Google delays cookie retirement… again.

This week, Google announced that it would once again delay its retirement of third-party cookies from the Chrome browser. Originally planned for 1Q 2022, Google had shifted the timeline to 4Q 2023 last June. Now, it is targeting
2H 2024.

Why the delay?

The reason Google gave is that its own post-cookie solutions, known as the Privacy Sandbox, will not be ready in time to provide the industry with a viable alternative to cookies by 4Q 2023 – a requirement for regulators focused on Google’s market power.

A further delay is not wholly unexpected. In fact, it has been consensus for some time in the programmatic ad industry that Google would not meet its timeline, and many believe that cookies will live on indefinitely.

But the industry momentum behind new targeting technologies is not exclusively about Google’s plans for cookies. Indeed, that is only the most visible element of a bigger, more fundamental industry movement towards privacy-safe digital advertising technologies, a movement that is unlikely to abate.

What does this mean for advertisers today?

That does not mean that we think advertisers ought to stop using cookies. Indeed, our point of view has been that advertisers should use that technology for as long as it is available, if it is delivering value for them.

It does mean, though, that we believe that advertisers should also be leveraging — or at a minimum, testing —the new technologies that the privacy wave has inspired. Among those technologies, there may be something better than cookie-based solutions that brands should be using today instead of or in addition to them.

Cookieless targeting is available now.

At Dstillery, we are super-proud of our cookieless targeting solution, which we call ID-free Custom AI™. The patented technology uses aggregate behaviors of consented users (from, say, a panel) to make predictions about what ad inventory is likely to convert for a specific brand. The accuracy of those predictions is on par with the accuracy of our high-performing user-based audiences, despite having no user histories and no ID in the bid request. And all of this at the scale that advertisers need.

ID-free has had a strong reception from the market and has unlocked a wave of innovation and growth at Dstillery. We have developed an ID-free targeting solution for the healthcare industry, which we call Custom Patient Targeting, that delivers privacy-compliant but highly accurate, scaled digital targeting to healthcare brands. We have launched targeting in new forms beyond user-based audiences, including custom bidding algos and Deal-IDs. And we have seen intense initial interest in ID-free from advertisers in Europe, where user targeting is constrained by GDPR.

Whatever Google’s timeline, Dstillery is well positioned today with the combination of best-in-class ID-based audience targeting products and easy-to-activate ID-free solutions that provide scale, performance, and precision in a privacy-safe way. Those solutions are available for activation here and now, and drive better performance than the most widely used cookie-based audiences.

The wave of privacy-inspired innovation that is underway will keep on rolling, regardless of whether cookie retirement happens or not. Advertisers would do well to ride that wave.