Google Banning Cookies? – Could things get any worse

Google Set to Ban Cookies!

Do not worry – the popular, chocolatey  baked goods are safe enough, at least for now.

The demise of third-party internet cookies is nigh, though.

In 2022  Google’s policies around cookies are changing; this could make targeted advertising near impossible.

Targeted advertising is when third parties (an entity that is not you nor the website/company you are engaging with) use the data collected on you by websites to inform them of which products you would most like to see advertised to you.

For example, if you often click on adverts for summer fashion, and have recently been searching for a lot of articles about the best sunglasses to buy, a third-party entity may use that data (collected on you by website cookies) and show you an advert for some trendy sunglasses. Theoretically, you are more likely to click on that advert than one about, say, gardening equipment.

Having access to the data websites store on you helps digital marketing become more efficient. Using cookies is better for the company as they can show more personalised adverts. This increases the chances that they will receive a profit by showing you the ad, as you are more likely to want to buy the product. Cookies and targeted advertising can also benefit you as the adverts you will see on sites which allow for advertising are more likely to actually show you things you may have been looking for or wanting to buy.

So, why are internet cookies being burnt to a crisp? Let’s take a closer look.

What is a Cookie?

My personal favourites are chocolate orange but stay tuned for more on that.

Internet cookies are tiny titbits of data which is stored by a web browser onto the user’s computer whilst they are browsing a website.

Cookies can hold information such as:

  • what you left in your shopping cart,
  • which pages you often visit,
  • auto-fill data like passwords and addresses, and
  • which sites you log-in to.

When you open a hyperlink, you will often see a pop-up appear, asking you whether you accept the website’s use of cookies. You can say no to these pop-ups, or you can accept them. When you create an online account such as a Chrome, Facebook, or Email account you will also be asked to agree to their T&Cs and/or their privacy policy – if you read these (which most of us do not) they will also explain that by signing up for the account you agree for the use of cookie storage.

How do Third Parties Currently use Cookies?

This does not mean dropping off a batch of home-made cookies at a child’s third birthday party, though I am sure that would be appreciated, too.

Third parties have access to some of the data website store on you and your computer in cookies. They do not have access to your secure information, often just your searches and your browsing tendencies.

This information is used to help third parties tailor adverts to online users.

What is Changing?

Google has officially issued a brutal death warrant for third-party cookies in Chrome by 2022. Google says this move will make web browsing more secure for its users, and also encourage publishers, advertising companies and other browser providers to assist Google in creating a new set of open web standards. These standards are called to be privacy-focussed.

Chrome is the web’s most popular browser, accounting for 64% if the global browser market. Any changes made by Chrome will affect its many partners and strengthen their competitiveness; making them the only browsing partners to have access to user data. Third party companies will be left without access to web tracking data, meaning a decrease in their ability to issue targeted ads as well as their understanding of consumers and their practices.

The suggested plan is that third parties will have access to the Google Privacy Sandbox; cookies and sandboxes, starting to sound a little reminiscent of nursery days. This ‘sandbox’ will provide advertisers with a set of tools which allow them to still run somewhat personalised adverts without having the access to user data and personal information.

What is the Reason for the Change?

Google, over the last few years, has faced a barrage of lawsuits and claims about its dubious and sometimes deceitful relationship with third parties. Both in the US and in Europe, the browser has had to explain how, why, and in which ways third parties are using and accessing user information Google collects.

Perhaps the company felt there was mounting pressure to address the data crisis by going cold turkey with the cookies.

Cold turkey cookies do not sound appealing, mind.

What Will This Mean?

Unsurprisingly, Google is set to profit the most considerably from the banning of third-party cookies. As aforementioned, the only option for many advertisers will be to petulantly succumb to playing by Google’s rules in Google’s sandbox. Only Chrome’s first-party data will be available to these third-party entities, forcing them to engage with Google’s own tools and software.

This will cement Google’s place as top dog of the advertising world and, apparently, the playground.

There is a lot of uncertainty in the industry regarding the third-party cookie decimation. Third-party cookies are essential to the independent ad tech ecosystem, at the moment.

Not only to cookies provide third parties with data on consumers but it is also the method by which many ad tech companies communicate with one another about ads and content.

From planning, to activation, to measuring performance, third-party cookies are fully embedded within the world of digital marketing.

Some industry professionals have warned that the digital marketing ecosystem will simply not function without third-party cookies. The main food-source of an industry is being taken away. There is significant concern that the whole system will have to be revolutionised.

Is There any Cookie Silver-lining?

Maybe some of those small, decorative, edible silver ball bearings?

Perhaps.

Some publishers have taken the two-year countdown as opportunity to rollout new methods of data collection which advertisers can turn to when Google take away third-party cookies. One example of this is creating a way for users can create one login for multiple sites, meaning those sites can share data. This is like how Facebook have monopolised a lot of browsers, offering a ‘sign-in with Facebook option’.

Creating a platform like this will be an attractive way for publishers to increase their own popularity within the industry by filling the big, Google-shaped hole left behind in the industry.

Feeling a little deflated after that? Many digital marketeers are reeling from this latest industry development. You know what might help solve that? Comfort food! Let’s bring back cookies!

Chocolate Orange Cookies!

For this recipe you will need:

  • 125g Flora/Vegan Butter
  • 100g Granulated Sugar
  • 100g Light Brown Sugar
  • 3-4 tbsp of Aquafaba
  • 1 tbsp Vanilla Extract
  • 25g Cocoa Powder
  • 175g Self-raising Flour
  • ½ tsp Baking Powder
  • ½ tsp Salt
  • Zest of 1 large orange
  • 250g Vegan Orange Dark Chocolate
  • Crystallised Orange Peel (to decorate)

Instructions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 190C/180C Fan/375F and line three baking trays with parchment paper.
  2. Mix together the butter and sugars until light and fluffy and thoroughly combined – I often use an electric mixer for this bit as it makes it so much easier and combines the ingredients very well – but a good ol’ bit of manpower will work too!
  3. Add the vanilla essence and the beaten aquafaba and mix again briefly. 
  4. Add the cocoa powder, flour, bicarbonate of soda, baking powder, salt and orange and mix until a thick paste/cookie dough is formed.
  5. Chop the chocolate pieces and add to the mixture, folding through.
  6. Spoon the mixture onto the trays and make sure they are suitably spread out so they stay separate! (I usually fit 6 on each tray to be safe).
  7. Bake in the oven for 10-12 minutes.
  8. Once baked, remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly – don’t panic as they may look a little wobbly. This is ideal! The cookies will harden as they cool, leaving a gooey inside to enjoy!