32pc of Irish firms not prepared for Google’s cookie ban, survey says

25 Jul 2022

Image: © kasinv/Stock.adobe.com

The Compliance Institute said marketers need to engage more with compliance teams as ‘major changes’ are coming from Google.

As Google pushes ahead to ban third-party cookies from Chrome next year, a new survey suggests only 12pc of Irish firms are “very prepared” for the change.

The Compliance Institute, formerly known as the Association of Compliance Officers of Ireland, said 58pc of compliance and data protection teams in Irish organisations do not have a clear understanding of how third-party cookies are used within their company.

This is according to survey results from 144 compliance professionals in Irish organisations regarding Google’s third-party cookie ban.

Third-party cookies are a key component of online advertising for many companies, enabling them to target particular audiences for their products or services.

Google’s third-party cookie ban on Chrome was expected to come into effect this year, but was pushed back to 2023 after a mixed response to its alternative proposals. The ban has been seen as a win for the privacy conscious but concerns were raised about how it would impact the ad industry.

“Major changes are coming down the tracks and there will be no getting around this,” said Compliance Institute CEO Michael Kavanagh.

“All organisations will be forced to change their practices and find other ways to collect information needed to research the market and target key audiences while keeping within the boundaries of data protection laws.”

Another recent survey from the Compliance Institute suggested that almost 90pc of Irish organisations will be impacted by Google’s cookie changes, yet nearly 75pc of respondents said there was little to no awareness of the issue within their organisation.

In the new survey, 32pc of respondents said their firm is not prepared at all for a cookie-less future, while 56pc said they were somewhat prepared.

Nearly half of the respondents said their organisation’s compliance function has little to no involvement in aspects of marketing, such as third-party cookies and data capture.

Kavanagh said the survey shows a sharp knowledge gap in compliance teams, which appears to be from a communication blockage between these groups and marketing departments.

“Marketers need to do more to engage with their compliance colleagues,” Kavanagh said. “And compliance teams need to take the time to get to understand what is a fundamental part of their business, and one with a high potential risk for GDPR breaches.”

Google’s plans for removing third-party cookies on its browser received a green light from the UK’s competition authority in February. The watchdog accepted a revised commitment relating to the company’s Privacy Sandbox, which is a Google initiative to try balance the concerns of the ad industry.

Earlier this year, Google also announced its intention to end the current version of Google Analytics next year, impacting more than 30m websites currently using this tool. Marketing analytics expert Brian Kastelein shared tips to prepare for the transition to Google Analytics 4, which aims to conduct web analytics without a dependence on cookies.

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Leigh Mc Gowran is a journalist with Silicon Republic