Google Chrome announces upcoming cookie and privacy controls

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Chrome is the next browser to address how they handle cookies and privacy. What does this mean for Awin customers? 

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In an expected and unsurprising turn of events, Google Chrome is the latest browser to tackle cookie handling and security concerns.

Following in the footsteps of Safari and Firefox, this announcement was made towards the beginning of May following the Google I/O conference. The initial details are thin, but the announcement sums up their intent to give users ‘transparency, choice and control when it comes to data privacy on the web.’ From what is known so far, the impact to Awin customers seems fairly minimal.

How does this affect cookies?

First-party cookies should remain unaffected, meaning the Advertiser MasterTag is still a vital tool in our tracking suite. Thankfully, due to the ramifications of ITP2, a huge effort was made to ensure the majority of Awin advertisers are using our first-party tracking solution, the Advertiser MasterTag.

It appears there are plans to differentiate between third- and first-party cookies, as well as enforce HTTPS for third-party cookies. Awin may be required to make a small change to how third-party cookies perform so they continue to work with these changes. There is less information on this at the moment and our advice is always to use the Advertiser MasterTag over a third-party cookie method.

What about fingerprinting?

Awin uses fingerprinting as a fallback method for tracking conversions. Again, the level of detail from Google is minimal and that ‘Chrome plans to aggressively restrict fingerprinting across the web.’ Fingerprinting has more questionable associations. However, Awin’s use is only to match a transaction to a publisher if all other methods have failed.

Awin’s fingerprinting contains no Personal Identifiable Information (PII) and does not create any user profiles from this data, which could be used for retargeting or other advertising methods. Currently, 1.3% of Awin’s transactions across all browsers come from fingerprinting and so the Chrome impact will be less than this.

What are the next steps?

At the moment it is business as usual. More updates are expected from Google as we approach release dates and detailed documentation is shared. As this information is made available, the Awin technology teams will assess the impact this has to our tracking suite and develop appropriate alternatives and workarounds as necessary. We will continue to keep you up to date with these announcements and recommendations.

If you have any additional concerns or questions regarding this announcement, please get in touch with your account manager.

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