Chrome Crumbles Third-Party Cookies: Now What?

Mihi Joshi, Content Marketing Manager

Published 01/16/2024

In case you missed it (of course you didn't; it’s only the biggest news in our industry this year), Google Chrome finally started disabling third-party cookies on January 4th. This move was first announced back in 2020, and while it’s not the first browser to introduce tracking protection - others include Safari and Firefox - it makes quite a drastic impact, impacting 1% of Chrome users, or a cool 30 Million people.

Fun facts about Google Chrome and cookies

    • According to Statcounter, Chrome held nearly 65% of the browser market share worldwide as of December 2023. Safari came in second at just under 19%.
    • Only one in ten adults in the United States usually refuses cookies on their own devices, according to a survey by Statista’s Consumer Insights. 
    • Whether or not all third-party cookies will be phased out by the end of 2024 still depends on the U.K.’s competition regulator, The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA). 

Americans refuse cookies

However, if all goes according to plan, Google will extend this block to all Chrome users by the end of the year. Ad executives aren’t shocked; after all, we’ve had two years of warning. Instead, as a recent Digiday article highlights, the general attitude is one of ‘finally.’ But the real question: How does this affect measurement?

"Marketers must brace for the impact and be prepared," warned Mahesh Jeswani, SVP of Product at incrementality platform Measured. "From Apple's IOS 14.5 to another upheaval with Chrome's cookie phase-out, user-level measurement is no longer possible. Brands must pivot towards future-proof solutions, relying on first-party data and anchored on cohort-based methodologies like Incrementality and MMM.

Measurement in a Cookieless World

The only reason this cookie crackdown would affect you as a marketer is if you’re already in dire need of a measurement makeover. 

Last year, it was the release of iOS17 and Link Tracking Protection that stopped marketers from relying on URL parameters to track the customer journey. In a world that’s increasingly and unapologetically moving away from user-level tracking, you can’t rely on outdated methods such as click-based attribution to understand the real impact of your media dollars. In fact, we said this same thing two years ago when we first heard about the deprecation of cookies by Google. 

We’ve spoken before about the ineffectiveness of multi-touch attribution (MTA), particularly highlighted by this new cookie discontinuation, and how traditional media mix modeling (MMM) is not an acceptable solution on its own. The fact of the matter is that incrementality testing should already be your go-to if you want to understand the value and effectiveness of any ad your brand is running. 

Instead of waiting for the next of these privacy changes to roll out and scrambling to look at your media measurement options, learn the causal contribution of your ad spend by scheduling a demo and learning more about Measured’s incrementality platform today.