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The Current

News for the modern marketer

Edition 24

Google Chrome pushes back plans to phase out third-party cookies. Here’s what it means for advertisers.

Thursday, June 24

Google Chrome pushes back plans to phase out third-party cookies. Here’s what it means for advertisers.

Google announced Thursday that it would delay plans to scrap third-party cookies from its Chrome browser until late 2023, two years later than previously anticipated.

“While there’s considerable progress with [the Privacy Sandbox] initiative, it’s become clear that more time is needed across the ecosystem to get this right,” Vinay Goel, privacy engineering director at Chrome, said in a blog post on the company’s website.

The move is likely to surprise many in the industry, though not everyone. Jeff Green, cofounder and CEO of The Trade Desk, said two years ago that he didn’t believe the search giant’s moves would eliminate relevant advertising. Cookies will be “replaced with something else that enables targeted advertising,” he previously told Adweek.

At the same time, however, he also noted that it would be short-sighted for the industry to ignore this opportunity to create an improved identity solution that is more advanced than cookies, consumer-centric and that works across advertising channels, including the fast-growing world of connected TV.

Other industry leaders agree. Andrew Casale, president and CEO of Index Exchange, tells The Current that since its inception, Privacy Sandbox has prompted more questions than answers. “Google has simply run out of time,” Casale says. “With the timing of the pandemic and Google's third-party deprecation path, this delay was inevitable. To be blunt, it was beyond optimistic.”

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Just Briefly —

  • Data is the lifeblood of advertising these days, but wondering what brands mean when they talk about first- and third-party data? We explain.
  • The Trade Desk CTO and cofounder, Dave Pickles isn’t concerned about Apple’s latest privacy changes. Read on to find out why.

Why CPG brands want to be part of the “shoppable moment” 

Kroger knows how to create “shoppable moments” for the consumer — and those moments have only proliferated over the last year as shopping habits moved online. But this shift in consumer habits has allowed the 138-year-old grocery retailer to double down as a powerful media retail platform that is closing the gap between brands and the consumer. “It’s an acceleration path that is driven by a new set of expectations that customers have for shopping,” Cara Pratt, the SVP at Kroger Precision Marketing, tells The Current.   

To be sure, when the pandemic hit, Kroger was ready. It had already established the digital infrastructure to handle the rapid shift to online shopping. And the numbers prove this out: It saw its digital sales in the United States exceed $10 billion in 2020 — a growth of more than 116 percent year over year, according to the company’s 2020 annual report.

Key to Kroger’s online success is Kroger Precision Marketing (KPM), the company’s retail media unit, which itself saw 135 percent growth in revenue last year. Kroger credits this digital growth, according to a 2021 company report, to KPM’s precision-level data that enables brands to reach customers both onsite and offsite. This fast-growing ad channel allows the company to tie campaigns to sales data to “truly measure the outcome that media has driven,” says Pratt.

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Around the dial

  • Agencies under the spotlight: Some of the biggest brands are conducting media reviews. The last time this many major media reviews happened was six years ago, according to Ad Age.
  • Major breakthrough for Nielsen: Per the New York Times, “Nielsen, the 98-year-old research firm that for decades has had an effective monopoly on measuring TV ratings in the U.S., has a new metric that it says allows it to make an apples-to-apples comparison, on a percentage basis, of how many people are streaming shows and films on their TVs versus how many are watching traditional cable and broadcast channels.”
  • OOH is back, baby: The Outdoor Advertising Association of America released a new report that says billboards in Time Square are rebounding, with the average price up 184 percent in the last four weeks.
  • Google: The European Union has officially filed an antitrust probe into Google’s ad tech unit.
  • For sale: Shopify, the eCommerce platform juggernaut, is now making its data available to advertisers.
  • Pride: Adweek profiles leaders in the LGBTQ+ space who are making a difference in the ad industry.

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