Engage with your most valuable audiences without third-party cookies

November 9, 2023

Update as of April 23, 2024: Chrome has announced that they are now planning to deprecate third-party cookies in early 2025, pending approval from the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA). See more details here

More than ever, people discover, research, and purchase across a growing number of channels, expecting relevant and engaging experiences as they go. In fact, 74% of consumers in surveyed countries consider it important to have a personalized online shopping experience with a brand.1

At the same time, people are concerned about being tracked across the internet, and they favor businesses who respect their privacy. 89% of users globally would trust brands who invest in privacy-safe technologies2, so adopting new marketing strategies anchored in privacy innovation can help you drive results and earn trust.

With more unknowns in the customer journey than ever, the industry needs to transition from an era of precision to a new era of prediction to help businesses deliver results at scale. That’s why we expect that audience re-engagement may look different after Chrome’s planned deprecation of third-party cookies in the second half of 2024. You can prepare today by leaning into the predictive capabilities of Google AI-powered solutions, which—combined with the durability of your first-party data—will become key to driving sustained growth.

Engage past website visitors with help from privacy-preserving technologies

Chrome and Android have been working with the industry to build the Privacy Sandbox, a collection of privacy-preserving alternatives to third-party cookies that support key marketing use cases without tracking users across the web.

We believe a new approach to audience re-engagement is needed to enable campaigns that are both private and effective. That’s why Google Ads, Google Analytics, and Display & Video 360 have been integrating the Privacy Sandbox Protected Audience API into their platforms’ backend to support re-engagement for Display campaigns. This integration, alongside other privacy-preserving signals, will help you connect with people who’ve visited your website, while protecting their privacy. 

The Protected Audience API reduces the risks of fingerprinting, when data about a device is collected to identify the device’s owner, often without the owner’s knowledge or consent. We believe that these kinds of opaque practices will not meet users’ or regulators’ privacy expectations, and in today’s rapidly evolving environment, businesses need tools that will withstand the test of time.

The API also introduces several privacy techniques that may limit the ability to reach an individual user who’s previously visited a product page with the hyper-precision possible today. These techniques include stricter minimum thresholds of users to serve an ad and shorter list membership durations. These safeguards are important to help improve user privacy. At the same time, they may mean that in a world without third-party cookies, standalone remarketing campaigns are unlikely to achieve the same scale as today, without additional signals.

Protect your results using the predictive power of Google AI

In a world with fewer user identifiers, you may already use Google AI-powered solutions to achieve more accurate measurement. Building on top of that foundation, Google AI can also help you deliver relevant ads to valuable customers when granular audience data is not available. For example, Smart Bidding considers billions of combinations of signals at auction time in order to set bids3, helping you reach the right audiences with the right message at the right time. 

In past interest-based audience experiments with the Privacy Sandbox, we’ve seen that campaigns using AI-powered solutions like optimized targeting or Maximize conversions bid strategies were less impacted by the removal of third-party cookies, and we expect the same to be true for audience re-engagement. On average, advertisers who use optimized targeting on Google Display Ads see a 50% increase in conversions at a comparable ROI.4 So adopting optimized targeting will help you find more people who are likely to convert, expanding upon your existing customer base and delivering on your low-funnel performance goals.

Display advertisers who already use AI-powered features in Google Ads can now multiply results even further across channels with Performance Max. Advertisers who upgrade their Google Display Ads campaigns to Performance Max see an average increase of over 20% in conversions at a similar or lower CPA.5 After upgrading, you may use the new re-engagement goal in Performance Max, available in beta in the coming months, to easily optimize for lifecycle stages such as customer retention and re-engagement across channels.


“We upgraded our Display campaigns to Performance Max and achieved unprecedented growth, with a 47% increase in conversions while maintaining a healthy CPA. This was due to Performance Max's ability to reach a wider audience with more relevant ads, as well as its use of Google AI to optimize our campaigns in real time across channels.”  
— Leonardo Martins, Marketing Superintendent, Santander

Reach new or existing customers with tailored messages by activating your first-party data

First-party data continues to be one of the most durable ways to re-engage with your most valuable audiences. By growing your foundation of consented first-party data, you can deepen the connection with your customers and deliver relevant experiences while also protecting their privacy.

To help you import and activate your first-party data as third-party cookies are phased out, we’ve continued to invest in Customer Match on Google’s surfaces, such as Search or YouTube. For example, we’ve expanded our cross-product integrations so you can now combine your Customer Match signals with Google AI’s power in features like Performance Max and optimized targeting to improve your results. In fact, when advertisers applied Customer Match list signals to campaigns, this resulted in a 5.3% conversion uplift.6

We’re also creating new ways for you to use your first-party data across programmatic inventory in Display & Video 360. Publisher Advertiser Identity Reconciliation, or PAIR, is a new solution that gives publishers and advertisers the option to securely and privately reconcile their first-party data for audiences who have visited both an advertiser’s and a publisher’s site. This means you can now show relevant ads to some of your highest-intent audiences, while maintaining full control of your first-party data. PAIR is already available for beta testing in partnership with select third-party clean room providers. Reach out to the integrated clean room provider partners and your Display & Video 360 account team to begin testing.

To get ahead of upcoming shifts and power durable performance with your re-engagement campaigns, start building your first-party data strategy and adopt AI-powered audience solutions today.

5 Minutes or Less | Advertiser Privacy Q&A | Episode 7 | Google Ads

Posted by Radhika Mani, Senior Product Manager, Google Display Ads



1. Google/Storyline 2022
2. Google/Storyline 2022
3. Google Internal Data, Global, April 2023
4. Google Data, Global, 10/27/2022—11/08/2022
5. Google Data, Global, Ads, February—May 2023
6. Google Data, Global, Ads, Jan 2021—Dec 2022 

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