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Advertisers have trouble digesting the end of cookies on the Internet

SERVER MILLET

Panic on board.We must prepare for a tsunami ”, “We're going into the wall” … These are the reactions that we can hear in the French advertising community since, on January 14, Google announced the removal within two years of third-party cookies – which are those mainly used by advertisers – on its Chrome browser, the most popular on the planet with more than 60% market share.

Even if the cookie was not designed for this, this little piece of code deposited according to your browsing on the Web has, for years, the fortune of those involved in advertising. Il give them informations on Internet users, in particular their interest in a particular product, perhaps an intention to purchase “, explains Jean-Baptiste Rouet, president of the digital commission of the Union of media consultancy and purchasing companies (Udecam).

Thanks to this technique, professionals were able to acquire extremely fine knowledge of audiences, optimize their campaigns, measure their effectiveness, and thus better monetize their know-how. Without it, a whole galaxy of intermediaries in the advertising chain would be plunged into darkness.

Read also Cookies, cookies: how you are tracked on the Internet

For internet users who aspire to be less traced when browsing the web, this is a priori good news. But for companies that live on cookies, it's a whole different story. The American giants, which have established themselves as the leaders in digital advertising (Google and Facebook now take 75% of the market in France), could reserve the best targeted advertising technologies. And thus give the final blow to their competitors.

Strategic shift

Moreover, hardly the Mountain View (California) firm had announced its intentions when the Criteo share fell on the stock market: – 16% in a single day. A logical sanction, the company having built on the exploitation of these cookies. Its technology allows its customers to display an advertisement on a user's screen on a product for which they have already expressed interest.

The decision of the American group has “Created anxiety” on the markets, admits the founder and president of Criteo, Jean-Baptiste Rudelle. But did she surprise? Before Chrome, other browsers chased these cookies: Firefox first then especially Safari (Apple) from 2017. The apple brand had then well sensed the interest – in terms of image – of defend the confidentiality of its users' data at a time when more and more individuals were equipping themselves with software making it possible to block advertising and rebelling against repeated scandals (Cambridge Analytics, for example). A posture that is all the easier for the firm of Cupertino (California) to adopt since it is not present at all in this business.

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