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Despite the tech giant’s delay in the deprecation of third-party cookies, advertisers shouldn’t delay preparations for a cookieless future.

In the latest course correction by Google, the phaseout of third-party cookies will now begin in the second half of 2024, instead of 2023. This isn’t the first time the tech giant has adjusted its timeline, but it gives the advertising world more time to test the Privacy Sandbox initiative; technologies designed to replace some of the functionality of third-party cookies and therefore, safeguard online privacy.

But is this delay really a blessing? These Privacy Sandbox proposals have yet to be tried and tested on a scale that inspires confidence – little is known about them, save for the issues already plaguing trials. FLEDGE (First Locally-Executed Decision over Groups Experiment) sprung from the initiative as a trial to test privacy-compliant methods of delivering behaviourally targeted ads. Another trial that is more small-scale than FLEDGE is known as Topics, and collects information on one topic a consumer has shown interest in over the past three weeks.

Despite this delay (and there could be more on the horizon, as these Privacy Sandbox proposals have yet to be tried and tested on a scale that inspires confidence), marketers will only benefit from transitioning from third-party cookies as soon as. There’s little clarity as to what a cookieless future will look like, but having the foundations ready for when Google eventually flicks the switch to a cookieless environment, will mean less scrambling about for advertisers to meet new regulations and consumer concerns. And by the looks of it, there will be many yet to come.

Whilst we wade through all this ambiguity, it’s worth noting that this recent delay should act as a reminder for both brands and agencies that there are other cookieless solutions out there, such as in-app mobile and Connected TV. This is especially true amid a period of economic uncertainty that is already beginning to affect ad spend.