Online advertising is fundamentally changing.
With increased pressure to bend to the calls for consumer privacy, corporations and governments are doubling down on regulations to block third-party technology that targets consumers. Recently, those winds have produced the California Consumer Privacy Act, GDPR, Apple’s Intelligent Tracking Prevention (ITP) and Firefox’s Enhanced Tracking Protection (ETP) initiatives. All are meant to protect consumer privacy, and all have created roadblocks for the advertising programmatic ecosystem. That’s because programmatic entities rely on third-party cookies as the foundation for user-level targeting and measurement. Without them, marketers can’t target users with highly relevant ads and determine whether those ads lead to sales.
Following complaints regarding its own consumer tracking practices, Chrome is next in line to follow suit. Recently, credible rumors began circulating, suggesting Google would be the next frontier to block third-party cookies.
This is major news. With Chrome’s market share at 63%, the implications of losing third-party cookie access in the browser are far-reaching and potentially crippling to programmatic advertising as we know it.
How will this play out? That’s yet to be seen and is hotly debated. But this discussion signals a web of dependencies in programmatic. If the effects of Apple’s ITP has taught us anything, it’s that it is better to prepare for what effective programmatic advertising can look like without having to rely on third-party cookies.