Google Chrome's farewell to third-party cookies promises less ad stalking and a more secure web for users, while challenging marketers to embrace innovation with contextual targeting and first-party data.

The digital landscape is undergoing a significant shift, driven by evolving expectations around user privacy. We’ve seen Apple make major changes to iOS, through multiple updates which curb third-party cookie tracking through Safari as well as giving users the keys to enable or disable app tracking. Now Google is implementing their version of this through Google Chrome, which is likely to impact around 60% of web users.

So, why is this happening? There’s been growing concerns that third-party cookies act as ‘user surveillance’, watching every step you make online. These upcoming changes represent a turning point in web and data privacy, with the chance to change the web for the better.

Third-party cookies, begone!

With Google’s change to how Chrome handles cookies coming into force in the second part of 2024, there’s a bit of time between now and then to get ready for this change, but what does it mean?

For Web Users:

Fewer intrusive ads

You’ll likely see fewer ads that seem like they’ve read your mind, and you’ll also be pestered much less, as ads won’t follow you around anywhere near as much. This doesn't mean all ads will disappear; you'll still see relevant ones, but with increased privacy and control. For example, you can expect ads served through Google’s ad network and Meta’s ad network to adapt by utilising contextual targeting and user interests inferred from browsing behaviour, rather than relying solely on third-party cookies.

Want even more control? Both Google and Facebook/Meta platforms offer ways to manage your ad preferences. You can adjust privacy settings, opt out of personalised ads, and choose which information is shared with advertisers.

A more secure web
The over-reliance on third-party cookies has created various vulnerabilities for hackers and malicious software to take advantage of. By blocking third-party cookies by default, this further restricts those bad actors.

For marketers and advertisers

As Google's third-party cookie phaseout approaches, advertisers on platforms like Google Ads and Meta Ads will face hurdles with remarketing and audience-based campaigns. These strategies rely heavily on cookie signals, which will become unavailable. Additionally, Google Ads users may need to migrate from Smart Bidding, which also leans on cookies, to alternative options like Target CPA, Target ROAS, or manual bidding for optimal performance.

Embrace contextual targeting:

Instead of tracking individuals, consider placing ads based on the theme or content of a webpage. This allows you to reach relevant audiences while respecting user privacy.

Utilise first-party data:

Use data from first-party sources, such as Google Analytics, email marketing lists, and social media platforms to effectively manage your campaigns without having the need for third-party data.

Social media platforms such as Facebook and LinkedIn will focus on using their own data, which is generally collected through user profiles, engagement and browsing behaviour on their platforms. While this data won’t be as robust as the data that third-party cookies provide, advertisers will still be able to go into a good level of detail when targeting their ads. Here’s a useful article on how Social Media platforms will be affected.

If you run any email marketing campaigns, you're likely concerned about the implications of this change. Fear not, though; while you won't have access to third-party cookie data, you can still leverage your own first-party cookies and data effectively.

You can personalise your email sign-up lists to collect more data from your customers, as well as discover their habits regarding opening and engaging with your emails. Investing in online surveys, forms, and newsletters can provide further insights into your customers' behaviour. If you're interested in learning more, check out this article by Neil Patel.

Google’s Privacy Sandbox

Replacing third-party cookies, Google’s Privacy Sandbox aims to bridge the gap between users and advertisers, while remaining secure and privacy-centric. Privacy Sandbox uses features such as contextual targeting, federated learning with an AI model, and privacy-preserving ad measurement to deliver relevant ads to users without invading their privacy.

You can learn more about Google’s Privacy Sandbox here.


While the digital landscape undergoes a tectonic shift driven by evolving user privacy expectations, the demise of the third-party cookie isn't an extinction event, but a catalyst for reinvention. Apple's iOS updates, curbing cookie tracking and empowering app controls, paved the way, and now Google's Chrome, commanding roughly 60% of web traffic, prepares to follow suit.

Fueling this change? The growing chorus of concern against "user surveillance" disguised as third-party cookies. These upcoming changes represent a pivotal moment in web and data privacy, a chance to rewrite the code and build a better, more secure digital world.

Navigating the evolving digital landscape might seem like a challenge, but it's also an exciting opportunity. At RKH, we're more than just experts in adapting to change; we're your partners in crafting successful marketing campaigns that thrive in the cookie-less future.

Don't wait until the changes are upon you; contact us today to discuss a personalised strategy that puts you ahead of the curve and positions you for long-term success in the new digital landscape.

Stay ahead of the game

With our knowledge and experience, we can help you adapt your strategies, maximise your first-party data, and unlock new avenues for engagement.

Get in touch

Ciaran Turner

Search Marketing Manager