Google is Banning Third Party Cookies- What Does It Mean?

If you work closely with internet technology, you’ve probably heard that Google is planning on getting rid of third-party cookies by 2024. You probably haven’t heard if you don’t work in the area. And if you had, you’re wondering why that matters, or what cookies even are. But for those in the digital marketing scope who rely on cookies for their work, what does this mean? How will this impact our industry?

What even are cookies?

If you’re not well-versed in technology, you probably don’t fully understand what cookies are. You’ve likely seen mentions of them on websites that want you to allow them, but you don’t really think much of it. Put simply, cookies are little pieces of data that identify your device. It obviously gets more complicated than that, but that’s just a surface-level definition. There are many different types and uses.

Magic vs. HTTP Cookies

There are two basic types of cookies: Magic cookies and HTTP cookies. Magic cookies are an older type of cookie that were used to track data on a computer that didn’t change. This was generally used to store usernames and passwords. We don’t really use those cookies anymore.

HTTP cookies are the much more common cookies today. They can be used on the internet, so this is 100% the cookie type you’ve encountered before. They’re used to track and store your computer’s information to personalize your online experience. Cookies are how websites keep the same information for the next time you visit a website.

Purposes of Cookies

There are three main purposes of cookies on websites: session managing, personalizing, and tracking. 

Session-managing cookies work while you’re on a website, then get stored away while you’re not on the website. These cookies store information such as login information and any preferences you have on the content of the website. These are used to make your experience on the website easier; you don’t have to log in every time and when you do log in, all of the content you came to look at will be right there for you.

Personalizing cookies use your preferences to personalize your experience on the website. They can also frequently use this information to make personalized ads and send them to other websites you use.

Lastly, tracking cookies are used to track your activity on a website. Commerce websites frequently use tracking cookies to send ads for products you viewed or similar products to other websites, including social media.

Why is Google Banning Third-Party Cookies?

Third-party cookies are a particular type of cookie that doesn’t come directly from the websites you visit. They usually come from advertisements. One of the issues with third-party cookies is that while first-party cookies (or the cookies that come from the website you’re on) are only put on your computer after consent is given, third-party cookies don’t receive consent from the users. This can begin to cause problems when hijackers take over these cookies and take your information. Google’s banning of third-party cookies will prevent this on a major scale. Other web browsers like Safari have had third-party cookies banned for a while now. Google, the largest web browser and search engine in the world, felt that it was time to follow suit.

What does this mean for you?

For the average user, likely nothing. They’ll see fewer hyper-personalized ads, but that’s about it. For the digital marketing community however, this change may prove a challenge to work through. A lot of digital advertising involves the use of third party cookies. Google had a few ideas for alternatives, but scrapped many of their ideas after receiving backlash. Other methods exist that are used on other web browsers.

The good thing is that we don’t have to worry about it quite yet. The full ban won’t bee put in place until 2024, so we have a year and a half at least to develop alternatives to third-party cookies, if not longer. The internet is constantly evolving, so we’re not new to changing our methods to match the newest updates. 

If you don’t want to worry about this as a business owner, learn how Ascent can help with your digital marketing here.