That’s The Way The Cookie Crumbles

The initiative to maintain privacy for users and their actions online has sparked changes in the digital world, which have rippling consequences in the advertising industry. As you’ve likely heard by now, Google has announced that it plans to retire third-party cookies from the Chrome browser in 2022. These third-party cookies have been a reliant factor in the billion-dollar programmatic advertising industry. The data collected by these cookies helps advertisers build audiences, target audiences, and measure results. For example, if we are looking for people who are interested in home improvement, cookies help us identify which users have been interacting with home-improvement-related content online. We then can bid on programmatic exchanges to get our ad in front of that user. Without third-party cookies, the industry is left to come up with first-of-its-kind alternatives.

Other popular browsers, such as Apple Safari and Mozilla Firefox, removed third-party cookies years ago, so why is this just recently becoming big news? As of February 2021, Google Chrome has accounted for around 47% of the overall internet browser market share in the United States. This is by far the largest market share, with Apple Safari coming in second at 38% of the market share and no other web browsers reaching even 6%. Any changes by behemoth Google are going to make a big impact.



This looming change, along with other such rollouts as Apple’s move to force IDFA opt-in, has caused many in digital advertising to feel worried and unsure about what the future entails. But some worries can be quelled as news of alternative options continue to develop. Some of these leading alternatives include the Privacy Sandbox and Unified ID. The Privacy Sandbox is Google’s response to the cookie-less future and its purpose is to provide anonymity to the user data while at the same time using browser APIs to continue to allow advertisers to use behavioral targeting. The Trade Desk, a leading demand-side platform (DSP), has been leading the initiative for a Unified ID. This approach focuses on having users sign in on different publisher sites. Once signed in, the users are identified by a unique identifier that is then shared by all other sites that are a part of the supply network. This solution promises anonymizations, greater control for users, and greater transparency. In short, we used to be able to identify an individual user (anonymously of course, not by personal info), and, moving forward, we’ll be using the same basic data points but tapping into pools of similar users. 

These changes to the access of third-party data also increase the importance of first-party data. This is where understanding the difference between third-party cookies and first-party cookies is key. First-party cookies are created and stored by the website you’re visiting directly, while third-party cookies are created and placed by third parties other than the website you are visiting directly.

Companies collect first-party data in many ways, such as through capturing activity on their own website, email sign-ups, surveys, customer service interactions, and social media channels. So if you own a website, you’ll still be able to track all activity on your site. However, if you’re currently buying audience segments based on third-party data or retargeting users based on their search activity, that’s where the deprecation of the third party is going to disrupt your strategy.

There is an endless supply of information on the web regarding this subject and many connected topics. Some recommended resources include:

At Kazoo, we dedicate ourselves to understanding and reacting to trends so that our clients don’t have to. By partnering with us, you can trust us to ensure continued efficiency and compliance in customer targeting.

In the end, our advice to you is to:

  • Stay aware that changes in the ways you target and measure your digital advertising are likely to occur again in the near future.
  • Know that there is no need to panic as industry solutions are in the works.
  • Focus on growing and collecting your first-party data.




“Google’s Privacy Sandbox Explained – Sortable Ad Ops.” Sortable, 12 Apr. 2021,,advertisers%20to%20use%20behavioral%20targeting.

Liu, Shanhong. “U.S. and Global Browser Market Share 2021.” Statista, 22 Mar. 2021,

What Is the Difference between First and Third Party Cookies?,,provide%20a%20good%20user%20experience.

“What the Tech Are Cookies and Unified ID 2.0?: The Trade Desk.”,