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Google to remove website cookies for ad tracking

Posted on March 15, 2021

 

Search giant Google has announced that it is phasing out the use of third-party tracking cookies on its Chrome browser.

Cookies are used to store pieces of information about a user’s activity on a website. They have many uses, such as “remembering” details like a user being logged on or the products in a shopping basket. Third-party tracking cookies, on the other hand, aren’t just contained to a single site – they effectively tail a user as they move around different websites, and can let a website know if you were looking at a specific product, which means it can then show you an ad for it on a different part of the web.

This is probably sounding somewhat familiar – looking at an item of clothing, for example, and then when you leave the site, you start seeing ads for the clothes everywhere. This is a third-party tracking cookie in action.

Google has now announced that it’s removing the use of these cookies on Chrome, following in the footsteps of browser giants Safari and Mozilla Firefox, both of which block them already by default.

According to the BBC, this news has been met with some scepticism, with several critics voicing their concern that Google’s plans would ultimately stop its rivals from being able to create catalogues of information for ad targeting, but Google itself may still be able to via alternate means. However, in its announcement, Google also firmly stated that it will not be creating any new, alternative identifier tools to track users across the internet, and it will not be using any such tools in its products.

The move to phase out cookies is the result of regulations getting tighter over the years, along with an increased awareness of internet users in matters concerning their privacy. However, businesses that use third-party tracking cookies to advertise have many other options available to them that don’t rely on cookies. Facebook Ads, for example, can be targeted using data that users provide to the social network, such as age, gender, location and what pages they like. PPC (pay-per-click) is another form of digital advertising that uses keywords users put into Google.

If you’re looking to advertise on the web, whether that’s through PPC, Facebook Ads or alternate means, give us a call at Engage Web and see how we can help.

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