On July 27th, Google announced via a blog that it was delaying the removal of third-party cookies in Chrome through into the latter part of 2024.
They said they were pushing back the timeline because they needed more time for testing to ensure users’ online privacy is protected.
I don’t doubt that that is true. But, when I read announcements like these, I often wonder if other factors are at play.
In this specific case, I wonder if another factor that could be at play is whether or not Chief Marketing Officers (CMOs) and the brands they look after are ready for a cookie-less future.
This is supported by research undertaken in March and April of this year by Iterable, a leading marketing automation platform provider. With the help of CensusWide, an international market research consultancy, they surveyed 500 CMOs from US and UK companies, of which 25% were from enterprise-level organizations. The aim was to highlight and explore some of the main challenges CMOs are facing now and how equipped they were to navigate those challenges.
One of the stand-out findings from the research was that nearly 50% of CMOs reported that they are not well prepared for the end of third-party cookies.
I got a chance to speak to Adri Gil Miner, the CMO of Iterable, about the survey, in general, and specifically this finding. She told me that there is widespread anxiety about the end of third-party cookies across most industries. The only possible exception to that came from CMOs in the consumer packaged goods industry where, according to the survey, 63% report that they feel confident in their ability to deal with the end of third-party cookies.
While 50% is still a considerable number, it is an improvement on the two-thirds of brands that reported in 2020 that they weren’t prepared for a cookie-less future, according to research conducted by the World Advertising Research Center (WARC).
But, given Google’s announcement, if the unprepared CMOs think they have time on their side, they would be mistaken. The need to get ready is very real and is very present.
With high inflation all around us and a recession looming, customers are becoming increasingly discerning about where they spend their money.
Those brands that offer a more relevant, valuable, contextual and personalized experience across the lifecycle are more likely to give themselves a better chance to thrive through this period.
Therefore, moving away from relying on third-party data to one based on first and zero-party data will be central to a future-focused marketing strategy. It will also be a cornerstone of a brand’s ability to deliver a truly personalized experience, which customers want, and brands want to deliver.
So, to the 50% of CMOs that are not yet ready: Don’t wait til 2024; the time to start getting ready is now.
This post was originally published on Forbes.com.