Google Chrome & Third-Party Cookies: What You Need to Know

What Destination Marketers need to know about Google Chrome's privacy updates.

You’ve probably seen recent headlines announcing Google’s plan to eliminate third-party cookies from its Chrome Web Browser. In case you’re wondering how this change may impact your website and marketing efforts, we've put together this quick guide to walk you through what changes are coming, how they may impact the travel marketing space, and what you can do to prepare.

What Are Third-Party Cookies?

A third-party cookie is a piece of code that a website sends to a user’s web browser. The cookie sticks with that user and tracks the person around the web as they visit other sites. Many advertisers, big platforms like Facebook, and publishers currently rely on third-party cookies to collect data about a user and then target and measure advertising based on that information.  

Google’s Announcement

Google announced that it plans to eliminate third-party cookies from its Chrome browser entirely within two years. Other browsers like Safari and Firefox have already moved to limit cookies. Since Chrome is the most widely-use web browser in the world, with more than 60 percent of market share, this change will majorly impact the digital advertising and data landscape. 

Our experience shows that people prefer ads that are personalized to their needs and interests, but only if those ads offer transparency, choice, and control.

Prabhakar Raghavan, Google Engineering VP

Why the Change?

Consumer privacy and protection is on the rise, with many technological advances and regulations underway to help protect users and give users control over their data. Google has been headed in this direction for some time, with a privacy update at Google I/O in May 2019, that allowed users to view and manage cookies in Chrome. 

When will the change take place?

It will be two years before Google Chrome completely sunsets third-party cookies. In the meantime, Google is working on its Privacy Sandbox initiative to establish new industry standards and best practices for personalization and targeted digital advertising without the use of third-party cookies.

February 2020 Samesite Cookie Update 

There will be an additional minor update to cookie tracking in early February 2020, when Google releases Chrome version 80. This update to Chrome will require all third party cookies to be detectable. 

Will this Affect My Tempest Website?

All Tempest websites and website functionality are compliant with the Chrome 80 update coming in February 2020. Our technical team has reviewed all tracking on Tempest sites to ensure all key performance indicators will continue tracking, uninterrupted, including:

  • Site visits and Google Analytics tracking
  • Clicks to partner websites
  • Visitor guide requests
  • RFP submissions
  • Destination Signals performance tracking

Other vendors, social networks, and data platforms have had ample time to prepare for this update and should have made the necessary changes on their end. If you work with trusted vendors, you should not see any interruptions in tracking. If you do have questions around this, then follow up with individual vendors and partners directly.

Next Steps 

For now, there is no recommended action to take. Again, Tempest is prepared and other major vendors should be prepared for the changes coming to Chrome 80 in February 2020. You may wish to double-check with your other vendors who may be using third-party cookies to be sure. 

If you do have questions about the changes coming to Chrome and implications for future CRM data management, website strategy, and marketing, please get in touch!

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