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Third-party cookies in Google Chrome: 2024 marks the end


Google will ban third-party cookies from its Chrome web browser in 2024. Answers to the questions of what consequences this will have, who it will affect and what compensation strategies are available are addressed in this article. 

From 2024 – in all likelihood – Google will no longer allow the use of third-party cookies in Chrome. The search engine giant has been planning this step for a while, but has repeatedly postponed it. 2022 turned into 2023, and only recently did Google announce the final date: the second half of 2024. 

Google gave the reason for this decision in a blog post immediately after the announcement. Developing the privacy sandbox is taking a long while. The initiative was launched by Google itself and aims to gently cushion the discontinuation of third-party cookies with all its consequences and implications for website operators and advertisers, as well as develop technologies for the time after. 

What are third-party cookies? 

A cookie is a small piece of text that is stored in the browser when a user visits a website. The web server reads this cookie the next time the website is visited, uniquely identifying the person. It is usually used to save login data, save a shopping basket for an online shop or display personalised content. 

Third-party cookies are not placed by the website operator itself, but by third parties. Their main purpose is to track users, which is what makes them so essential for advertisers, as they provide detailed information about surfing behaviour, time spent on a website and the number of pages visited by users marked with cookies, enabling precise targeting. 

Why is using third-party cookies problematic? 

The days of third-party cookies are numbered. They aren’t well known for being trustworthy and transparent. Quite the opposite, in fact. They make the online advertising industry look bad and probably do more harm than good. The technology is designed to monitor users' every move on the web, so it’s not surprising that there is resistance to it with justified claims for more privacy. 

The aspect of misuse makes the situation even more prickly. Third-party cookies can be read and stolen if they aren’t encrypted when transmitted, which leaves the door wide open for misuse. 

Strategies to compensate for third-party cookies 

2024 will mean the end of cookies, at least in Google Chrome – the most widely used browser. Will this postponement grant online marketers and website operators more time and a bit of breathing space? Experts Ralf Strauss, publisher of the Marketing Tech Monitor, and Björn Gerster, Director Consulting Sales & Marketing Solutions DACH at Dun & Bradstreet, agree that waiting is not an option. Companies have to act and set the course for a cookie-free future soon. Nevertheless, hasty action is not what is called for. But the day will definitely come when cookies are banned from Chrome. 

You should assume that third-party cookies are gone. 

Ralf Strauß Publisher of the Marketing Tech Monitor

The trend is moving towards data protection and ePrivacy. Personally addressing users by means of third-party cookies will no longer be possible. That said, there are already technologies available that will close this gap. Ralf Strauss and Björn Gerster regard the following five approaches as the most important and promising alternatives for the post-cookie era. 

1 First-party data: extend your reach 

Make sure that you collect and activate data in the form of first-party data.” Ralf Strauss thinks that establishing and expanding your own reach, i.e. generating sign-ups/logins, is probably the most important strategy in dealing with the end of third-party cookies in Google Chrome. The central focus should be on developing your own data strategies, he continues. 

Björn Gerster elaborates: “Companies need to get to grips with first-party data strategies. They need to collect sign-ups and permissions, which is how the user community gives companies permission to communicate with them. If someone registers and logs in again later, they will be recognised and it will then be possible to contact them individually and personally via several channels and to present suitable content or offers.” 

Companies need to get to grips with first-party data strategies. 


Björn Gerster Director Marketing Consulting DACH at Dun & Bradstreet

2 Deanonymisation on the Internet 

Deanonymisation refers to methods of giving an identity to anonymous website visitors and thus being able to present individualised content and offers. This is relevant for all users who don’t identify themselves, i.e. they don’t sign-up or log in. 

Björn Gerster: “IP to D-U-N-S will enable us to put a face to the users, that is to say determine which companies are surfing on a website by reading out the IP number and linking it to the D-U-N-S® number.” This will make it possible to obtain and use the entire depth of data on a company. Gerster continues: “This technology will be available in 2024 and will then cushion the loss of third-party cookies.” 

Gerster sees great potential in combination with intent data: “Through an IP to D-U-N-S match, we can see who is visiting our website. If we then use intent data to find out which topics are interesting for these users on other platforms, we can identify high-quality leads very quickly and reliably and pass them on to the sales department for contact.” 

3 Login alliances 

The email address will play an important role for many website operators who continue to run their business despite the disappearance of third-party cookies. Many will join together to form what we call login alliances so that not every website operator has to build up their own reach. With the consent of the users, logins are exchanged among the operators. This gives users access to various website offers, while the operators know who is surfing on their websites and can output appropriate content. 

4 Fingerprinting 

Another tracking method that does without the use of cookies is fingerprinting. Unique characteristics of the user, or rather combinations of operating system, browser, plug-ins, etc., are used for identification. Although a unique identification is not possible with this method, it significantly increases the probability of accurate recognition, making it much better than the scattergun approach. 

5 Advertising ID 

The advertising ID is used on mobile devices such as smartphones or tablets and allows tracking across all apps. It also takes data protection into account thanks to an opt-in, i.e. users give their consent to the use of personal data. 

Who does this affect? 

Björn Gerster: “It affects pretty much everyone.” Advertisers are the main ones who suffer, but companies and website operators will also feel the consequences and should give some thought to this issue. Third-party cookies are mainly associated with the B2C market, but they are just as relevant for B2B and require solutions. 

Conclusion: “forget about third-party cookies” 

Ralf Strauss is astonished at how Google is handling the issue. “I believe that Google is messing us around here. First of all, they said that third-party cookies were set to be removed altogether. We then heard that this was no longer the case or at least not now, maybe later.” For him, there is only one sensible and correct course of action in this situation, which is to forget about third-party cookie discussions altogether. “You should assume that third-party cookies are gone,” Strauss urges us. He’s not sure that the discussion about ePrivacy and third-party cookies will achieve anything at all. He considers it more appropriate for companies to orientate themselves towards the competition and introduce alternatives to third-party cookies. 

There’s no saying when the best time to take action will be. For most website operators, it makes sense to keep going with the current well-established tracking of users so as not to risk a slump in business. Nevertheless, it’s not a bad idea to keep an eye turned towards 2024 and begin to develop countermeasures and strategies to compensate for the disappearance of third-party cookies in Chrome, even though there is no one-size-fits-all solution. The type of website, the channels used, the business and its goals, along with many other factors are much more likely to be what determine which post-cookie strategies will lead to success. In any case, it’s worth starting to experiment now.   

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