As marketers grapple with the evolving impacts of Apple's ATT update, which is seeing many iOS users opt out of data tracking in apps, Google has announced that it will delay the roll-out of its variation of the same, shifting the timeline for the phasing out of third-party cookies till 2023, at the earliest.
Google had originally planned to implement the optimal solutions from its Privacy Sandbox initiative by early next year, but with new regulations being introduced around data access and usage, it's now working to build in more elements to 'avoid jeopardizing the business models of many web publishers which support freely available content'.
As explained by Google:
"We plan to continue to work with the web community to create more private approaches to key areas, including ad measurement, delivering relevant ads and content, and fraud detection. Today, Chrome and others have offered more than 30 proposals, and four of those proposals are available in origin trials. For Chrome, specifically, our goal is to have the key technologies deployed by late 2022 for the developer community to start adopting them. Subject to our engagement with the United Kingdom’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) and in line with the commitments we have offered, Chrome could then phase out third-party cookies over a three month period, starting in mid-2023 and ending in late 2023."
Unlike Apple, which has taken a more blunt approach to its privacy tools, Google, which also generates significant revenue from online ads, knows the importance of working to build systems that facilitate digital ad targeting, while also aligning with rising expectations around data privacy. That's why it launched its Privacy Sandbox program, in order to test a range of options on this front, then select those that best meet both goals.
But with regulations evolving, that throws a spanner in the works, and delays development, which is why Google is now stretching out the timeline to find the best approach.
Which is good news for marketers, who are also working to keep up with the changes, and adapt their processes in line. The best solution here is gathering your own first-party data, in order to optimize your audience targeting, but even so, all digital advertisers will be dealing with some impacts, as the pool of audience response and usage info shrinks, and even dries up entirely in some respects.
Google says that it will provide a more detailed schedule of its plans on privacysandbox.com, which it will also update regularly "to provide greater clarity and ensure that developers and publishers can plan their testing and migration schedules".
This is a key element for all marketers to note, and while it is fairly technical, and beyond the scope of smaller businesses looking to optimize their ads, it will have an impact on almost all ad approaches.