Outbrain News

Beware of the Sugar Rush: Thoughts on the Google Chrome 3rd Party Cookie Announcement

Bostjan Spetic
Bostjan Spetic
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Immediately, the same hour after Google announced the significant delay in their plans for sunsetting the 3rd party cookie support in Chrome, I received several emails from those in my network essentially saying: “Now that cookies are back, do we still need a cookieless pilot project?”

The answer is simple, yes! We want to test drive future-compatible cookieless solutions, and so should you. Moving to a cookieless model is about more than a single browser; it is an opportunity to create an ecosystem that delivers sustainable, transparent and trustworthy experiences for users. 

Clearly, the two-year deadline Chrome imposed on the industry was not enough to educate everyone, collaboratively design the alternatives, agree on new standards and protocols, implement, test and deploy the new web architecture. It was a big, possibly impossible task to begin with, and a lot of actors are relieved to have time on the horizon to do these things properly. 

That’s a good thing for everyone. The last thing we want is a rushed, leaky bucket, further eroding the trust of users online.

Media owners and marketers should now embrace the extra time they were given to design better strategies and more comprehensive implementations, and not see it as an excuse to delay tests for another two calendar years. 

Media owners and marketers alike need to be thinking about: 

  1. 1st party data strategies – Building deeper relationships with readers such as log-in, newsletters, and direct-to-consumer commercial offerings.
  2. Contextual strategy – Augmenting, organizing, and unlocking the huge value that stems from the learnings gained from the pageview and its context.

If you are a chief digital officer and do not have a very clear strategy and roadmap for both by the end of the year, your business is at risk. It simply takes this much time to ideate, iterate, and verify solutions. 

At Outbrain, we have a long history of developing contextual analysis and techniques, and we have ambitious tracks on new innovations to take this to the next level – alongside many other pilot projects designed to help our media owners strengthen their position in the ecosystem of the future. 

This work so far is paying dividends for our partners. In the chart below, you can see how Outbrain performance in cookieless environments has improved, lifting RPM & CTR on this traffic by more than 25%, over just the last 18 months:

We are also proudly participating in IAB Tech lab and Prebid.org efforts to define how the online advertising ecosystem will collaborate in a privacy-safe way. 

In conclusion, resist the temptation to take a break from the cookieless webinars season. Now is the time to double down. If we do this right, the RPMs will keep rising and users will spend more time in the safe and clean open web.

Bostjan Spetic

Bostjan Spetic

Bostjan is the head of programmatic business development for Outbrain. Currently based in Slovenia, with close ties to New York where he lived for most of the last decade, Bostjan mentors several entrepreneurs, serves on the board of directors of Rock Content, and runs a computer history museum.