Morning Ketchup: Google Shakes the Online Advertising World, Reportedly 'Ditching' Cookie Tracking

Welcome to Bridgeline Digital’s news-wrap post on our brand new Digital Engagement blog named “The Morning Ketchup.” It's a play on words, because we're clever like that. We’ll be periodically checking in with relevant (and entertaining) pieces found across the Internet about Content Management, Marketing, SEO Strategy, and General Business News. Our hope is this will become part of your morning, a detour you enjoy as you sip on your third cup of coffee before noon. And fear not, this space is not a one-way street: We want you, dear reader, to interact with us; tell us what you like, what you hate, and what you want more of in the comments section and on Twitter and on our Facebook page.

Wednesday's Big News: 

USA TODAY is reporting that Google is strongly considering 'ditching' third-party cookie tracking. According to an unnamed source -- always fun to have those! -- the home to the world's largest Internet search engine and most popular web browser, instead reportedly plans to implement its own tracking system.

From Alistair Barr's report, via USA TODAY:

Google, which accounts for about a third of worldwide online ad revenue, is developing an anonymous identifier for advertising, or AdID, that would replace third-party cookies as the way advertisers track people's Internet browsing activity for marketing purposes, according to a person familiar with the plan.

(For reaction, let's have a live-look into online advertising offices everywhere)

OK. Let's take a second. Are you with us? Breathe.

As Barr later points out, the move falls in line with Apple's Safari browser, which also uses its own identifiers on its platform. The concern in the advertising industry is not whether the change in tracking is economically feasible, but that it creates a conglomerate of sorts between two industry giants -- Apple and Google. 

The proposed change would put more privacy in the hands of the user, but how many users would actively white-list certain ads remains a question. Moreover, the Pay Per Click advertising business could find its efforts potentially undermined on a whim by Google. These sentiments were echoed by Mike Zaneis, general counsel for the Interactive Advertising Bureau.

"[Google] could deprecate the use of that ID on a whim, basically, and severely undermine billions of dollars in digital ad spending," Zaneis told USA TODAY.

Jim Edwards, over at Business Insider, has more analysis of Google's reported plans, and offers the following (potential) upshot:

"AdID would allow Google to abandon the cookie system altogether in favor of something that advertisers prefer, and thus skirt the cookie war," Edwards writes. "If Google could prove that AdID was more useful for advertisers and more private for users than cookies, it could start a gold rush (in Google's favor) to use AdID."

We'll have more reaction on what it means for your company's Search Engine Optimization efforts in the coming days. And, as always, for the latest news and tips on Digital Marketing strategies, make sure to follow Bridgeline Digital on Twitter.

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