Headshot of Giacomo Iotti, a B2C digital marketing manager who likes to write about digital news and trends.

Marketing & Tech News and Ideas

Third-party cookies are going away, so what?

There is confusion about the implications of the third-party cookie deprecation. Things will change, but only for some.Third-party cookies are going away, so what?

Third-party cookies are going away, so what?

There seems to be a lot of confusion about the implications of the third-party cookie's deprecation. It's not an armageddon, nor the end of the internet as we know it. Yet, some things will change, but only for some.

Let me explain:

POV you are an advertiser

If you advertise on platforms such as Google Ads, Meta, TikTok, or Apple Search Ads, there will be little change for you.


Because those companies are walled gardens.

What does it mean?

They don't need third-party cookies to target users effectively, since they already own sufficient first-party data.

Users generate first-party data whenever they log in. Google knows everything about its logged-in users on Chrome desktop or Android and can track them across any website or app as long as they remain logged in. Sure, not everyone logs into to a Google account, but hey.

The same applies to Apple on iOS (any iPhone user has to be logged-in with an Apple account).

The story is slightly different for Meta and TikTok.

They won't be able to track users outside of their platforms, but there's already huge data to be collected within their apps.

For instance, TikTok determines your preferences by the videos you watch on the platform. Using this information, it can display the right ads to the right users directly within the app. It doesn't require tracking outside of TikTok.

If you were buying ads via other vendors, well, you should probably move to big tech.. what a news! 😄

POV you are other vendors

Yes, third-party cookie deprecation is indeed a problem.

Let’s take Criteo for example.

Criteo is just a technology vendor and does not own any user, browser or device. Their specialty lies in retargeting ads, which do require third-party cookies to identify the same user across different websites. While they might find some technical workarounds, their business model is at risk.

POV you are a publisher

The deprecation of third-party cookies is a problem for small publishers who depend on programmatic ads revenue.

Without third-party cookies, their audience is worthless to advertisers. After all, why should brands purchase ads from small publishers if they don’t know anything about their users?

Different story goes for the large publishers.

Large publishers often own multiple popular websites, providing them with valuable first-party data. This data can be sold directly to advertisers.

Bottom line:

✅ If you're an advertiser, you're okay. Simply reallocate your budget from smaller ad vendors to big tech.

✅ If you're a large publisher, you're mostly okay.

❌ If you're a small publisher, you’re in trouble.

❌ If you're a small/medium ad vendor, you’re also in trouble.

🎉 If you’re big tech, cheers!

Big wins, small loses.

Or am I missing something?

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