Google Won't 'Save' The Post-Cookie Ad Era - Maybe AI Will

There are several alternatives to Google Privacy Sandbox that support the deprecation of third-party browser cookies, but many believe the industry has focused too much on one. Perhaps that's because Google owns the majority of web traffic.

That traffic goes through Google’s Chrome browser, which now will decide which and when to target the ads. Advertisers and publishers will rely more on the technology.

As of August 2023, Google Chrome accounted for 63.56% of the global desktop internet browser market share. Safari and Firefox make up somewhere between 30% and 40% worldwide today.

"As an industry we're putting way too much emphasis on Privacy Sandbox," said, Mathieu Roche, CEO at ID5, a global alternative to Privacy Sandbox that works across browsers and media. "Everyone is looking toward Google to save the world, but they are the ones destroying it. Giving more power to Google is the last thing the industry needs."



Privacy Sandbox works on web browsing on Chrome, but it doesn’t work as a targeting alternative for other browsers, as well as audio and television.

“We don’t need a savor,” he said. “The industry needs a competitive set of solutions.”  

It appears that advancements in artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning are giving the industry options to recognize IDs across sites and devices. ID5 built a way to recognize a user through deterministic data, as well as probabilistic and algorithms. 

"We see between 2 billion and 3 billion devices per day," Roche said. "A lot of data gets processed gets done in the backend, and that's where AI and ML come into play."

What's changing, he said, is the industry's access to data. The machines are only as good as the data it eats.

Apple Safari, Mozilla Firefox, Microsoft Edge turned off support for third-party ad targeting cookies early on and soon Google, which built Privacy Sandbox tools to help advertisers and publishers circumvent the same on its browser Chrome.  

Advertisers and publishers have other options to target ads across the web. Those include ID options from companies such as The Trade Desk, LiveRamp, and ID5, which gives advertisers the data to recognize the ads being served, as well as determine whether or not to serve them.

ID5 started in Europe, so the company’s identity standards did not need to be altered based on the continent.

YOC AG, a publicly-traded mobile ad-tech company operating in Europe, is working with ID5, which supports identity targeting to increase its scale of privacy-compliant operations.

Jan Grawen, YOC chief commercial officer, believes that identity is the most promising ways for brands to reach consumers.

“Everyone is talking about contextual, but brands are interested in social demographics,” Grawen said. “Contextual, in our opinion, is not suitable for mapping social demographics. Another important step is the reach for publishers.”

Contextual is a great way to target ads, but there’s no real way to measure it.  

Google last week revealed Chrome's third-party cookie phaseout date of January 4, 2024, as it begins to test a new feature, Tracking Protection, on its Chrome browser. It will roll out this feature to 1% of Chrome users globally. The feature will restrict cross-site tracking by default. The complete phaseout will occur in the second half of 2024.

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