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The Future without Cookies is Only Half-Baked


Google first announced 3rd party cookie deprecation in January 2020 for “later that year”. After much industry backlash, the deprecation date keeps moving. Google’s latest announcement on April 4th, 2024 once again punts the date from late 2024 to early 2025.

Privacy Concerns or Market Dominance?

While cookie deprecation is trumpeted as being done in the name of “privacy”, it’s obvious to most in the ad tech industry that this is just a way to erect stronger barriers to entry to new entrants into the digital advertising ecosystem and solidify Google’s dominance through the creation of a wide moat. Google has first-party data on most users due to its massive scale and numerous service offerings. The FTC is watching intently.

Industry Response and New Solutions

Since the announcement, the industry has scrambled to develop alternatives. Ironically, most “identity graph” solutions and “unified ID” solutions that have emerged as alternatives are even more invasive than the somewhat innocuous 3rd party cookie they are attempting to displace.

These technologies often leverage “fingerprinting” which is a patchwork of device IDs, IP addresses, browser signatures, etc., all put into an “identity graph”.

Impact on Digital Advertising and Attribution

Today’s cookies not only impact one’s ability to target digital advertising, but they also are instrumental in 3rd party attribution (measuring conversions and optimizing qualitatively and quantitatively for better conversions). They impact both HCP and consumer advertising.

While many vendors say they are “ready” for a cookieless world, the reality is that many of the substitutes for cookies are still only half-baked.


  • Initial Announcement: Google first announced the deprecation in January 2020.
  • Current Status: The latest delay pushes the date to early 2025.
  • Industry Skepticism: Concerns over Google’s market dominance under the guise of privacy.
  • Alternative Solutions: New identity solutions may be more invasive than cookies.
  • Advertising Impact: Cookies are crucial for targeting and attribution, and replacements are not yet fully developed.


R.J. Lewis, Founder eHealthcare Solutions
X: @rlewis  /  @pharmaguy

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