Google Will Not Build Alternative Third-party Identifiers

Google Announced That It Will Not Build Alternative Third-party Identifiers

Google recently announced that it will not build alternate identifiers to track individuals as they browse the web after third-party cookies are gone. Lucid understands that this is disconcerting to marketers and advertisers who rely on third-party data for tracking online activity, so we are sharing our response to Google’s announcement. 

Here’s what you need to know about Google’s announcement.

  • On March 3, 2021, Google confirmed they will not be introducing a new identifier once Chrome phases out third-party cookies.
  • Google’s ad platforms will transition away from targeting and measurement based on using third party user-level identifiers (cookies) and towards alternative methods currently in development within the Google Privacy Sandbox.
  • Google is moving away from industry-wide ID standards and will not be joining industry initiatives like Unified ID 2.0.
  • Google customers who have access to their own first-party data will still be able to use it for targeting and attribution in the Google ad platforms.

How Does Google’s Announcement Impact the Media Measurement Industry?

Google has confirmed that from 2023, they will not support cross-site tracking at a user level. Google will also introduce a new toolkit for targeting and measuring ads in Chrome via the Google Privacy Sandbox. The Privacy Sandbox will continue to be built out so that anonymized, aggregate behavioral insights can be used to inform targeting and measurement. Google believes these solutions are more privacy-friendly and will be just as effective for marketers in the long term. Google is encouraging everyone to begin testing these solutions.

In addition, Google will not be joining Unified ID 2.0 or any other individual-level cookie alternative. Several cookie replacement proposals involve the use of hashed emails to share user data across targeting platforms. Despite many industry leaders (including LiveRamp and Nielsen) moving in this direction, Google will not be joining or supporting these in any of their products (such as Campaign Manager or Ad Manager).

Google will also continue to support the use of first-party data for a wide range of purposes, and clients with first-party data such as emails will still be able to use it to target and measure performance within Google’s ad platforms. This decision will favor Google’s ad business and it does call into question their earlier statements against user-level targeting.

What is Lucid’s Position on Google’s Announcement?

Lucid believes that independent, ad-supported media plays a critical role in preserving the free and open internet. We are committed to helping advertisers and media companies transition to a first-party approach to measuring advertising impact in 2023 and beyond.

Our transition to cookieless measurement is already well underway. Many of the ads we track are served in cookieless environments such as mobile applications, TVs or game consoles. Looking ahead, we will continue to partner with media platforms to conduct first-party measurement (see below) and will also support industry initiatives such as Unified ID 2.0.

Lucid is also evaluating the Google Privacy Sandbox proposals and will use them, where it makes sense, to improve measurement. At this time, the current proposals do not support measurement use cases like view-through attribution, which is required to match survey takers to their previous exposures. That said, Lucid will be testing the current proposed methods and will use these techniques in our methodology where applicable. 

Overall, Lucid agrees with Google that the industry must evolve and move past the cookie to protect privacy and improve the relevance of digital marketing. We will continue to work with parties on all sides of the ecosystem to transition to first-party measurement.

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