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2024: The Need for Comprehensive Cookieless Solutions (Part 1)

If you’re in the digital marketing industry, you should be aware that this year marks a significant turning point, requiring adequate preparation for transitions in both your own company and others (including client companies). Specifically, the preparation involves transitioning from ‘3rd-party cookies to alternative tracking methods.’ In this post, I aim to explain the background, overview, importance, industry initiatives, and preparations that companies should undertake, making it understandable even for those outside the industry.

1. Background, Overview, and Importance of the Topic
Currently, most advertisers use a technology invented about 30 years ago called 3rd-party cookies for web advertising delivery and performance measurement. Examples of specific applications include:
– Cross-domain tracking
– Audience targeting in advertising (retargeting, behavioral targeting)
– Affiliate advertising
– Conversion tracking
and more. Due to concerns about user privacy, in September 2017, Apple initiated an industry-wide initiative called Intelligent Tracking Prevention (ITP), limiting, disabling, and deleting cookie usage. Despite the absence of a consensus-backed alternative solution, not only Apple (Safari) but also other major browsers such as Mozilla (Firefox), Google (Chrome), and Microsoft (Edge) have steered away from using or allowing the use of 3rd-party cookies as tracking methods.

This shift had an unprecedented impact on the industry. However, Google (Chrome) delayed the complete cessation of 3rd-party cookies until 2024 for various reasons (initially, they planned to default block 3rd-party cookies on Chrome by 2022). This delay allowed the impact to be spread over seven years. Nevertheless, Google is currently aiming for the complete discontinuation of 3rd-party cookies in the latter half of 2024, and digital marketers worldwide are likely thinking, ‘The time has finally come.’

In the case of Japan, as of December 2023, the market share of major browsers is as follows: Chrome: 54.52%, Safari: 25.1%, Edge: 12.55%, Firefox: 4.3%, according to statcounter. If Chrome joins Safari and Firefox in default blocking 3rd-party cookies (already blocked by 29.4%), it means that Chrome, Safari, and Firefox together would default block 83.92% of 3rd-party cookies. This would render web advertising delivery and performance measurement, as mentioned earlier, ineffective. Industry professionals are well aware of this impact, but it’s essential to convey the magnitude of this issue to those outside the industry.

Next time, I will introduce the ‘industry initiatives’ addressing this issue. Stay tuned if you’re interested!

Masaki “Mark” Iino
Founder & CEO