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What is a Cookieless World? [+ How to Prepare For It]

Osman Husain 2/8/24 1:43 AM

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The term cookieless world refers to a broad effort from major web browsers to deprecate third-party cookies. To date, Google, Mozilla, Apple, and Microsoft have all announced plans to phase out the use of third-party cookies in their respective browsers, an industry-wide push towards a more private, “cookieless” world.

While Firefox and Safari have blocked third-party cookies for years, it was only recently that Google announced its plan to deemphasize third party cookies on Chrome. Given that Chrome accounts for over 60% of global browser usage alone, it’s clear why Google’s announcement would herald an official start to a new era of cookieless browsing. 


Which Cookies Are Affected?

To be clear, the term cookieless world is a touch dramatic. These changes apply only to third-party cookies, generally used by advertisers and marketers to monitor user behavior across websites. First-party cookies and other types of functional cookies will work normally and grant website owners the same basic usage data they always have. For marketers used to the third-party cookie paradigm, this transition means an increased reliance on a first-party data foundation for achieving advertising goals.


The Rollout Timeline

Google first revealed its intentions to deprecate third party cookies in February 2020. After a few delays, Google officially began restricting third-party cookies on Chrome by default on January 4th, 2024, a change that affected only 1% of Chrome users. Google plans to ramp up restrictions until 100% of users are included, which is expected by Q3 of 2024. At that point, third-party cookies will be deprecated by all major browsers.


The Transition to a Cookieless World

The cookieless transition has been underway for a while now, and website owners are understandably split on how these impacts will affect the industry. While the loss of tracking cookies has clear implications for advertising strategies across bidding, retargeting, and creating personalized ads, others proclaim it as a much-needed push towards a more secure digital world.

Regardless of opinions, it remains a fact that companies will need to adjust their privacy strategies to maintain their advertising goals in a cookieless world. Informed consent collection remains a top priority now as it always has, though with third-party cookies being blocked by default, website owners may have an easier time gaining their audience’s trust and obtaining cookie consent. This is just one of many benefits the industry will experience by prioritizing user privacy.

Companies preparing for the transition can start by optimizing their consent management policies. Tools like Enzuzo make it easy to deploy out-of-the-box consent templates that simplify data compliance. Remember, the future of browsing isn’t entirely cookieless--and companies can stay one step ahead by deploying and managing their remaining cookie policies in ways that bolster user trust. 

Osman Husain

Osman is the content lead at Enzuzo. He has a background in data privacy management via a two-year role at ExpressVPN and extensive freelance work with cybersecurity and blockchain companies. Osman also holds an MBA from the Toronto Metropolitan University.