harder-to-catch tracking methods like fingerprint tracking will swarm the web.

So, while this move may feel like a gut punch to some players in the advertising circle, Google is trying to balance revenue with growth. And, according to the blog post, Google has a trick or two up its sleeve.

Google's privacy sandbox

Google claims to be working on a Privacy Sandbox feature that would make third-party cookies obsolete. The details are sparse, but Google claims that this system would help advertisers show relevant ads and keep ROIs stable without sharing much information.

In this proposed cookie-free future, Google's Privacy Sandbox would rely on a set of APIs to aggregate user data.

Perhaps there would be some blockchain-like features to provide anonymity while still sharing relevant data to marketers and advertisers?

As with most Google changes, expect the cookie-free era to be built on a set of web standards. While Apple has already developed its standards, we may see the three big browser providers come together with a single framework.

Otherwise, Google's framework will likely take precedence, given its relative market share and influence in the advertising community.

What does this mean for Google?

If Google's technology works, it will be business as usual. Even if it doesn't, marketers will adjust.

Could this be the slow death of display ads? Maybe, but probably not. Either way, Google still has Youtube and Adwords, which together make up the vast majority of its advertising revenue.

Eliminating cookies is a necessity. Twitter recently announced an end to third-party data on its platform. Facebook pixels now rely on first-party data. And YouTube even removed third-party pixel tracking. This change has been looming on the horizon.

Google is trying to figure out how to do it right. While some critics complain that Mozilla and Apple rushed headfirst into the privacy problem to win some headlines, Google is taking a slower, more rigorous approach to weeding out cookies. We'll see if it pays off.

What does this mean for marketers?

As marketers, we're used to the friction between privacy and ROI. How can we boost revenue without invading people's lives?

The vast majority of marketers would agree that privacy is a critical concern in 2020, and we would venture to say that most of you reading this would love to be able to maintain profits without using third party cookies.

It's the dream.

We all know the future of marketing is built on trust, branding, and customer-centric advertising practices. Currently, advertisers are stuck in a rut. The technology available to them to secure an ROI is often based on plentiful user data. If you don't use it, your competitors will.

Now that CCPA, GDPR, and all of the other regulatory frameworks have busted the dam open, handling data is becoming more complicated than ever.

If Google can successfully eliminate the need for third-party cookie tracking without severely crippling campaign performance, that's a win for everyone. Even if it fails, we'll all adjust.

Winning as an advertiser isn't just about creating the best campaigns and having the smartest strategies; it's about your ability to anticipate and react to change. This isn't doom-and-gloom; it's just another door that leads to the same future.

The unregulated data boom is over for advertisers. And it's about time.

Want to learn more about digital sales and marketing?

Master digital sales and marketing when you join IMPACT+ for FREE. Gain instant access to exclusive courses and keynotes taught by Marcus Sheridan, Brian Halligan, Liz Moorehead, Ann Handley, David Cancel, Carina Duffy, Zach Basner, and more.

Sign up for free
Take a peek

Access hundreds of FREE courses and keynotes

Free Course
Digital Sales & Marketing Framework for Today’s Buyers
By: Marcus Sheridan
View Course Preview View Course Preview
Free Keynote
A New Way to Compete & Win
By: Brian Halligan
View Course Preview View Course Preview
Free Virtual Keynote
How To Genuinely Feel Confident, Be Likable, And Build Trust On Camera
By: Liz Moorehead
View Course Preview View Course Preview
Free Keynote
The Future of Marketing is Conversational​
By: David Cancel
View Course Preview View Course Preview
Free Deep Dive
HubSpot On a Budget: Getting Started with HubSpot Starter Hubs
By: Courtney Caldwell
View Course Preview View Course Preview
Free Course
Assignment Selling: Content is Your Greatest Sales Tool
By: Marcus Sheridan
View Course Preview View Course Preview
Free Keynote
The Big, Bold, Brave New World of Marketing​
By: Ann Handley
View Course Preview View Course Preview
Free Course
Investing in Incredible Digital Sales and Marketing Results
By: Chris Duprey
View Course Preview View Course Preview
Free Course
How To Show Your Content Makes Money With HubSpot Marketing and Sales Hubs
By: Liz Moorehead
View Course Preview View Course Preview
Free Virtual Keynote
The Visual Sale
By: Marcus Sheridan & Tyler Lessard
View Course Preview View Course Preview
Free Keynote
Marketing Tech: What’s Now, What’s Near and What’s Not Anytime Soon?​
By: Dharmesh Shah
View Course Preview View Course Preview
Free Course
Inbound Lead Generation & Conversion Optimization
By: Carina Duffy
View Course Preview View Course Preview
Free Virtual Keynote
Fundamentals of Videography: You Can Be a Great Videographer Too
By: Zach Basner
View Course Preview View Course Preview
Free Deep Dive
The Ultimate Customer Service Toolkit for Any Budget
By: Andriti Gulati
View Course Preview View Course Preview
Free Course
6 Topics Subject Matter Experts Need to Address
By: Kevin Phillips
View Course Preview View Course Preview
Free Keynote
Fanocracy: The Power of Making Business Personal​
By: David Meerman Scott
View Course Preview View Course Preview
Free Keynote
The Power of Pillar Content
By: Liz Moorehead
View Course Preview View Course Preview
Free Keynote
SEO for the Future
By: Franco Valentino
View Course Preview View Course Preview
Free Course
Fundamentals of Social Media Marketing
By: Stephanie Baiocchi
View Course Preview View Course Preview
Free Deep Dive
A Practical Guide To Video Graphics
By: Colton Trcic
View Course Preview View Course Preview
Free Session
How To Get Your Community To Know, Like, And Trust You With Video
By: Marki Lemons Rhyal
View Course Preview View Course Preview
Free Course
Video Sales and Marketing Strategy
By: Zach Basner
View Course Preview View Course Preview
Here Are Some Related Articles You May Find Interesting

Want to Contribute Content to impactplus.com? Click Here.

IMPACT+ Sign Up
A FREE online learning community with on-demand courses, hundreds of expert-led sessions, thousands of your peers ready to support you, and much more.
Check it out
Hundreds of courses and recorded keynotes, completely FREE
Check it out
Access hundreds of digital sales and marketing courses and recorded keynotes, completely FREE