Google Phase Out Third-Party Cookies

How can we play with the first-party cookies

Marketing in the Age of Digital
4 min readMar 28, 2021


First thing first, let’s check how many cookies are there in your Chrome browser. I followed the steps to check all cookies on my browser, and if you can see the scroll bar on the right, you will know how many websites are tracking my activities online.

These cookies are tracking my website visits and online activities to send me targeted ads. They know what I bought, what I am looking for, and what I am most likely to buy (which my very own mother doesn’t know).

Google block third-party cookies to protect privacy

Browser cookies were firstly developed in 1994 to facilitate e-commerce shopping and advertising. This function was universally denounced and accused of breaking people’s privacy, and the topic has never gone. While the privacy issue is drawing more and more attention, browsers like Google are adopting plans to purge cookie categories.

However, it doesn’t mean that Google will stop tracking users activities. The first-party cookies that are built in Chrome will keep watching users browsing habits and send targeted ads. So, the only ones being hurt are those companies that heavily rely on the customer data brought by cookies.

How about users? Are they happier now? Safari and Firefox blocked third-party cookie two years ago, but Chrome still grasp 63% of the browser market share globally. Isn’t it more logical that people turn to Safari and Firefox if they consider third-party cookies as such a big threat to their privacy? Maybe it doesn’t matter if their online footprints are shared to one hundred companies or one company. They are already exposed.

What do we do?

Google is providing advertisers an alternative tool to target customers called Privacy Sandbox for interest-based advertising. The program called FLoC (Federated Learning of Cohorts) helps marketers find the desired group of people with specific attributes.

Third-party cookies served as a helpful tool to target potential customers based on their online activities. As Google’s action seems more and more inevitable, marketers should start to think about how to utilize all the available gadgets to achieve the same or more efficient results.

We can combine available sources and send ads to those categorized with our current customers on FLoC. One of the concerns would be that we don’t know what Google’s actions are based on to put them together, whether reliable.

Brands with more niche customer segments would suffer more from the block of third-party cookies. They may want to shift their marketing focus from browser to other platforms like social media and emails. (Even with the help of third-party cookies, they should engage in more one-to-one promotions.)

We will figure out more tactics to adopt the new reality. The good news is that we are all on the same starting line. We won’t lose as long as we keep pivoting our strategies according to all new policies and realities.

We will never stop talking about privacy

In my favorite science fiction, “The Three-Body Problem,” the author describes a world intruded by aliens. Everything is under the spy of aliens, and there is absolutely no privacy. The national government selected four people as the Meditators to figure out a way to fight the aliens so that humans can survive. They will do this only by thinking because the human mind is the only privacy left.

I hope such a day will never come, but we can never take a step back against human civilization progress. What happened has already happened; some privacy will never come back to us. However, just as the cookie was initially developed to optimize customers online shopping experience, the purpose should always serve users. If blocking the third-party cookies helps build a more comfortable online environment, marketers have no other choice but to adopt.