What the new Google Chrome privacy updates mean for you

With Google planning to roll out its new Tracking Protection feature in the second half of 2024, brands must prepare for a cookieless world. 

Chrome updates | Impact
Matt Moore
Matt Moore
Associate Manager of Product Marketing
Read time: 3 mins

Google’s new restrictions to third-party cookies on Chrome are far from earth-shattering.  With a few safety checks, you should be good to go. Let’s look at what Google has planned and what folks in the advertising and marketing technology world need to do. 

Key takeaways from this blog
  • Google is testing a new feature to restrict user tracking via third-party cookies.
  • The company plans to roll out Tracking Protection to all users in the second half of 2024
  • The Universal Tracking Tag allows impact.com users to track and attribute conversion events without third-party cookies.
  • Transitioning to server-to-server tracking through impact.com will futureproof your partnerships program.

How Google Chrome’s privacy update affects ad tech

On January 4, 2024, Google began testing its plan to restrict third-party cookies by default from its Chrome browser. Called Tracking Protection, this new feature is intended to limit cross-site tracking. 

There’s no reason to panic. Google didn’t ring in the new year by ushering in an immediate cookie apocalypse. This feature rolled out to a mere one percent of Chrome users. However, the company plans to phase out third-party cookies for everyone in the second half of 2024.

The Google Chrome update means a little change but a lot of hype for ad tech 

Given that these changes have been in the works for a while, this new update from Google shouldn’t make advertisers sweat. These updates are simply part of the ongoing trend of increasingly stringent policies regarding data and privacy. Mozilla, Microsoft, and Apple are all working to protect users from tracking. With this quickly becoming the norm, advertisers must prepare now to avoid data loss and chaos later. 

So, what steps should anyone in the ad tech industry take to ensure they’re ahead when Google extends Tracking Protection to every Chrome user? 

If you aren’t already, your first line of defense would be to become an impact.com user. The platform’s Universal Tracking Tag (UTT) does not rely on third-party cookies.

When it comes to privacy updates, fortune favors the prepared. The impact.com team recommends using its server-to-server tracking services instead of UTT tracking to stay ahead of the trend even further. For more information, contact your CSM or reach out to our support team to learn how you can implement server-to-server tracking.

How can I be sure that Tracking Protection isn’t holding my program back?

To ensure that the absence of third-party cookies isn’t disrupting your ability to track your program’s performance, impact.com users can enable a Chrome flag and run a test action on impact.com. This process allows you to test the impact of the phaseout on your impact.com tracking integration. 

You can read about how to perform this test on the impact.com help center.

What’s the future of cookie-based tracking?

Given the steps browser developers are taking to make third-party cookies obsolete, it’s clear that the industry needs to prepare for a world without the ability to track users in this manner. The best way to futureproof your partnerships program is to take advantage of server-to-server tracking — in other words, APIs. 

APIs don’t simply provide a way to circumvent browser policies. When a brand can communicate directly with a tech platform without relying on a browser as an intermediary, it means better attribution and less sharing of user data. That’s a win for everyone.

Want to know the latest on keeping your partnerships program running smoothly and profitably? Reach out to grow@impact.com to stay on the cutting edge of partnership tracking. 

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