‘Use this time wisely’: Marketing bodies welcome delay of Google’s third-party cookie ban 

Google’s Privacy Sandbox vice president said the delay follows “consistent feedback” from marketers, publishers and developers that they need “more time”.

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Marketing industry bodies are welcoming Google’s decision to delay blocking third-party cookies until at least the second half of 2024, advising advertisers to “use this time wisely”.

This is the second time Google has delayed the ban since first announcing it in 2020. Originally due to take effect from January this year, it was first pushed back in June last year to late 2023.

The tech giant plans to replace cookies with Privacy Sandbox, an initiative to create new standards for websites to access user information without compromising privacy. In a blog post, Google Privacy Sandbox vice-president Anthony Chavez said the delay follows “consistent feedback” from marketers, publishers and developers that they need “more time” to evaluate and test the new tools. 

ISBA, the body representing British advertisers, says the extension of the testing window is “not unexpected”.

“ISBA welcomes the additional time it gives marketers to address the complex issues flowing from the deprecation of third-party cookies,” says director general Phil Smith.  

Smith adds the industry has “already benefited” from more time to evaluate the proposals and learn how to adapt to them.  

“Many ISBA members are on their paths to privacy-first marketing structures and a shift to alternative systems and approaches is underway. This further extension should ensure the industry as a whole is better prepared to make the significant transition required,” he says. What does the third-party cookie crackdown mean for marketers?

The Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB UK) agrees the delay is positive news for the industry. However, CEO Jon Mew warns this delay does not mean businesses shouldn’t take urgent action.  

This timeline change gives more opportunities for stakeholders to trial available alternatives, via Privacy Sandbox or other solutions, and my message is simple: use this time wisely,” he says.  

“By being proactive and adopting alternative ways to effectively target and measure campaigns – regardless of this delay – businesses are not only future-proofing their operations, but making sure they are in line with our increasingly privacy-first present.”

Chair of the IPA Media Futures Group and COO Publicis Media UK Mark Howley also urged businesses to think about how to use the extra time

“We hope Google will use this time to complete their trials and allow scrutiny of results, to robustly demonstrate that the Privacy Sandbox is a truly privacy-preserving technology that works for the whole industry and doesn’t advantage Google’s advertising products over their competitors,” he says.

According to Google’s Chavez, Privacy Sandbox trials will expand to “millions” of users globally from early August, with the trial population to gradually increase throughout the rest of the year and into 2023. As businesses test its APIs, Google will continue to “listen and respond” to feedback, he said.

The company expects Privacy Sandbox to be fully launched and available in Chrome by the third quarter of 2023.

The first delay to the third-party cookie block was partly attributed to regulatory pressure from the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA). However, earlier this year Google reached an agreement with the CMA on how it develops Privacy Sandbox, committing to ensure it provides “effective, privacy-preserving technologies” and the industry has “sufficient time” to adopt the new solutions.