It was in 2020 that Google dropped the bombshell it would be blocking third party cookies on its Chrome browser by 2022.

This phase out was delayed (twice, in fact) as the tech giant took more time to test its Sandbox Privacy solution. For the time being, third party cookies will continue to exist on the search engine, and the deadline has been pushed back to 2024. Meanwhile, Apple and Firefox are also working toward robust privacy features.

So, for the past few months, marketers around the world have been fearing “the cookieless future”, a land in which web tracking is incredibly uncertain. But anyone looking to understand the cookieless future needs a more nuanced understanding of consumer attitudes toward privacy and tracking. Let’s dive in.

Privacy concerns have flatlined

If you care about cookie tracking, you care about online privacy.

How you think consumers feel about privacy, and how they really feel about it, are two different things. You’ll often hear how online privacy is a growing concern for consumers; it’s a statement which is difficult to question given the recent history of sweeping privacy laws and data breaches.

The truth is, the proportion of consumers worrying about their online privacy hasn’t budged in 3 years – remaining at just over 40%. It’s a static trend, looming over online business activities. Yet by nature it’s still a hot button issue.

You can think of it as a hygiene factor for businesses. Respect for privacy is a necessity.  Disregard it and consumer outrage can easily flare up, even among those who aren’t actively concerned on a day-to-day basis.

The complexity of data tracking doesn’t help the situation. If consumers’ privacy is violated in a way they can’t understand, of course they’ll be outraged.

Do people really care about cookies? Read on for the full article.