Google just announced its THIRD delay to axing third-party cookies in Chrome, blaming regulatory hang-ups and a vague lack of industry readiness. We’ve been here before, and it’s not surprising that Google continues to drag its feet: According to Google’s 2023 10K, revenue from ads comprises over 75% of the company’s overall revenue. The cookiepocalypse has a material impact on Alphabet’s earnings per share.

Despite delaying deprecation, Google’s ad revenue remains at risk: Privacy regulations, wary advertisers, uncertain partners, and dissatisfied consumers putting up ad blockers pressure Google to continue growing ad revenue year after year. Furthermore, the rise of conversational search, precipitated by ChatGPT, fundamentally alters how Google monetizes search engine results pages (SERPs), exacerbating Google’s existential crises.

Meanwhile, Google’s Privacy Sandbox, an initiative purported to provide privacy-protecting tools for advertisers within the Google ecosystem, faces hurdles to adoption. Recent reports cite key issues, including the inability to use event-based metrics and concerns over brand safety. Adding salt to the wound, a UK data protection regulator has repeatedly questioned the viability of Privacy Sandbox, including stories last Friday claiming that Privacy Sandbox inadequately protects users’ privacy.

Cookie deprecation delays may seem like no big deal to Google because, presumably, marketers can continue relying on the same audience targeting and measurement tools and tactics they have for years. But Google’s equivocation about third-party cookies erodes advertisers’ trust. Forrester asked B2C marketers in Q4 2023 whether they thought Google would deprecate the third-party cookie, and only 13% said yes. No wonder marketers’ adoption of Privacy Sandbox has been lackluster.

Data Deprecation Marches On With Or Without Google

Some marketers may choose to continue pouring dollars into Google’s marketing platform despite the unpredictability of its signal strength. But we recommend a different path. Google may never deprecate third-party cookies, but that’s no excuse to ignore data deprecation. It’s time to take a hard look at your reliance on Google as a partner.

Every time consumers clear their browsing histories or empty their cookie caches, they tacitly express dissatisfaction with “personalized” advertising’s status quo. Partnering uncritically with Google at the expense of other initiatives further strains the value exchange between brands and consumers. Don’t let Google’s prevarication delay better advertising experiences for your customers. Instead:

As always, feel free to schedule time to learn more.