A World Without Cookies

A man sitting at an office desk in the dark browsing his phone with a laptop open
Headshot of Carsten Frien, CEO and Co-Founder of Roqad
By: Carsten Frien

I have invested and created startups in adtech for a couple of decades, and raised A, B, and C venture capital financing rounds in the US and EU as CEO, and I can tell you that the upcoming “crumbling of the (third party) cookie” or “the death of the cookie,” or the “post-cookie world,”  however you want to call it, is significant, and all parties in eCommerce and online advertising must prepare for big changes in the next two years. We do not know exactly what the tech ecosystem will look like in 2022, when Google plans to eliminate third-party cookies in the Chrome browser, causing a “domino effect”, but there are some clues.

TL;DR:  Big changes are coming and we must be prepared.

The good news is that we are already innovating with AI/ML tools that will ensure that we survive and thrive. I believe that organizations that use tools based on probabilistic extrapolation of datasets to enrich and extend their deterministic datasets, will be the best prepared for what happens next. Here I continue Roqad’s series on preparing for the post-third-party cookie era.

Let’s start with some basic definitions:

What are third-party cookies?

A small amount of text stored in the user’s computer that is created by a website with a domain name other than the one the user is currently visiting. By default, third-party cookies are often allowed by a Web browser; however, they may be blocked, as they are widely used by advertisers to track browsing history.

Third-party cookies can tell websites where you have been and where you have gone. It’s useful information for organizations that want to know the habits of its users. First-party cookies will not be banned, however.

What are first-party cookies?

First-party cookies are stored by the domain (website) you are visiting directly. They allow website owners to collect analytics data, remember language settings, and perform other useful function.

So third-party cookies are going away, while first-party cookies are here to stay. Why is this taking place?

As pointed out by Michał Witkowski in a previous post, the law has already spoken via the European Union’s GDPR and the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) in the US. States and regions have declared that users get to have a say in the collection and management of personal data about them. At the moment there is no singular overarching law regulating online privacy worldwide. Instead, a patchwork of regional, federal and state laws apply in various jurisdictions. GDPR and CCPA are the most influential laws to date.

The GDPR aims to give control to individuals over their personal data. It states that controllers and processors of personal data are obligated to implement appropriate technical measures to achieve the principle of data protection.

The CCPA states that California consumers have the right to know what personal information is collected and how it is used. They also have the right to delete personal information held by businesses and by extension, a business’s service provider. The users and states have spoken, and the tech companies have listened. The Firefox and Safari browsers have already restricted third-party cookies, while Google plans to eliminate third-party cookies entirely by 2022. Of course all eyes are on Google’s plans with Chrome, but Apple currently has a sizable (> 50%) market share with its mobile browser due to the success of its iOS devices.

Closing Thoughts

Cookies are a simple piece of code that has been leveraged to a degree and for such a length of time never imagined by its original creators. In a future post, I will introduce you to tech that demonstrates the exciting possibilities of the cookie-less world. It’s a dynamic situation, so it’s important to be mindful of updates and partner with experts.

Headshot of Carsten Frien, CEO and Co-Founder of Roqad

About The Author
Carsten Frien

Carsten Frien is the CEO and founder of Roqad. He is a serial entrepreneur and co-founded/founded adtech firms such as madvertise, liquidM, and Adjust.

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