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Online advertising in the post-cookie era

As a reference to the changes that are going to take time in 2024 (browsers, including Google Chrome, will end the use of third-party cookies), in June 2021, the Association of Internet Industry Employers IAB Polska published a report on online advertising in the post-cookie era. Google was originally supposed to phase out so-called third-party cookies starting in 2023 – hence the report’s partially outdated conclusions [1][2].


Course of the research

For the purposes of the study, a project was implemented that consisted of two modules – a qualitative survey and a quantitative survey. The qualitative study involved 11 in-depth interviews with representatives of various parties in the digital communications market (including publishers, media houses and marketing agencies, and technology providers), while the quantitative study involved 66 interviews with the aforementioned groups of respondents and advertisers [1]. In general, the research group consisted of employees of entities operating in the IAB Poland ecosystem – both member companies and those actively participating in the association’s operations.


Starting from 2024 [2], the main browsers used by Internet users in Poland will stop using third-party cookies – almost all participating entities are aware of this. There is a lot of uncertainty in the market about the final shape of various types of solutions and initiatives, such as Privacy Sandbox, for example. Part of the concern is directly related to the rapidly growing market dominance of the world’s largest players (so-called digital walled gardens). In 2024, advertising activities carried out through data obtained from third parties, based on 3rd party cookies, which the study’s authors define as being placed in the user’s browser by outside companies and only readable by them, will be blocked. Among other things, they are used for tracking browsing history, remarketing, assigning post-view conversions (based on information about the ads viewed), limiting the frequency of ads (capping) or measuring the number of impressions on different sites [1].

Internet users’ perspective

As the report says: Browser owners cite a desire to increase web users’ privacy and trust in the online advertising environment as a key reason for discontinuing support for 3rd party cookies [1].

Internet users even feel tracked, which in practice often works against the advertiser. On the one hand, 3rd cookies allow Internet users to access content they might not otherwise come across, however, one has to wonder if this always works in favor of the entities providing the ad data.

Will restricting 3rd party cookies positively affect online privacy?

In addition to so-called “cookies,” there are a number of other solutions designed to identify you based on a variety of data, including your browser history. Although fingerprinting, based on the verification of various facts and their analysis based on specific sets of them, will allow permanent fixation of information about a specific Internet user. Such analysis makes it possible to create so-called digital fingerprints, which can then be used for a variety of purposes – from preventing payments with stolen cards to, much more commonly, identifying a specific user online. So there will be no privacy, only a relative sense of anonymity.

As Worksmile’s Co-Founder and Head of Growth, Szymon Pruszyński, comments: (…) we are talking about a major change at the very foundation of effective and measurable online advertising, which may cause budgets spent in this channel to be shifted to other media, entities with vast amounts of 1st party data, or simply curtailed. This change – which has been in progress for several years, starting with Apple’s introduction of the first version of ITP in mid-2017 – not only requires a constant search for alternatives on both the purchase and sales side, but also introduces a great deal of uncertainty when it comes to the coming future. However, the only thing left for this moment is to be on the cutting edge, test the new most interesting solutions and work with relevant partners and all sides of the industry to create an effective and stable “new order” [1].

Magdalena Marynowska

A law student of the Law and Administration Department at the University of Warsaw. She gained her editorial experience as a leader of a social project called Do not touch me where her main task was to create and edit educational content. The project was nominated to Golden Wolves in three categories, one of them being Pitch Contest. She was also a vice-head of Operational Team at the non-profit organization Student Initiative for Education

Written by:

Magdalena Marynowska

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